Mike’s Best Day

by | Mar 11, 2008 | Mike, Teaching, Wakakusa

This past Friday, I (Mike) had my best day ever since coming to Japan. It was my last day of teaching at Takine Elementary School. Now pretty much every time I teach at an Elementary School, I have what I call an “Edward Bloom” day—a day where you get to be the hero all day long. And Takine Elementary is probably my favorite elementary school to teach at, so I was expecting a pretty good last day. But what I got instead was a flood of expressions of gratefulness and love that was, to be honest, overwhelming.

It was non-stop fun, and I was living every moment to the fullest because I knew it was my last chance to be with everyone. I played all kinds of games with the kids, including soccer, tag, hide-and seek, and some game where you have to crawl around on the floor like a fish and run away from the other kids who are trying to catch you (I got caught). Some classes performed skits and planned games for me; others bombarded me with enthusastic questions about my return to America, which I gladly answered. One class formed a big receiving line so that I could shake everyone’s hand as I left the classroom. Even the principal (who I talked with at length every lunch time) fed me a special treat of aburaage (fried tofu) that he brought specially from the neighboring town of Miharu. And each class had a present for me, full of signatures and pictures that I could tell they had put their hearts into:

Gifts from Takine Elementary Students

But it all came to a head at the after-school assembly. Now I knew I had to give a speech, but since these things are usually a combination of a number of different elements, I  wasn’t too concerned because I knew I wouldn’t have the stage for long. But as it turns out, the assembly was all for me—it was the “Expression of Gratitude to Mike-sensei” assembly. Talk about overwhelming!!! The principal gave a glowing speech; each grade level said words of thanks (some in English!) and gave gifts, including a photo album commissioned and signed by the principal himself; the kids performed a big-band musical march number in my honor; and I was led out in procession, waving goodbye to everyone. I was so happy I hardly knew what to say!

Finally, the entire school gathered outside, and was dismissed with me leading the way. I vividly remember the bright sun, the smile on the principal’s face, his invitation to come back to Japan, and the train of 160-odd kids trailing behind me as I made my way down the hill and away from the school. What an incredible memory! I hope I never forget it.

Last day at Takine Elementary

I will miss all these kids and teachers dearly; their spunky, positive energy and unconditional love really made my time there at Takine Elementary School special. I do hope that see them again, and of course, I am praying that I will meet many of them in heaven someday.

And to think that God loves me even more than this …


P.S. As if my day couldn’t get any better, that evening we have a team birthday party for Jen, Jeni, and Randy, complete with a trick piñata (a dangerous but fun pastime). And to top it all off, afterwards we spontaneously made a human pyramid ! I love my team! I’m going to miss them…  🙂

Wakakusa Team party


1 Comment

  1. bubblegumjapan

    The last day is always the best anywhere in Japan!  They really know how to show appreciation but sounds like they went out of their way for you.  Sad to hear you’re leaving Japan soon but glad to hear about your next steps.