Kids in Japan :)

Since I started working at the kindergarten (an "international" school here in Osaka, Japan), I have noticed some very interesting things about children and schooling in Japan. I can't say if these things are common throughout Japan (or even amongst international schools here) but they are certainly interesting to me.

1. Children must have their temperatures taken and confirmed by their parents each morning before they swim at school. If their temperature falls in the "safe" range, and it is signed off by their parent(s), they are permitted to swim.

When I say swim, here at my school, the pools (there are 3 of them) look
something like this...

(sorry about the super cheesy picture, but this was the best representation of what we have here at school)!
... so there is very little chance of a child really swimming, getting their hair or face wet, or being exposed to the elements!

2. Children in Japan (expecially kindergarten and elementary aged students) are obsessed with s
omething known as "Kancho".

By putting their fingers in the above position, they are ready to poke their unsuspecting best friends (and teachers) right between the buttocks!!

3. Japanese children work harder than children in any other country I have ever heard of. Many children are subjected to hundreds of hours of school, cram school, sports clubs, dance lessons, soroban (abacus) lessons, music lessons, and more... and the kids I am talking about are only 4 or 5 years old!

One of my little cuties recently told me that she was having a busy day. I smiled politely imagining play-dates with friends and a bit of homework, until she proceeded to tell me that she had been woken up at 5am to complete her
japanese homework (writing practice), eaten breakfast, come to school at 8am and studied English all day, and from 3:30 she would go to a chinese language lesson, at 4:30 she would have a violin lesson followed by ballet, a couple of hours at cram school and then home for more homework time, and
finally sleep (most Japanese kids I know never go to bed before midnight!) This particular little girl turned 5 years old in July.

Am I the only person who thinks this is crazy?

Despite saying all of this (and I know some of it sounds a bit negative), Japanese kids are awesome. They are super cute (all tiny with huge black eyes), very quiet and cuddly (they love attention, especially hugs from adults). They are also dressed just like their mummies and daddies, some of them wearing mini versions of the latest street trends!

kawaiiiiiiii ;)


  1. That's one heck of a schedule for a little girl. :/ But hey, if she can handle it, more power to her. She'll be a very organized and efficient adult. Lol.

  2. Hello! I found your blog from 20 Something Bloggers and am really glad I found it!

    This post is particularly interesting because I feel the same way and am constantly amazed at how hard Japanese kids work everyday. Makes me feel like I'm not doing enough in my daily routine!

    Looking forward to reading your blog!

  3. Thanks Carrie and Julie Ann for your comments! I am constantly amazed at the pace of life here, from `salary-men` to kids... no one seems to have time to relax, even for a second! I want to bundle everyone up and ship them to New Zealand for a week of R&R. I wonder what they would do with all that free time?!?!


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