It seems it is really really tough to be a teenager. Who knew?
Today was the entrance ceremony for High School, for anyone who doesn’t know, the Japanese love their ceremonies.
We have had a turbulent couple of weeks getting everything organised for school, the uniform, the books etc, not to mention the selling of body parts to pay for it all. The dilemma over the socks was quite the end for me. The young girl/woman spent 90 minutes in Shimamura yesterday deciding which socks to go with. The colour was no problem, black, black, black. After 3 years of compulsory white at Junior High the freedom to choose black was too tempting. The dilemma lay in the choice of ‘high’ socks or ‘semi-high’? Then it had to be the ones with the ‘playboy’ logo on. I HATE that ‘playboy’ is now on all school accessories, I do not like my daughter walking down the street with a big playboy bunny on her bag, I do not want men looking at that image and my daughter at the same time if ya know what I mean, but after I finally caved on the pencil case there was really no going back.
So, should she get the one with the blue bunny head or the pink bunny head?
Difficult choice. Then we ‘needed’ loafers. But I thought any footwear is okay, why can’t you wear your trainers? I asked gently.
‘ Because they are SO junior high’, ‘you need loafers for high school’.
There were 4 choices. Black or brown at 45 bucks each, or black or brown at 55 bucks each. You know which ones I wanted. They appeared identical.
‘but what if the expensive ones are better?’
Like how? Like they have magic heels???
There are two other girls my daughter knows doing the same course. Not that she dislikes these two girls but she says they are not really the same ‘type’.
There are only two classes offering her course, so she says her best case scenario is she is in one class and the other two are in the other, worst case scenario,all 3 are in the same class. She says, ‘ it’ll either be 3 nil, or 2-1,’
We get to registration,she comes over all smiles, “it’s 2-1 and I’m the ‘1’ “.
Thats great, say I, but what will you say to the other 2 girls.
‘ Oh that’s easy’. The other girls came over and said ‘ oh no! You’re on your own’. And I looked at her and she looked SO SAD, like she had just lost her mobile phone, or like she looked when I told her Wentworth Miller is (allegedly) gay. ” I know, it’s awful’, she said, ‘but we’ll still see each other a lot’.
Then a woman tapped her on the shoulder, and said, ” Do you remember me?
My daughter was in your class in nursery school, she is in the same class as you now.’
Well, my lovely daughter, Meryl Streep, smiled the hugest of smiles and said,
“Of course I remember, that’s great, oh I am really looking forward to this’.
I couldn’t look at her, cos I knew, and she knew I knew that she did not know this woman and her daughter from Adam, and I realised in that second, how really terrific she is, that she has the social skills to navigate these situations,to say the right thing to people at the right time and that these 3 years of high school will be great years for her, because she is equipped with
everything she needs to sail through with ease and style.
The ceremony itself was the same as it usually is, though an extra plus point was that we could keep our shoes on in the auditorium, cos sometimes an outfit that looked really great in 3 inch heels is suddenly rendered silly with slippers.
It began. I could see someone through a glass door with a mike and headphones on like ‘The Wedding Planner’, obviously waiting to b told that all the hatches had been battoned down and it was safe to release all the hormones and nervousness into the room.
Trust me when I tell you that the kids file in quite slowly and you are supposed to continue clapping, and that there were 360 kids, so 20 minutes of clapping and I had lost all sensation in my hands. The band played Pomp and Cirumstance at one point,
for my daughter’s sake I refrained from singing but the urge was there.
Each students name was called out one by one. The entire student body stood up, bowed, sat down, a bigwig took the stage, the students stood up, bowed, sat down, the bigwig finished, the students stood up, bowed, sat down. The whole lot of them were up and down like a brides nighty, with chairs scraping etc. Then, something I have never seen before. The student Body President went onto the stage and gave a speech and when she finished she bowed to the huge flag hanging over the stage and then she went backwards down the steps, I wondered if perhaps she wasn’t to turn her back on the flag, and if injured while walking backwards down some slippery steps and crippled for life, the Emperor would visit her and thank her for not turning her back on the flag.
The woman next to me slept through most of it, waking occasionally to check her phone for email, and a couple of times to check her face in her compact mirror, maybe she was just checking to see if she was awake or not.
Sometimes the speeches do go on a bit you have to check and make sure you’re not dead.
Then it was over, and they are in, they are in High School and it think it is going to be a great time for her.