Japan, we love you. Your game shows are the most fun we've ever seen anyone having while still getting hit in the face with goo or stuffed animals, and you can buy anything in the entire planet in vending machines in your beautiful land. Not to mention the food, and the actual beautiful land. But what do you know about the schools?
What you probably know is that Japanese schools are stereotypically known to produce intelligent students who are, yep, particularly good at math. But there's actually a very strict set of school rules in place in most every school in Japan, and they're very different from your memories of elementary and high school. Think gym class was tough? Try these on for size.
Remember how excited you'd get when you had a substitute teacher, and you realized you were going to spend the whole day watching movies and eating Cheetos? Not in Japan. When the teacher has to call out, the kids are expected to come to class without their teacher present, and continue their work just like any other day. And this method actually works, because when their teacher comes back their work is checked.
You know creepy Joe, your old school janitor? The kids in Japan don't. That's because they don't have janitors. The students and teachers are responsible for keeping their schools clean. They mop the floors and clean the chalkboards. They even clean the bathrooms. We bet you'd be less likely to spit your gum on the floor if you knew you were going to be the one cleaning it up.
Having Saturday school means you have detention, right? No, that's just normal in Japan. School on Saturdays happens at least once a month. In 1992, the government tried to get rid of Saturday school, but it didn't happen. Sorry, kids. We guess there's always Sunday.
Yes, we know public school doesn't have uniforms, and private school's uniforms usually consist of certain colored shirts and pants. In Japan, the uniforms are a little more involved. They usually consist of pleated skirts and tailored blouses and jackets.
Summer break, the three-month period where you get to sit by the pool, go on vacation or, bleh, do you summer homework. Well, students in Japan only get about five weeks for break, then they're right back on the grind again. Be thankful for the break you get. Japan's breaks usually start right around the middle of the year, and they're usually riddled with homework to work on.
What, you mean the delicious little oranges? No, we mean this scary pole contraption. A sasumata is a long aluminum pole with prongs attached to it which is intended for use against anyone who might be intruding in the classroom. The students and teacher participate in drills in case anyone needs to use the sasumata. Do they get to skip gym class?
Your indistinguishable, mushy meat has nothing on Japanese school lunches. Students and teachers don't usually go to the cafeteria - they sit right in their classroom and eat their lunch. The lunches usually consist of some type of fish, rice and soup, which sounds a lot better than our smooshed Hot Pocket. Perhaps this is a rule we could get behind.
Proper greetings are required in a Japanese classroom. Every time a student enters the classroom, they say a greeting to their teacher. When class is over, all of the students in the class also say a formal goodbye.
It's enough to have to wear a strict uniform. But Japanese students also aren't allowed to alter their physical appearance. This includes not wearing makeup, painting their nails or dyeing their hair. Some codes are so strict as to say they're not allowed to groom their eyebrows. Oh well. We'd save time on not having to do anything but roll out of bed in the morning.
Or, basically, the not-dating game. Because Japanese students are not allowed to have relationships. This is intended to keep them focused on their studies and not on their fellow students. We think we'd be more focused on how to most effectively sneak around the school and not get caught with our significant other.
Okay, so there's no makeup and no hair dyeing. But you're also not allowed to wear colorful hair scrunchies or have bangs that go anywhere past your eyes. Boys can't have facial hair, and are expected to look put together and clean cut at all times. Hmm, can we maybe have this rule in America?
If you can't be in a relationship because it's a distraction, well, it makes sense you can't bring your phone inside the school grounds, either. Phones are only permitted in the parking lot or at the entrance of the school. You can kiss your Snapchat streak goodbye.
So you've finally made it through a day of school, and you get to go hang out with your friends. But not after 10 at night, you don't. Some cities will deny students under 18 entrance to theaters and video game arcades after 10. Better go home and do that homework.