Farewell PartiesNagoya, Spring 2012
Over the past couple weeks, I have attended a countless number of farewell parties, each one different from the last and memorable in its own way.
For example, during the last week of classes, we had a farewell party with everyone in IJ400 (intermediate level Japanese) as well as all the teachers. We played games, such as one where you had to pick up beans as quickly as possible using chopsticks. My team won (it might have helped that we had two of the Japanese teachers on our team)! Then, some of the students performed for the class, the most memorable being an aikido presentation where the teachers were also brought on stage and taught fighting techniques. The students also pitched in and bought a small cake for the teachers as a token of our appreciation. To finish off the party, we sat in a circle and each person gave a short speech about their best memories in Japan, what they would be doing after returning home, etc. To tell you the truth, I almost cried during those speeches and I’m pretty sure some of the teachers almost did as well.
Another one of the farewell parties was one organized specifically by IES Abroad. Although it began as just another meeting about reverse culture shock and what to expect after returning home, they also organized a farewell lunch at a nice restaurant. I finally got to try eating raw horse (although not all the IES students were as excited about that as I was)! It was a great way to end the IES program, the same way it all began: a nice lunch with a 飲み放題 (all you can drink), students getting only slightly tipsy and everyone having a great time. Once again though, when it was over and we took our last group picture, Masae, one of the two IES coordinators, was tearing up. Farewell parties are always so bittersweet.
My dance circle also organized a farewell party for the study abroad students. Completely different from the other two, we ate pizza and snacks while sitting on the floor of our club room. Then, we played rock-paper-scissors and the losers (I was one of them) had their faces painted by other club members. The Japanese club members also wrote a note for each one of us study abroad students on a big card with a picture of the club members on it. Quite a sweet memory to bring home with me.
This experience has been far too great and it has gone by far too quickly. No matter how many farewell parties I go to though, I am still not ready to say farewell. So for now, I guess I’ll just say “また,” the Japanese word for “again” or in this case rather “see you later.”
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