The sobetsukai is a gathering in Japan to say goodbye to co-workers and friends.  Usually, these take place in March since that is when the majority of turnover happens in Japan, but they are not limited to the Spring.  For me, leaving a small island after three years of working as an English Language Teacher, my going away parties are in July.  I say parties because every club, activity, and group of people I’ve worked with want to meet with me to say goodbye.  They are a great chance not only for your coworkers to say goodbye, but for you to thank them for their work as well.  It is a chance for everyone to relax together, and enjoy a last hearty hurrah.

I met last Friday with the teachers, and have plans for other get-togethers with the Board of Education, the Island at large, the sumo club, and the health staff if not more.  I only hope I can successfully convey the gratitude I feel for all I have learned and experienced over the years.  As thanks, I am happy to have the ability to leave behind digital editions of the more than 20,000 pictures I’ve taken, as well as English and Japanese versions of the video I made.  I will also be presenting four copies of Samurai Awakening.  It is not the final product, not the one you will be able to read when it is officially published, but it is the best I have, the best compilation of everything I have learned and experienced over the last three years, that I can give right now.

To everyone else with a sobetsukai coming up, good luck and enjoy.