Because of privacy, I couldn't take pictures. I will do my best to describe our first day of school for you, though.
September 1 was the first day of school, and it was also our first day with a regular morning schedule. I first noticed a difference when I got on my train along with tons of small people in our school's uniform! It was adorable and scary at the same time. For summer, the girls wear cute straw hats with their uniform.
We arrived at the station, and rather than swishing off to work as I normally do, I found myself stuck in a slow moving crush of students. I stopped at the combini for some coffee. By the time I got back on the road, the crowd had thinned out. I headed to school along with the few lingering students. The principal and vice-principal were out greeting students as they returned.
I headed in, changed my shoes, and went to my desk. Somehow, I keep coming in first.
At 8:15, the teachers' meeting started. It has been a while since I've been in a teachers' meeting in a Japanese elementary school.
A little before 9, Gabby and I put on our jackets and we all headed off to the opening ceremony. The students were going to the gym at the same time, but there was no talking. Just a school full of students moving through the school. It was a little scary. Once in the gym, they all lined up by class and by height order. They listened to the school song played on handbells, all sang the school song together in harmony, and quietly changed positions from standing at attention to standing in a "relaxed" manner. Two new students stood in front of the whole school and introduced themselves. Finally, Gabby and I introduced ourselves.
The assembly finished with a speech from the principal and some rewards the students had received over the summer. Finally, the classes filed out quietly. Gabby and I were both just in shock. I've never seen elementary school students do that before.
Of course, every day isn't like that! That would be weird! But it was cool to see kids be able to control their actions for a specific purpose like an opening ceremony.