Lesson 18 - School life

In Japan, school is in session five and a half days a week (five during the week, only in the morning on saturdays). School begins at around 8:30 AM and goes until 3:30 PM or 4:00 PM. After school it is mandatory to join a compulsory club activity, like: ikebana, the art of flowering arranging; shodou, calligraphy; and martial arts like juudoukendou, and karate. Schools are very formal and have to follow a government framework. They only have formal testing twice a term.

The average class has about forty-five students in it. Since there are so many, there is little time for individual attention during class, so some teachers spend time after school counseling and coaching students. Also, through a senpai-kouhai system (senpai meaning an older student and kouhai being the younger), older students can help younger students with their studies. The senpai the kouhai meet usually become their lifelong friends and they keep contact throughout their lives. Classmates, called doukyuusei, are also close. Schools hold many class reunions throughout the rest of the students' lives.

生け花 Ikebana Flower arranging
衝動 Shodou Calligraphy
柔道,剣道,空手 Juudo, kendou, karate Martial Arts
先輩 Senpai Older student
後輩 Kouhai Younger student
同級生 Doukyuusei Classmates