Last Friday night was the farewell party for the Hitachi Board of Education. In our small, 14 person department, we are somewhat tight knit. I think most people in the BoE look at the AETs like their kids. Well maybe just Alina and me. They probably consider Ian a peer since he’s been there longer than most of them. So on Friday we said goodbye to 3 members, including the 2 that were closest to us ALTs.


Mr. Suzuki and Mr. Shinohara

Mr. Suzuki (on the left holding the flowers) was the ALT supervisor and hired us all. He was our go-to man when we needed anything and he really took care of us. He was our friend, and we will miss him. But he is moving on up in the ranks of the Japanese educational system, so we’re happy for him. Also leaving is Mr. Shinohara (aka Kacho, on the right). He is our department head and the real keeper of power in our neck of the woods. He is an incredibly funny guy and a constant tease, and always joked around and talk to us ALTs (which is somewhat amazing considering his position compared to our position). He will be sorely missed from our department.

My favorite part of the night included a Japanese ritual that I’ve seen a couple of times before. First floor cushions are taken and piled up. Then the person of honor kneels on top of them (see picture of Kacho).


Shinohara on cushions

Then the cheerleader (in our case Mr. Imahashi) leads a cheer that goes somewhat like this (shouting loudly): “Freeeeeh! (right arm raises) Freeeeeeeh! (left arm raises) Shi—no—ha—ra!!!! (then the group joins in) Freh! Freh! Shinohara! Freh Freh Shinohara!”


Mr. Imahashi leading the cheer

It’s a fun Japanese thing that never fails to crack me up– but I think that’s alright because it’s supposed to. So we did that for Mr. Shinohara, Mr. Suzuki, and Mr. Ohuchi (the other member leaving). Then suddenly they took all the seat cushions, towered them up, and pulled little Ms. Ishii on top. Then we cheered for her! THEN they pulled ME on top and cheered for me, as well as the rest of the ALTs. I’m not sure why we were honored in such a way, but it sure was hilarious. I’m just glad I didn’t fall off the top of the cushions. Not everyone was so fortunate!

After that we went and karaoked for a while, which was a blast. I am very blessed to have such an awesome office staff to work with. I remember back when I first got here (waaaaaay back… ha ha) I had heard horror stories about enkais (office parties) and how terrible they were. But I have had great experiences. Maybe it’s because I work with fun people; I don’t know. But I’ll just count that among my many blessings.
Despite the fact that these two men bore the burden of being responsible for my move from Namekawa, I hold no hard feelings. I now understand the phrase, “It wasn’t personal. It was business” (although that doesn’t make it suck any less). I will miss these guys. They were amazing bosses. I will ask a similar prayer request for Mr. Shinohara and Mr. Suzuki as I asked for my English teachers last week. Please pray that God will continue to show His love and glory to them as they move into their new positions.

All Shidoka Farewell Party Pictures Here
They’re fun! I promise! Thanks to Alina for the pictures!

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