My daughter has been on holiday since Thursday. The holidays finish on the 8th of April. So why on earth did she have to go to school today? Because... this is Japan and you could never go for an entire holiday without going to school! Today they all had to go to school to farewell the teachers who are being transferred. Unlike in New Zealand where you apply to work at a given school, here in Japan you usually apply to work for a given board of education and then on the 27th of March (or thereabouts) the transfers are announced (decided by the board of education) and from the start of April (that's right folks - a whole 4 days notice) the teachers begin at their new school - with the new school year beginning a week later. Of course the announcement is made just after the school term has finished hence the need to come back and farewell the teachers. It seems like teachers are transferred every 3 or 4 years, with some rare cases of teachers being in schools for 6 years or more. Just as they get used to one school they are moved on.... this is also the case for workers at the city office - they are transferred between different sections just as soon as they get used to one. One day they might be a member of the board of education and the next they are in charge of waste management... according to my husband (who wasn't transferred this year) this is to prevent the workers learning too much about one section and therefore doing "bad things". However, considering how many government officials etc. that have been arrested lately this argument doesn't seem to be valid!