So today we had the entrance ceremony for incoming first-year students and transfer students. First, let me just say that we got the most gorgeous day for this ceremony and for once I actually wanted to stay outside:

I took about four hundred pictures of cherry blossoms since now is the peak of the season. I will be taking even more pictures at Ohanami on Saturday, but for now, have a taste of the natural beauty all around Beppu.

After about fifteen minutes of taking pictures, a little man in a suit starting yelling through a megaphone on the steps outside of the building for all students to please come inside. So, we obliged, and Allana and I got seats in the second row.

Let me just say that in Japan, people are very concerned about getting a good seat. So at this point, it is about 12:00 PM, and the ceremony begins at 1:30 PM. Despite this, the audience was almost full by around 12:15. Lots of people wore traditional dress from their home countries or suits. I was completely under-dressed because I didn’t have the space in my suitcase to pack a fancy outfit that I would only wear once (I wore a nice dress shirt though); however, I found another few under-dressed students and sat with them so that I wouldn’t feel so inferior. At around 12:30 PM, the guys in my row decided that they were going to the local conbini (convenience store) to buy drinks and breakfast, and I joined them mostly out of curiosity as to what a conbini was like. Basically it’s a 7-11, but with freshly made lunchboxes stacked up where most American stores would have a deli.

After we returned, the ceremony finally began, with the school song and an introduction by the President of APU College:

He gave his speech in English and a Japanese translation showed on the screen behind him. Next up was the Mayor of Oita-shi, who did the exact opposite: gave a speech in Japanese while an English translation showed behind him.

Then came speeches from an APU Senior and two incoming APU students. Finally came the closing announcements. All told the ceremony took about a half-hour. But the fun part was watching the student groups perform. Here is another gallery of the different groups; all of them are culture and art clubs and their scope is as wide as the student body of APU itself.

 

You can watch the student performances on UStream here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/21583490

They are really, really cool.

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