school

Teacher rejects student’s declarations of love through comments on class worksheets

I’m sure we all harboured a secret crush on a school teacher at least once during our formative years. The operative word here being ‘secret’, mind you.

Spare a thought for this poor Japanese teacher who was faced with open declarations of love, and even a marriage proposal, from one of her students, but who responded to them all with real aplomb.

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What do you call this sitting pose? Japanese netizens polled to find differences in dialect

Even when speaking with fellow English speakers, sometimes you realize that the same thing can be called a variety of names. (Try calling soda “pop” in most of the US and enjoy the funny looks you get.) The same is true in Japan, where, thanks to regional dialects, some people have a hard time being understood when they leave their hometowns.

One Twitter user recently brought regional dialect differences to the forefront of the Internet when he surveyed over a thousand people about the word they would use to describe a certain way of sitting. Collecting and plotting the data on a map of Japan, the results have been surprising people from all regions!

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Sociologist says high school hierarchy keeps Japanese adults away from their home towns

Ijime, or bullying, is sadly as much a part of Japanese school life as it is in any other country. In Japan, too, each school has a sort of social hierarchy, where the “cool kids” often pick on or exclude the nerdy/unsporty kids, and everyone gets shuffled around until the “stronger” kids are on the top and the “weaker” kids are on the bottom.

But in a society like Japan, where group mentality is so important, you’d be mistaken for thinking that after high school everyone just flutters off to become their own special snowflake and cast off the mental wounds of a tough adolescence.

In other words, if someone was bullied in school, there’s a chance they’ll keep on being bullied by the same people right on through their working days if they stay in the same town. So how does this “high school hierarchy” continue to affect the lives of adults in Japan?

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Saga Prefecture is in big trouble as “technology in the classroom” trial fails big time

Nowadays, with online resources, textbooks, and even virtual high schools, technology has been making a big impact in the education world. School computer labs have come a long way in recent years and some schools are even supplying tablets for their pupils to use in class! Oh, to be a student in the 21st century!

Unfortunately, many schools in Japan have yet to jump on the in-classroom technology bandwagon. Wanting to head-up a new trend, last year Saga Prefecture decided to do a trial run of personal computers for students, and so had all high school first years purchase tablets–only, the technology caused so many problems, the program has been sacked only a year in and now the board of education is in hot water.

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Want to be a professional gamer? Time to go to school!

Children growing up around the world these days are asking the same question, “How do I become a pro gamer?” In the past, all you could do was find a game you were good at, become really good at it, and then hope someone would pay you for it.

These days, the professional gamer has many avenues to explore. There are plenty of games out there that have a thriving professional circuit. If you like first-person shooters (FPS), you could get into Call of Duty. If you’re more of a real-time strategy game fan perhaps Starcraft II will be your thing. The versus fighting game scene has always been extremely competitive, and multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA) like Dota 2 and League of Legends are breaking player and viewership records. But can you really say that those professional gamers are actually “qualified”? Well, if you’re looking for a school in Japan, you could become a qualified pro gamer with a pro gamer degree!

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New Fukushima school gets uniforms designed by the AKB48 costume designer

The new Futaba Future School, a combined junior and senior high school set to open in Hirono, Fukushima Prefecture this April, is getting some pretty snazzy uniforms. They were designed by Shinobu Kayano, the woman behind AKB48‘s colorful and memorable costumes.

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Ladybeard x Sailor Suit Old Man star in “dream collaboration” at school!

Frequent readers of our site should by now be familiar with Ladybeard, the eccentric jack-of-all-trades whose amusing antics we’ve covered multiple times, and “Sailor Suit Old Man,” the affectionate nickname of an infamous cross-dressing Japanese man.

You may remember the duo’s previous epic collaboration on the streets of Harajuku in Tokyo, but for fans of the unusual duo we’ve got good news–the pair have teamed up once again and are ready to share their latest round of funny photos! We proudly present the “Ladybeard x Sailor Suit Old Man dream collaboration at school.”  

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Budding Japanese student artists impress us with chalkboard works of art

Give any kid a piece of chalk, and they’re likely to draw some quick doodles on the board. Some stick figures; the logo of some group or team they’re especially fond of; perhaps even a wang or two if there are no adults around. But some kids will use that same piece of chalk to create veritable masterpieces that are so good, you’ll never want to erase them.

You won’t want to miss this collection of impressive chalk art after the jump! Here’s celebrating the talented work of artistic Japanese students.

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Korean students give their textbook characters fantastic fashion makeovers

I’m sure most of us have had the experience of doodling in our textbooks while the teachers droned on about all the math that we realized later in life we would never use. In fact, my personal specialty was decorating large chunks of text with elaborate frames of vines and flowers. Sometimes I even added fruits.

But some creative students in Korea took their doodling to a whole new level by giving the textbook figures clad in outdated fashion complete makeovers. Some of these doodlers were so talents the final result even looks like manga or manhwa!

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“Hate summer homework, kids? We’ll do it for you!” A disturbingly booming business in Japan

The following is a typical scene that many families in Japan will have recently experienced, and probably not for the first time: It’s August 31, the last day of summer vacation and the fall semester is starting in less than 24 hours. The kids who played all month suddenly realize that they have to do 40 pages of kanji and math drills, write a book report for a book they haven’t read, and fill in 30 days’ worth of journal entries–an assignment that they dutifully kept up with for all of the first week of summer break. They clamor for help, and despite the scoldings and I-told-you-so’s, “nice” parents and the more responsible siblings reluctantly pitch in.

