April 1 marked a new start for many people in Japan. That’s because it was the first day of both the 学年 (gakunen, academic year) and the 年度 (nendo, fiscal year). いよいよ4月で、新しい生活がスタートします (Iyoiyo shigatsu de, atarashii seikatsu ga sutāto shimasu, April is finally here, a new life begins).

Set against a backdrop of 桜 (sakura, cherry blossoms), several ceremonies mark this time of year. At 小学校 (shōgakkō, elementary schools) across the country, 新一年生 (shin-ichinensei, new first-year students) are expected to attend a 入学式 (nyūgakushiki, school entrance ceremony) with their parents.

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