White Tie Day
On Wednesday, April 6th my daughter began Junior High School First Year (Grade 7). It was a white tie day, one of those celebratory days when men - fathers - wear white neckties with their sober dark, or black suits. Mothers wear traditional Japanese kimonos. White signifies celebration while the choice of black neckties shows sadness and mourning. So, the only major difference in a man’s attire between a funeral and a wedding (or a school graduation or opening and entrance ceremony) is the choice of tie.
Or, so I thought.
I asked my wife, “Should I wear a white necktie?”
“Yes, you should.”
I felt proud of myself for remembering the custom, and remembering it in good time, with the presence of mind to raise it with my wife before she raised it with me. I walked with her to school, proudly letting everyone on the street see me in my sober suit with white tie and Emma in her brand new navy blue school uniform, knowing that everyone who saw us knew immediately by our dress where we were off to and what we were doing. But when I got to school with my daughter it turned out that the only other man wearing a white necktie was the school principal up on the stage in the auditorium. All the fathers present wore normal ties and normal business suits. And I didn’t see any kimonos at all among the women. That didn’t bother me, though. Instead, it made me feel more in the spirit of things than all the others.
Due to a problem of timing my wife could not accompany me to this all-important day. Our son began Grade 1 on the same day, so we had decisions to make. We decided that I would attend the junior high school opening ceremony for our daughter and she would attend the Opening Ceremony for our son. After all, I attended our son’s kindergarten graduation a couple week’s earlier and then was unable to attend my daughter’s Grade 6 elementary school graduation due to work, so we figured things kind of evened out nicely.