Surprising Spring Hi everyone! The Cherry Blossoms in my neighbourhood are in full bloom.
I find Spring flowers in Japan to be really calming but I feel that the season itself for some reason or another feels very short.
From mid May my family are already feeling Summer and get the paddling pool out as it’s too hot! Even though I feel the Spring season is a short one I love the beauty of it! In Auckland in Spring, Cherry Blossoms also bloom!
It’s true that it’s not just Japan that loves it’s Cherry Blossoms. When I first came to Japan I was surprised to no end about the different activities and sights that I saw especially in April.
Let’s have a closer look at what I’m talking about! **April is the start for school, work, everything! Kindy entrance ceremonies, school entrance ceremonies, starting a first job, starting a hobby…I was so surprised at how busy everyone is in April!
But wait..didn’t you just finish kindergarten?! And you are going straight into primary school?! Wow..That’s right. I was so surprised about the academic year starting in April!
In New Zealand the school year goes until the end of the year (December) and then starts again in the the new year in mid January or early February depending on the academic level.
As the year draws to a close, and we celebrate Christmas, New Years, Happy New Year etc there is a natural end to one year and a start to another which the academic year also follows.
For me the new year means a new academic level! But in Japan even though the end of the year and the beginning of the new year are celebrated it has nothing to do with the academic year which starts in April.
**The Spring**Entrance Ceremony Another thing which threw me for a loop was the abundance of entrance ceremonies! Starting something is a celebration in itself in Japan.
Take for example the Kindergarten entrance ceremony. Three year olds dressed in the kindy uniform (yes! They wear uniforms often over here!) or dresses or suits together with their parents also dressed in suits, all go to the kindy on the entrance ceremony day.
Sitting together, they are introduced to staff, they revisit the kindergartens educational philosophy, the activities that will be happening for the next year, everyone takes a photo together they are congratulated!
Even though the idea of the ceremony is fairly straightforward, its a chance for parents and children to make memories for that day one when they started kindergarten.
Then there’s primary school, intermediate school, high school..as the academic level rises the size of the entrance ceremony and amount of emotion that is displayed seems to increase!
In my own experience as a kindy kid in NZ, I understand it was a good bye and see you later sort of deal on my first day! Even in Primary school I remember we had a morning assembly talking about what a great year it would be, however parents weren’t present! Intermediate, High School… and actually The University of Auckland too, as far as I can remember did not have an entrance ceremony.
Maybe people living in New Zealand now can comment on that. Has it changed at all? Does New Zealand have entrance ceremonies? To get to the point, I think it’s kind of cool that Japan starts its academic year with a bang and a high emotional note setting the scene for the academic year!
In Japan April is not only the start of the academic year, it’s also when graduates join the workforce officially to start their first jobs. These new recruits suddenly spill on to the scene in Tokyo all dressed in black trouser and skirt suits with crisp white shirts!
The first time I saw this black and white wave of people I got visions of a group of penguins! I had no idea what they were or what they were doing! At first I thought perhaps it was a uniform of some sort? I asked my friend who filled me in! The suits, she said are worn on purpose during the first periods of joining workforce and during one first job.
The idea is to blend in not stand out! Actually, she continued, the suits are purchased the year before by soon to be graduating students for the express purpose of attending job interviews at prospective companies.
Large suit shows sell sets of these ‘recruit suits’ that have shoes, socks, belt, trousers shirt jacket and neckties! I hear from friends that business attire in New Zealand has been changing over time but it used to be relegated to Hallensteins or Barkers with a limited range of suits and daggy shirts.
I wonder if recruit suits are sold in New Zealand? Or if anyone would buy them..? On first arrival in Japan April and Spring brought many strange and surprising things.
After living here a while though, and becoming used everything April is now a beautiful season that I enjoy, it brings change in every direction. I see entrance ceremonies happening and new graduates entering the workforce ready to bring positive changes to Japan.
What are your plans for April and for Spring? Our family plan to relax and enjoy the Spring vacation and maybe go check out the Cherry Blossoms too!


近所の桜が満開です。日本の春はとっても癒されますね(笑) 春はなんとか短く感じもう5月中から我が家が初夏モードで暑くて、水遊び用のプール出してます!
また、小学校入るときは親なし、学校みんなで朝の会、よい1年間しましょうっと終了。中学校、高校も。。そういえば、オークランド大学も入学式なかった気がします。。ニュージーランドにすんでる方から聞きたいのですが、変わってないでしょうか? ニュージーランドの学校入学式ありますか?
日本では4月は学校以外に社会人になったばかりの方も、入社しますね。一気に真っ黒なスーツと髪、真っ白なシャツ姿の人が増えてびっくりした! あれ?!ペンギンたちの集まり?とっても不思議な光景でした!
最初は、なにかのユニフォームかな?!と思いましたが、お友達が教えてくれました! 皆さんなんと、わざとその黒いリクルートスーツを着て入社!
もっと調べてみたところ, 大学生卒業前から、就活のため、いろんな会社の面接行くようで、そのためのスーツ購入するっと。
リクルートスーツセットはニュージーランドで売ってないかしら? 売れたら買う人はいるかしら? 気になりますね!

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