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Graduations and Goodbye Parties

Well. It's official. I have graduated from PII and this very evening I shall head via night bus to Tokyo to catch my flight to Chicago tomorrow afternoon. It seems rather surreal--it's hard for me to believe that I"m really leaving (yet at the same time part of me just wants to hurry up and leave already, it's a very confusing dichotomy).

After finishing up the final exam yesterday, I took myself out for a treat.

That, my friends, is a medium fries, hot apple pie, and Japan-exclusive McDonald's menu item: teriyaki burger! (Which was surprisingly delicious...that teriyaki sauce made the usually dry burger quite tender and juicy). I don't think I've allowed myself this much McDonald's in a long while, but after these eight weeks I feel like I'm forgiven.

Then, today, was the PII graduation ceremony and farewell party. We all assembled at RIFARE in the morning and were called up one by one to receive a snazzy, and very official, graduation certificate:

There were of course speeches, from some of the students thanking the program staff and RIFARE staff, as well as from the head of the program (and who I like to think of as our tiny, adorable mascot) Makino-sensei:

(Alex's mom...I've heard you read this so here's a photo of your son delivering the thank you speech on behalf of the students. He did a good job. :) )

From there we all went to a nearby hotel where there was an extensive buffet and student performances to wrap up our experience together:

Each class had a final performance as well (2.5's was a rendition of the popular Korean girl's group the aptly named Girl's Generation, replacing the lyrics with ones we wrote ourselves and then singing/"dancing" to it on stage). One group had a haiku recitation, one group sang, and then individual students had their own performances. Yale's own did a banghra dance (apologies if I spelled that wrong), and many others who brought their own instruments (those dedicated fools) played pieces as well. It was a lot of fun, and I'm really sad to say goodbye to these amazing people.

It's been a lot of fun. For those of you who jumped on board this blog for this trip (or those of you who've somehow stuck about for BOTH my Japan experiences) your support and interest really mean a lot to me. Looking forward to returning to the US and getting to see you all again--it has been TOO long.

XOXO Claire


  1. Thank you Claire for doing such a great job with your blog. I really enjoyed every post.
    Enjoy the rest of your summer...Alex's Mom


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