近海る (Kin Kairu)

JET, Japan, Journalism and other J words

Archive for the tag “Schools”

Why the Sports Day is the Best and Worst Introduction to the Japanese School System

It’s pretty staggering to think how different my two years of Sports Day experiences have been. Although I didn’t even talk about it last year, I can definitely say something had changed, and I viewed the festival with a much different lens this year than I did the first time.

The Sports Day is, in short, a school-wide competition: Relay Races, Tug of War, a complicated game of chicken that involves hats and many other events are held for the kids to duke it out. Sometimes it’s different years competing, other times it’s different classes within a grade competing against each other. Luckily, even the teachers are able to join in sometimes! But in the end it’s all for the love of athletics, competition and team building.

Well, kind of.

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Spring Cleaning

Late post, I know, but I didn’t feel comfortable finishing this until events last night.

Amongst the surprise I get that, yes, Americans also have a traditional spring cleanup ritual, I’ve been in a flurry of cleaning between my two schools. Sure, in my middle school days we just had to clean out our lockers, but here the daily “10 minute cleaning time” is extended to “a couple hours cleaning time.”

But the Japanese office system also likes cleaning up their roster, transferring members to other sectors or locations. In the case with my Board of Education, that could mean getting a new supervisor. The more common change is teachers switching schools within a district. It’s usually guaranteed they’ll still be in the same area, but it is possible for a teacher to be transferred from one side of the island to another, as is the case with one of the teachers I work with.

While none of the Japanese Teachers of English I work with are leaving this year, two teachers that I have gotten closer with are: the two Judo instructors.

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The Photographer’s Dilemma

When I first arrived at my placement, I was handed a list of rules regarding my new occupation. Many of them simple, but still needed to be stated: no extra pay from other institutions because I’m a government worker, how many vacation days I had and when my work hours are. However there was one rule in particular that struck me, which was rule number 8: “No photography of the school nor the students may be uploaded onto the internet, even with any person’s permission.”

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Mechs in every classroom

As surprising as it may seem, there is an “Incoming JETs” group that is still pretty active on the Facebook scene. While questions range from “what activities would be good for so-and-so” to general updates on people’s lives, the most common post I’ve encountered is the “why is my life like this, please console” post. The following is a recent example that particularly caught my attention.

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