Last Friday was, I think, the end of the school year in Japan, and graduation ceremonies would have been held the week before.  These are always emotional affairs, at junior high schools as much as at high schools.  In the US, graduating from junior high is a non-event, but in Japan it’s a big deal.  While enrollment at public elementary and junior high schools is determined simply by home address, high schools have competitive entry, such that getting into a “good” school requires a high score on entrance exams.  So students go to school with the same people up through 9th grade, and then they’re scattered.

Sakura – flowering cherry trees – bloom around spring break, and while they’re generally associated more with the beginning of the school year than with the end, there’s a Japanese pop song that likens their scattering blossoms to friends going their separate ways in life.  The song, “Sakura,” by Naotarō Moriyama, is often played at graduations.

This is Moriyama performing a version with piano accompaniment.

It’s a bit sappy, but not outright maudlin.


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