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The busy life of a teenager from International High School in Tokyo

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The busy life of a teenager from International High School in Tokyo

Contrary to popular belief, Japan is very different from what is in our manga books and anime series. Especially the life of a teenager who will go to school. I hope it’s as exciting as it looks, but the truth is, it’s the same with every teenager everywhere. So if you’re looking for up-to-date information on Japanese international schools and teen life here, you’ve come to the right place. Japan is a great country with a lot to offer, I’m sure popular culture will appeal to you. But do you know what school life is like for teenagers in Japan? Let me show you

The Japanese education system is one of the biggest contributions to shaping Japanese youth. Given the time they spent there, it’s no wonder the education system plays a key role in shaping the fabric of society in Japan. So I start my day bright and early at 5:30 am. Class actually starts at 8:45 am, but since I’m on the basketball team, we have practice in the morning before class starts. I got ready and went out for the day.

The uniform and commute

Yes, we have uniforms in Japan, each school has its own design and color. Some schools do this much better than others, but overall the uniforms are pretty good and students go to school well-dressed. My international school in Tokyo is not close to my house, so I often take the train and then walk 10 minutes. Other students prefer to cycle or walk to school. This is quite normal for Japanese students. Sometimes students have to travel about two hours to be able to attend the school of their choice.

Inside the school and my curriculum

I studied at the Tokyo international high school in Tokyo. My experience there was pretty good, I’ve been there since kindergarten so I spent most of my childhood here. After my basketball practice, we started our academic day with administrative work like class attendance and assignments. In contrast to the American system, students in Japan stay in their classrooms for most of the instructional time, only moving to another room for lab experiments, high school, etc.

Classrooms are usually disciplined and quiet, but can be a lot of fun when a certain teacher walks in. We get quite busy during lunch breaks and physical education classes. To give you an idea of ​​what I learn on a daily basis, here are my topics-

  • English
  • Japanese
  • Physics
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • P.E
  • Computer Lab
  • Health

So Japanese students typically spend 240 days a year in school, 60 days longer than our American counterparts. This changes for each school but we have half a day on Saturday. We also have many events in school like annual school day, sports day, culture day, etc which we prepare in school.

After school and O-Soji

At the end of the school day, students participate in O-Soji, or school cleaning. It may be very different from other places in the world, but it is a very common practice in Japan, and yes, it happened at my high school at Tokyo International. Each room of the house forms a group and we change our responsibilities. Once this is done, students who are part of different clubs usually stay behind to attend events and meetings. Japanese high school students spend a lot of time after school in extracurricular activities in the form of clubs. They can exist in the form of a sports club or a cultural club. Students usually remain with the club of their choosing during their high school years, but are free to transfer according to club rules. Depending on how long the activity can last, students stay in school and usually finish by 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning.

Cram Schools

Here I must mention accumulation schools as these are a part of most high school students in Japan. About 60% of students attend schools in Japan for tutoring. So that we are better prepared for university entrance exams. Japanese students are under a lot of pressure to do well in this exam as it determines our future prospects. Joining a cumulative school is not required, students can opt out if they feel their school is sufficient and they can study for the exams on their own.

After all that, I went home for dinner and had some time to myself. Although being a high school student in Japan can be very difficult and exhausting, most people look back on those days with happy memories and happiness.

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