My graduation experience in Japan.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony. A couple of my friends were graduating and I was there for the pics. ^^. Not to be in them, but to be the one behind the camera taking photos.
So. About graduation ceremonies in Japan. Graduations are held twice a year (at least for my university). In April during Spring and in September during Autumn. Always during the school holidays. I’ve been to 3 so far, 1 of them my own; all at the same university. There’s no real dress code. No academic dress, no graduation cap. You don’t get your degree in a roll, but rather in a booklet.
It starts off with a big ceremony. The president of the university will hand degrees out to representatives from each batch; he’s a busy person, can’t individually give out degrees to everyone. Once the main ceremony is over, graduates separate into different groups and head off to different halls to receive their respective degrees from the head of their respective schools. *phew*. Photos here are from the smaller ceremony which includes everyone… except that representative.
Even if there’s no dress code, most people come in formal attire. Of course, traditional garment is a green light too. And it looks great through the lens.
Here’s something from my own graduation a few years ago. Since there was no real dress code, I went in something different. Something rather uniquely Japanese. Sukajan (Yokosuka Jumper) and a pair of Ebisu jeans.
It sure brought a big smile to the Professor handing me my degree… not to mention my friends. Most (all in fact) couldn’t believe that I wasn’t in a suit and tie. ^^
Here are 2 pictures of my graduation after I did my time at an Australian university. This is just me and some buddies from the Kendo club.
Everyone’s in an academic gown. A prerequisite for graduation.
Comparing my experiences, besides the “no dress code”, there is something else that is rather different. I feel that the graduation ceremony isn’t that much of a big deal to most Japanese families. It’s a rather small event, which for most graduates do not include family members. Although September graduations see less graduates because less people graduate in September, a regular one in Spring (April) with more graduates had pretty much the same situation.
A minority came with family, but most graduates came alone to get their degrees. I find it a little sad… ><
How’s the graduation ceremony like where you are? When I graduated in Australia, my whole family came visiting and I also had many friends stop by to congratulate me as well as have a photo with me. As for my graduation in Japan, I braved it alone. Of course I was accompanied by my friends who graduated with me ^^. Except for the unique attire, I pretty much experienced what the general student population here goes through.