I'll admit it. I'm an emotional guy. I really don't cry a lot or anything, but occasionally things will really get to me. This last Friday, July 1st, was my last time to visit Iwakuni Technical High School (ITS), and it hit me hard. I have been going to ITS every Friday since last September, and have formed great relationships with the teachers and students. I knew my last visit would be tough, but I was shocked by how much of a wreck I became. For most of the day I actually was ok, but after school things got intense. I visited the students while they were practicing in their clubs to say goodbye and to take a photo together. After the photo, the students would face me, do a long and pronounced bow and say sayounara (a goodbye reserved for someone you won't see for a long time or ever again). After a couple of those I was quickly becoming an emotional wreck, but the fencing club did me in. It was my last club to visit, and after their goodbye I had to run out of the room to avoid making a scene. The worst was back in the teachers room, when after I had cleaned out my desk and grabbed my stuff, I bid farewell to my English teachers and Chijimatsu Sensei, the home economy teacher who I sat next to. I couldn't even respond to her goodbye and well wishes - one word and the floodgates would have burst open. All I could do was give her a big hug (which probably shocked most of the Japanese teachers sitting around us, who would never show that type of physical emotion). With tears starting to stream out, I made my way to the door, turned back and did one more deep bow, and walked out. On the way to the train station, with a lot of emotion painted across my face, I ran into the baseball guys who had just finished practice. We normally horse around together, but all they did was line up, respectfully bow and say " Sayounara, Brandon Sensei...". This process repeated with every student I ran into on the way back to the station. Talk about a long and sad commute back home. I don't think I could of had a more emotional farewell if I had tried.
Help me now for when I bid farewell to my base school, Suo Oshima High School, on July 25th!
Some photos from my last day at ITS: