Here are just a few tidbits on things that I find interesting about school here.
There are no janitors in Japanese schools. Instead there are 15 minutes a day set aside for cleaning, and every student partakes. This might sound crazy in America, but just think how much money can be saved? There are no kids that complain about this system, or slack off, they just do it because that is how Japanese education has existed since the beginning of time. The same logic applies to such things as teeth brushing after lunch as well. I was in the teachers lounge, working, and then this herd of girls in uniform come in. clean all the trashes, sweep, and then appologizing for inconveniencing all of us, all in like 5 minutes. It was actually pretty cool.
They always play music during cleaning time, and it always kills me.
They have a 4 song loop of
1. Play That Funky Music White Boy
3. Halleluia Chorus
4. Some Stevie Wonder song.
I die every day
So during recess today at school, I was made privy to the greatest secret Japan keeps within its borders. Unicycles. Unicycles are just the thing to do for kids at recess. I was playing soccer with a bunch of kids and was just dying at the 20 or so kids just chasing each other around on unicycles. I was wearing pants and a button up for that game of soccer, under the hot sun. I became the master swamp monster by the end.
Today at school, one of the teachers who was with me said that I didnt have to go to class for 5th period. Instead, I would be receiving a cooking lesson from another teacher. I went shopping with one of the other teachers and they were worried about my health based on what I was buying. Sorta dumb, because I was only getting the essentials and it was definitely healthy. I just don’t cook more than one course a meal so they assume that I am not eating right. I eat rice, and as much meat as possible. I told em not to worry, but I am excited for free cooking lessons. So far I’ve learned tonkatsu, some soup and also okonomiyaki. All easy, delicious and very Japanese.
Another observation that I have been making lately is that there is a very different chemistry among the students compared to American students. The idea of cliques doesn’t really exist, people have different personalities, but I don’t really observe people ignoring others. I also notice a greater amount of unity as a class. I suppose my school is smaller than others, but during competitions and such everyone seems to cheer each other on in ways that I haven’t seen elsewhere. It is interesting and healthy. I would say some amount of this is due to the school uniforms, since money and style can be used to divide groups, but also I would give a lot of credit to the Japanese society