Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Entrance ceremonies

At the beginning of April, during the cherry blossom season, entrance ceremonies are held in most schools. At this time of the year, you see blooming cherry blossoms everywhere. However, cherry trees are not often planted in the yard of a private home because the cherry trees are very often infested with insects.

A randoseru (ランドセル) is a backpack made of firm leather or synthetic leather, and most elementary students go to school with them on their backs.
When I was a child, randoseru was heavy and it comes in only two colors of black and red. Although most girls chose red ones, I chose black one and went to elementary school while carrying it for six years. However, I've never gotten razzed or been bullied because of it. A classmate asked me why I used the black randoseru for boys only once in six years.
Now the school bag is available in a variety of colours and designs.

The scene of Japanese family life around 1970 is reproduced here.
Parents buy desks come with a book rack for their children at elementary school entry. Pencils and a pencil sharpener are placed on the rack and an illustrated vinyl mat is on the desk.

On the short-legged table called chabudai(卓袱台) are plastic cups with characters, a tin of hard candy appear to be Sakuma Drops (サクマ式ドロップス), a box of caramel appear to be Morinaga Milk Caramel(森永ミルクキャラメル) and so forth.
Sakuma Drops was originally launched in 1908 and it appears in the anime Hotaru no Haka(火垂るの墓:Grave of the Fireflies). Morinaga Milk Caramel come in a yellow package in 1913. You can buy both of them even now.

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