Sure, the above isn’t an exemplary approach to avoiding bad grades, but recently an even more dubious method has been getting a lot of attention: online businesses have been offering to do your child’s homework and school projects for a fee! While the homework-by-proxy racket is nothing new, recent media coverage of the growing enterprise has brought to light this questionable practice and its appalling popularity among elementary and junior high school students.

What does this teach, and not teach, future adults? Why are parents taking advantage of these services for their young children? One twisted reason will probably surprise you.

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“Terrible, amazing things my teacher said”: Tweets from the Japanese classroom

Did you used to think that your teachers all lived in the school on the weekends? Lots of kids are shocked to discover one day that their teachers have private lives, families, and even friends outside of school. This collection of tweets are all from Japanese students – whose sometimes-cynical, sometimes-exhausted, pretty-much-always-awesome professors probably just wanted to remind them that teachers are people too.

That’s right – it’s time for a snappy little segment which we’ll be entitling, in honour of its Japanese hashtag equivalent, “This devastatingly amazing thing my teacher just told me!”

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Tohoku University evicts entire dormitory for rampant drinking, is a zany 80s comedy just waiting to happen

On 15 July, Tohoku University sent eviction notices to all 105 residents of Meizenryo, a student-governed dormitory in Sendai. The school claims that the students violated their “promise to abstain from alcohol.”

Although asking a building full of college students not to drink is like asking a building full of tigers not to scratch the furniture, the school is taking a hardline stance of incredulousness at their behavior. Nevertheless, students are appealing saying that not everyone in the dorm drinks and some should be allowed to stay.

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Monster parents evolve: The unbelievable demands and complaints made by parents in Japan

‘Monster parents’ aren’t anything new in Japan–the complaints by and about overbearing, demanding mothers and fathers have been on the increase for nearly a decade. But thanks to a report by the FujiTV program Nonstop, the issue has catapulted squarely back into the public conscious.

The show posted some of the crazier complaints allegedly made by these loudmouthed parents to schools and their kids’ teachers, sparking angry and bewildered comments online. We’ve collected some of the best (worst?) below.

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Japanese Star Wars notebooks: Because Jedi have homework to do too

April is the start of the academic year in Japan, and for kids, parents and stationery manufacturers that means one thing: it’s back to school shopping season. And across Japan, as elementary school students carefully write their names in their notebooks for the new year, there’s a good chance that notebook will be Showa Noto brand. The company’s gakushucho (study notebooks) are a hugely popular series of school notebooks, used by school students all over the country. Showa Noto also makes character-branded goods, and we’re desperate to get our hands on one of these new Star Wars school notebooks!

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Chinese classroom introduces roller coaster-style desks, hopes to protect kids’ eyesight

What’s this strange contraption? Perhaps a headrest, or some kind of anti-cheating device? Maybe it’s something for the kids to hold on to when English grammar classes get too exciting to bear!?

Actually, this classroom has been fitted with these specially-designed desks as a measure of preserving their kids’ precious eyesight.

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Is Japan overworking its teachers? One exhausted educator says, “YES!”

Japan has a reputation for overworking its employees, though it’s hardly the only country! But when it comes to education, you’d expect Japanese teachers, whose students often score among the top in the world on standardized tests, to be solely focused on their classroom materials. But you might be wrong!

One public middle school teacher has recently gotten a ton of attention online for a blog post about her impossible-to-manage duties as a “club leader” and her desire to actually change occupations due to the intense schedule. Read about her experience and the intense reactions below.

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The vocaloid classroom: Where music class meets the 21st century

Music class can be pretty hit or miss. Some people really enjoy it and find a life-long passion–other fumble hopelessly with the drumsticks and just wish it were time to start math class. Either way, we all had to sit through it, right?

But as important as learning an instrument may be, it kind of seems like music class is still stuck in the 20th century–or even the 19th century. After all, the music industry today relies as much on Pro Tools as it does on an expert bass player. So while we’ll always need skilled musicians, it does seem prudent to introduce the more technologically advanced aspects of music to the classroom, doesn’t it?

Well, one Japanese school did just that by offering a vocaloid composition trial lesson to their curriculum!

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Teacher accidentally fires confiscated “fake” gun in Fukuoka Prefecture school

In Japan where guns are an incredibly rare sight, toy guns and replicas can often look like the real thing. So when a teacher at a middle school in Fukuoka Prefecture confiscated what they thought was a fake gun from a student, the teacher handled the “toy” with very little care, and ended up accidentally discharging it in the staff room.

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Some Japanese school regulations don’t make any sense!

Stereotypically, Japan really loves their sense of social conformity and the comfort of their unchanging rules. The socialization of Japanese children into upstanding and unobtrusive citizens starts young and is encouraged by the country’s educational system. Rules regarding clothing and classroom behaviors are necessary in any nation’s school setting, but the institutions’ attempts to control their students seem particularly far-reaching in Japan.

Still, there are some rules that even the people who grew up within the Japanese system find particularly confusing, if not downright misinformed. When asked in an online survey how many people felt that their school had some weird sorts of rules, 12.5 percent of respondents answered, “yes.” That may not seem like a very high number, but when asked to go into detail about these unconventional guidelines, the results were still rather surprising. Here’s a short list of weird guidelines upheld by some of Japan’s schools.

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Saiyans, pirates, and Jesus all come alive on Japanese blackboards

As we saw from their hilarious textbook doodles not too long ago, Japanese school children seem to be bursting at the seams with creativity. Now, with the slightly more public and temporary space of a classroom blackboard, some students with encouraging teachers were able to create some very impressive murals.

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