Sure, we all know that you shouldn't be late to school. But in Japan, they take punctuality very seriously. If you come to school late more than five times, you are punished. What is your punishment? They assign you with specific cleaning responsibilities early in the morning before school for an entire week! I’d like to see them try that in the United States.
In Japan, the students are also the cleaning staff. Students take turns cleaning up classrooms, bathroom and hallways. They are asked to dust, mop and erase whatever is on the chalkboard. In the United States, we are lucky if we can even get kids to throw away their garbage.
Instead of going to the cafeteria, students eat in their classrooms. They set up their own lunches with placemats and dishes. They are either served by lunch ladies or the students serve one another. They also do not allow you to waste any food and you are made to eat everything on your plate. I wonder how much of it ends up on the floor!
The Japanese take swimming lessons very seriously and it is actually part of the school’s curriculum. Most of the schools in Japan have their own pool and kids are required to learn how to swim. If you fail, however, you are required to take summer school. You better work on that breast stroke if you don’t want to have to swim all summer!
While this doesn’t apply for all schools, most of the students in Japan aren’t allowed to alter their natural appearance. This means no makeup, colored contacts, hair dye, nail polish or even plucked eyebrows. They can’t pluck their eyebrows!? Yes, I would like to talk to the principal, please.
Once upon a time, a weekend in Japan was only one day long. Oh, hell no! Then in 1992, the government changed the weekend to two days. Some high schools still offer Saturday classes, despite the change.
Students are prohibited from dating and having any open relationships in junior high schools. They do this to ensure that the students have no distractions from their studies. In America, it seems like the only point of school when you are that age is to see your crush.
In Japan, elders are always greeted as a sign of respect, especially those who are providing you with an education. To greet their teachers, students bow before and after class. In the United States, kids throw paper at their teachers when their backs are turned to the class. It’s kind of the same, right?
There are some strict rules about how both boys and girls are allowed to wear their hair in school. Girls are not allowed to dye their hair. They can’t use any colorful scrunchies or have bangs longer than their eyebrows. Boys are not allowed to have any facial hair and their hair must always look neat and trimmed. Go into a high school in the US and let me know how neat and trim the boys look.
In Japan, there is a strict no cell phone policy inside of their schools. Students are only allowed to use their phones in the parking lot or near the entrance of the school and then in between classes or after school. How do they text their crush? Oh yeah, they aren’t allowed to have any crushes.
Their uniforms are to be worn as is. They are not allowed to roll, cut or tamper with the uniforms in any way. They can’t decorate them and they must be worn exactly as instructed and are to do so even after they leave the building.
Japan rarely uses substitute teachers. If a teacher calls in sick, the students are expected to study on their own. They are required to be on their best behavior and every once and awhile another teacher will come in and check on them. Damn, that is trust right there.
If you are still wondering how to snazz up your uniform, just know that students are not allowed to wear any colorful outerwear on top of their uniforms. They must keep their jackets or sweaters to colors and shades like tan, navy, black and grey. They also can’t spruce up their uniforms with jewelry.
Depending on where you live, students that are under 18 have a 10pm curfew. The rules vary from city to city, but Tokyo and Yokohama both enforce this 10pm rule. If someone underage tries to go out past that time, anything open, like arcades and cinemas, will deny access to you.