Monday, June 7, 2010

Farewell & Welcome Party!

Richard here,

l-r: Louise, Pete and Erica holding a banner Louise made for Shiramizu.

Last night Shiramizu had its ''Farewell Louise & Erica plus Welcome Pete Party''! Over 40 people turned out to celebrate the current intern's graduation and the new interns entry into the program.

Final group picture at the Healthy House!

In addition to the graduation certificates being given out by Arakawa Sensei and myself, there were speeches in Japanese by Louise & Erica and a speech in English by Sensei! Everyone had prepared beforehand and smartly had their speeches written on paper. There were many gifts passed around, especially photo albums filled with pictures from the year, and of course we also had the annual natto & umeboshi eating contest for the non-Japanese folks!

There were many smiles, much laughter and even some tears. I always try to tell interns at this point that their Japanese life which they worked so hard to open up and live fully for the last 365 days does not shut down now, but will always be here and be a part of them - plus Japan isn't going anywhere, we're always going to be here!

Flipping through the photo albums, I was impressed at how much everyone had done over the year in terms of karate classes, tournaments, seminars & events outside, how the changing seasons really helped portray the significance of the important amount of time that had passed, and yet it seems time simply went by too fast yet again as another year's internship has come to a fine completion.

Good luck to Louise and Erica, not only in these last few days until their respective departures trying to pack everything (!), but also good luck in the next chapter in their lives. Stay in touch!

Finally, good luck to Pete as he takes on the mantle of the Shiramizu Internship and begins his journey in Japan!

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