Yakami Sotsugyō Shiki

During a particularly low-key day at Yakami High School last week I ventured into the school’s greenhouses to help the agriculture-track students with seeding eggplant. I was amazed to find the greenhouses full of hundreds of flats of flowers in full bloom.

The flowers were started last Autumn and grown in preparation for last week’s graduation ceremony. The school was covered in a blanket of flowers for the event. The forty-year-old matsu bonsai even made an appearance next to kouchousensei (school principal) on the main stage.

I took the opportunity to ask the names of all the flowers. I didn’t write them down and I’m disappointed to share that I don’t remember the Japanese names now.  There were an abundance of petunias, pansies and violas, but the others had obscure and difficult-to-pronounce titles. If you’re particularly interested in knowing the name of a particular flower please consult your local botanist.

The official graduation ceremony (sotsugyō shiki) took place last Thursday at all prefectural high schools throughout Shimane. The ceremony was long, chilly and full of tears. The proceedings were not much different from high school graduations I have attended in the States. There were 103 students who graduated from Yakami High School this year. I had fourteen of them in Oral Communication class.

Although most of the teachers, staff and parents were wearing black business attire, there were about ten women wearing traditional Japanese formal wear – a kimono with hakama (the same bottoms worn in kendo):

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