One of the biggest events for high school kids in America or Canada must be prom. You may have seen a video that a guy ask a girl to go to prom with him in a cute way on Facebook or any other social media. However, unfortunately, here in Japan we do not have prom culture. I experienced prom when I studied abroad in America, and words cannot describe how awesome the experience was. In this article, I will introduce you regarding high school life in Japan, especially the parts that a high school movie usually does not show us. This article is divided into three points, a daily schedule, club activities, and some school events.
Before moving on to the three points, I will clarify about high school in Japan. High school is widely divided into two types; public schools and private ones. You can think the differences are quite similar to your country’s one. For example, tuition at private school is usually much higher than public one. On the other hand, some private schools have better equipment that helps students to study. However, the point is that going to a private school does not mean anything because its level is totally depending on each school no matter it is private high school, or public school.
1. A daily high school kid’s schedule
Let’s start our journey with a daily high school kid’s schedule. To make you better understand about their life schedule, I will show you my high school one. Since I went to a private high school, each student come from so many different places. Ones come from Osaka, and others come from Kyoto. Speaking of my school, it says about 90% of students commute by a bus, or a train. I believe if you see its rate of a public school, more students commute by a bike since they usually go to a school that is near their house. We do not usually take a school bus, so this may be different from American style.
Before the first period starts, we have time called “Homeroom time”. Each class has a homeroom teacher, and they briefly make sure the day’s schedule. One fun fact is that once first period starts, we usually do not move to a different class except some cases, such as, you have a lab class in a science room. A teacher has to come to our class to give a lecture instead. Plus I know high school kids in America need to schedule their class by themselves like every university students do. However, in Japan, the Ministry of Education already sets our class schedule. It means we have to take most classes with the same classmates. Most high schools have six periods, and class finish between 3:15 to 4:00. (This depends on each school.)
After six periods, this is the time to attend club activities. According to the date by the Ministry of Education, they say 49% of students belong to an athletic club, and 22% of students belong to non-athletic club, and others are called “Kitakubu” who does not belong to any club. Some of them work part time, others study, or just hang out. Let’s see the details of club activities here from the next chapter.
2. Club Activities
There is one big difference about club activities between Japan and America. In America, students belong to at least 2 different sports teams, right? For example, one student chooses to play baseball in summer season, and he also play American football while baseball is off-season. However, here in Japan, you just belong to one sport team. If you decide to join baseball team, you have to play only baseball even during off-season. You may wonder what they are doing during off-season, don’t you? I actually used to belong to a baseball team, but off-season was the most hardest time for me. Do you know why? That’s because all we can do is just foundation trainings, for example, running, weight training, and running again and again. We also have very strict relations to our senior players, so if you are loafing on the training, you know what will happen next….
Now, let’s see what kind of club activity is famous here. All Japan High School Athletic Federation shows a member population of each sport. Among boys, soccer is the most popular sport following by basketball and the track and field. Among girls, basketball is no.1 sport, volleyball is second, and badminton places third. Although belonging to baseball club is definitely the hardest thing in my high school life, I have no regrets because of great teammates. It teaches you precious lessons that you cannot learn in a class.
3. School Events
Lastly, I will introduce you two school events; a marathon competition and school festival. The first event that I introduce is a marathon competition. Sadly, every student requires joining to a marathon competition to get a PE credit. At my school, boys need to run 15km, and girls need to run12km. As I told you, this was MANDANTORY for everyone. Even if you skip this competition, you have to run a playground by yourself. The worst part is all we do before this competition in a PE class is just running for it.
The next event is school festival. Everyone loves this event because some afternoon classes get canceled to prepare for this festival. Each class has their own program, such as hosting a haunted house, maze, and so on. Some school has after-party to celebrate its success. You may know this kind of story, but I know many friends get a partner there. These are two main events.
As you read through my article, there are lots of unique events and points about high school in Japan. I hope this article help your better understanding about high school life here.