Friday, March 03, 2006

Hina matsuri -- Girls' Day

Today -- March 3rd, for those of you in different time zones -- is
Girls' Day here in Japan. This morning, just after I got to work, I was surprised by a present from my school principal. I think it's a screen to place behind the doll display, but I'm not sure, as I haven't opened it yet. That would be rude. He explained to me that Girls' Day (Hina matsuri) is an old Japanese custom to celebrate young girls, and to hope that they grow up healthy. I'm sure there are also traditions about marrying well and producing lots of healthy sons...

I was also very nicely surprised to recieve a couple of dolls from one of the ladies in my office earlier this week. When I get home this evening I'll try to take some pictures so you can see them as well.

There is also a Boys' Day in May, when people hang carp streamers to let people know that they have sons, and to bring good fortune to them. However, I think that in recent years this festival has come to be known as "Childrens' Day", and celebrates both boys and girls. Childrens' Day is also a national holiday, whereas Girls' Day is not.

In other news, graduation time is here. (Which means that I have less and less to do at school, making me very cranky the past few days). Today, I get to sit in on a movie with the Grade 9 students, and next week I have nothing on my schedule at the Junior High School except the graduation ceremony on Friday. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go to the graduation at the High School earlier this week. However, I think that in small towns in particular, Junior High School graduation is much more important. These kids have been together since elementary school, and next year they will all go their separate ways. I asked one of my students if she was excited about graduation next week, and she told me she was sad. She would be saying goodbye to her friends, going to a different school (probably in the city -- she's a pretty good student, and the high school here is pretty low level), and moving on to new things.

Time to go watch the movie!

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