Farewell Speech

2012-03-28

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Here are draft scripts for my farewell speeches at Chokai Junior High School and Yashima Junior High School. The former was on March 28 and the latter was on March 27, 2012. I worked at both schools, along with Kawauchi Elementary School, Hitane Elementary School, and Jinego Elementary School on the JET Program for a little over four and a half years. The scripts here are drafts I wrote several days in advance ... in the actual speeches themselves, as I remember, I switched half of the sentences into Japanese and a third of the content into something that I can't clearly recall now. Generally speaking, there were several more jokes and several more personal remarks. As you will observe, if you read to the end, the speeches are quite similar. It might be a better use of your time to read only one.

Chokai Junior High School Rininshiki Speech

In Narrow Road to the Deep North, Matsuo Basho wrote about his trip to northern Japan. In the beginning, when he left his home, he wrote the following words.

Behind this door
Now buried in deep grass
A different generation will celebrate
The Festival of Dolls.

(http://www.bopsecrets.org/gateway/passages/basho-oku.htm)

In Japanese, the title is Oku no Hosomichi.

漢字: 草の戸も住替る代ぞひなの家
かな: くさ の と も すみ かわる よぞ ひな の いえ

(http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/japanese/basho/MatOkun.html)

I came here in 2007, planning to stay only one year. But after a few months, I decided to stay a second one. And in the second year, I decided to stay three more.

When I came to Japan, first I was in Tokyo for two days. Then I took a plane to Akita, a bus to Yurihonjo City Hall, and then a car to Chokai Sogoshisho and finally Jinego. I didn't know anything about Japan, so I didn't know what was coming. The roads got smaller and smaller. The train tracks ended at Yashima, and finally I ended up in the countryside. I arrived in August, just before Obon, and did not have a car. That was a problem, because the A-Coop closed for Obon and I had no food. I thought of buying Aquarius at the Hottoin Chokai vending machines. But then I met my neighbor, and he gave me some food, and everything was fine. Strong memories stay with us for a very long time, and you have given me many.

I have many fond memories of this school.

You know the baseball team didn't win Sotai for five years? Last year, in my last summer here, they did, and it made me so happy. In Tokyo, I will no longer be an ALT, but instead will be an English teacher, with just me in the classroom. Isn't that exciting, and perhaps a little scary? Don't you want to see it? In your own lives, try to do even more tomorrow than you did yesterday. Good luck in the future, and thank you.

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Yashima Junior High School Rininshiki Speech

In Narrow Road to the Deep North, Matsuo Basho wrote about his trip to northern Japan. In the beginning, when he left his home, he wrote the following words.

Behind this door
Now buried in deep grass
A different generation will celebrate
The Festival of Dolls.

(http://www.bopsecrets.org/gateway/passages/basho-oku.htm)

In Japanese, the title is Oku no Hosomichi.

漢字: 草の戸も住替る代ぞひなの家
かな: くさ の と も すみ かわる よぞ ひな の いえ

(http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/japanese/basho/MatOkun.html)

I came here in 2007, planning to stay only one year. But after a few months, I decided to stay a second one. And in the second year, I decided to stay three more.

This school is a beautiful school. The old Yashima Junior High School was old. It was not so beautiful. However, the area there, on the hill by the softball and baseball fields, with the pine trees lining the road, that is a beautiful area. That school closed three years ago, but I can clearly remember it. Strong memories stay with us for a very long time, and you have given me many.

I have many fond memories of this school.

This is your challenge, then: to make next year's even better than this year's. And not just the bunkasai. In Tokyo, I will no longer be an ALT, but instead will be an English teacher, with just me in the classroom. Isn't that exciting, and perhaps a little scary? In your own lives, try to do even more tomorrow than you did yesterday. Good luck in the future, and thank you.

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