As we move around Japan, we will see students traveling by bus, train, bike, and on foot to get to and from school. We may see children as young as six traveling alone. The students will be in uniform as most schools require uniforms. In fact, the dress code extends to rules about not wearing make-up, not styling hair, not shaving legs or dressing in any other way that would make them stand out from others. We might see a girl and boy talking but we won’t see any public display of affection. PDA is not considered polite in their country.
The Japanese school year begins in April and breaks for vacation July 20th. The students return in early September for the second term and they break again around December 25th. Even with these breaks many of the students continue to go to school for extra coaching. It is not uncommon for parents to spend a lot of money on extra tutoring so that the students can get in the programs they want.
In the classrooms, the students do the cleaning. All people in society are aware of cleanliness and are known to carry trash home if they can’t find a receptacle. We won’t see stickers or writing on buildings due to this social consciousness that is developed from a very early age and reinforced in classroom studies.
Timeliness is very important in Japan and this is established early for children. Tardiness to school is not allowed. I am sure that if we suffered consequences of being late in our culture, we wouldn’t be tardy as well.
If a teacher calls in sick, the students carry on with class without a substitute. I can’t imagine this! I have been in classes where even the teacher had difficulty keeping things under control.
Hanging in many classrooms is an ancient weapon called a sasumata. This device is used to control an intruder until the police can arrive. Watch this video to see a news report on this type of equipment in use.
I found a video that speaks of why the Japanese are polite to one another. I thought you may want to watch it.