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I taught English in the mountains of Fukushima Prefecture for three years and over that time I got to see a full set of students cycle through each grade level.

During one graduation ceremony, the usual series of boring speeches was interrupted by an energetic member of the graduating class. At Japanese schools, a representative of the second-year class gives a 送辞 (sōji, farewell address) to send off their graduating 先輩 (senpai, seniors), and then a member of the graduating class gives the 答辞 (tōji, formal reply).

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