Fun Times with Coworkers

So, when it comes to one of my schools, the teachers organize events to go out drinking, karaoking, and so on. There are also some going away parties, end of the year parties, and other gatherings for to celebrate some occurrence which happened. We’ve recently decided that we’d be moving, which meant a change of scenery and workplace, so I wanted to go out of my way to try out some of these get togethers. I’ve also thrown in some graduations!

The first one was during the last month of work. It was the first even of this kind which I attended, mainly because these events always fell on days which I was working at a different school, so it just seemed like a stretch to try and make it. This time it fell upon a Tuesday, for the first time that I’ve witnessed, so I bit the bullet and signed up to attend. It turned out to be a great night, though a bit taxing linguistically; after a full day of work, I found I couldn’t speak or hear Japanese so well…
This event was at a Chinese restaurant near the school and had 8 courses as well as all-you-can-drink for 2 hours. I didn’t get a picture of every course (sorry!) but I snapped a few:

Here you see some chashu pork slices, jelly fish salad (super tasty!), and some pig ear terrine. The pig ear was not my thing; it was cross sections of ear stacked on each other with aspic to hold it together. The texture was… stiff.

Here’s some very blurry fried chicken and coleslaw.

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The next school event was the graduations. One of the graduations was held on one of the top floors of a building in Tokyo, so the view was spectacular. Maybe because of that fact, the theme of the event was based around airplanes. We had a multi-course meal, slide show, and floor show which was composed of the graduates singing songs from the music festivals they participated in from 1st through 6th grade.

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The other school I worked at also had a graduation, but their event was very different. Instead of having the parents of the 6th graders plan and pay for everything, it was held in the school gymnasium, complete with a champagne and beer service, beautiful bento boxes, and a talent/skit show put on the graduating 6th graders. While it was different in some key ways, it was a very worthwhile experience. That being said, the talent show ran on wayyyy too long; we teachers were losing it towards the end.

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For the end of the year party, at the other school, they opted to double down and make it a going away party for the three staff members leaving at the end of the year, myself included. There were multiple courses, all-you-can-drink, and camaraderie to be had. I did my best to circulate around, but unfortunately mistook the announcement of the karaoke after-party as a joke or something. I really was bummed about that, so Sam and I went just the two of us instead and had a blast.

I only took a picture of one of the courses, but it was pretty awesome, except maybe for the cubes:

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Finally, we come to this past Friday, when I went to say goodbye to my students at one of the schools during an organized assembly, received a bouquet or flowers as a farewell gift, and then proceeded to crawl through a long chain of class after class making arches for myself and the other leaving teachers to pass through. While passing each one, we had the chance to say goodbye and possibly take a moment to speak with them.

I found out afterwards that there was apparently another going away party, of which I wasn’t aware but apparently had agreed to attend; this is not much of a surprise since things were very confusing for a while there. I attended this one and enjoyed a massive spread of foods, partook of some more all-you-can-drink (I usually stick to a couple of drinks for professional reasons), and then– this time– managed to attend a karaoke after party which was loads of fun! Here’s some photographic evidence of all of it:

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All-in-all, these events were heavy on the Japanese, but usually great for bonding with coworkers. While the work itself isn’t necessarily always going to leave me with the happiest of thought (I mean, it’s teaching, people) it’s nice to know I can have these memories to cherish as well.

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