Skip to main content

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


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Short Hair, Don't Care: Model Behavior

I like to think I have a wide range of accomplishments under my belt:

Accidentally over-caffeinated myself conducting ethnographic research--check
Read 3+ books in a single day--check
Never (yet) pulled an all-nighter--check
Sung at Carnegie Hall--check
Published a poem--check

But now I can add a decidedly interesting item to that list:
Been a hair model in Japan--CHECK.

It's a bit of a long story.

It all starts with coffee, actually, like many of my adventures here in Japan do. I was checking out a coffee shop in the too, too cool area of Daikanyama (no, seriously, that entire neighborhood is just Too Cool for me, I don't even know why I was there). There I met stylist Yusuke, who asked if I wanted to appear in a PR photoshoot for the opening of his salon brand's newest branch, boy Tokyo, Harajuku. They're (wisely!) making a site to appeal to foreign clientele--it's a smart move because it's really hard to find a place that has stylists who truly are comfortab…

Final Touring Excursions

Tomorrow is my last day. It felt strange to write that sentence, knowing that I've been gone six weeks, which feels like both no time at all but also forever. Even though this is my fifth time coming to Japan (and the fourth for an protracted trip), the coming-and-going is something I don't get used to. Just as I start getting over my "ugh, I just want to go home" hump and settling in, well, it actually IS time to go home.

What have I done the past few days?

Well, on Sunday my host family and I took a drive to Yamanashi prefecture (re: near Mount Fuji) to visit the Oshino Hakkai, the Eight Sacred Ponds of Oshino. According to the signage, when people used to hike up Mount Fuji for pilgrimages, they would purify themselves in the ponds before starting their journey. And having stuck my hand in an (acceptable) corner of the main pond, Wakuike, it was FREEZING. Some other ponds have specific purposes, however. One was for people who wanted a good marriage, for instance.

Cat Cafe

Today I went with my host brother to a cat cafe for "research". Yes it is a cafe and yes it has (canned) coffee, but also I really really really wanted to go to a cat cafe. By doing a little research, I found one off a convenient train station that not only didn't require a reservation in advance, but had free drinks and was actually significantly less expensive for more time than other cafes. On to Nyankoto!

For cat lovers, this is paradise:

This shop had fifteen cats, each with their own names and personality described in a photo book:

This cat's name is Kinta and he's a mix--though most of the cats there were breeds I was unfamiliar with and had fur of various kinks and degrees of fluffiness. 
They were all very social, active cats as well.

Kinta greeted my host brother by literally jumping on his back. 
The other cats often ran around chasing each other (one was a very energetic kitten, so he was always pouncing on the others) or flopping down to be pet in co…