We may be living in a foreign country, but a lot of our daily lives is still dictated by American traditions and yesterday was one of those. Our good friends Kelly and Mike's son, Matt, graduated from high school yesterday at the on-base high school, Kubasaki. Congratulations Matt!
It's been a long time since I've been to a high school graduation (wow, when I stop to add up the years it's even longer than I thought...), but as far as I can tell, things haven't changed that much. Well, apart from the Power Point slide show of photos and the people taking pictures on their cell phones and iPads. But there were still the speeches, the tears and the proud parents cheering as their child's name was called to walk across the stage.
And there were the slightly Japanese/military twists to the ceremony too. Like the military band playing Pomp and Circumstance, and the Color Guard, oh, and the playing of the Japanese national anthem.
Of course the American national anthem was played too, with the Japanese flag slightly lowered.
And I was reminded that we were on a Marine base when the one person joining the Marines name was called and the whole auditorium erupted into "oorah" and cheers. (There were others joining the Army and the Air Force, but the Marines are far more numerous and vocal here!)
And there was the proof that we really are in an international community - the welcome was made in six languages!
What an interesting twist on a great American tradition.
Congratulations, Matt, for your graduation and your full-ride scholarship to the University of Washington (and that nice gift from your parents)!