ISEC International Support for Education and Communicationjapanese


1. School year in Japan starts in April and ends in March. Classes are being changed, and students look forward to meeting new classmates and a new teacher

2. April is the month when cherry blossoms are blooming. Most schools have cherry blossoms near the school entrance door. Parents of first year students usually take their child's pictures under the cherry trees on (opening ceremony)

3. PTA stands for "Parent Teacher Association." In the beginning of the year, there is a general PTA meeting between the teacher and students' parents to discuss about class organization, rules, and parents' requests regarding homework

4. In April, local doctors come to school to check students' health



5. (ensoku)-field trip
*elementary school students usually go on a field trip twice a year; in spring and in autumn. They take one-day field trip to local park, museum, sea, mountain, etc. with their teacher
*middle school and high school students go on a longer excursion called (shugaku ryoko) which they spend several nights together. They visit historical places such as Nara, Kyoto, and Hiroshima.

6. (jyugyousankan)- open class; parents are welcomed to observe their children's
class to see how well they are doing as well as to see teacher's teaching method

7. Middle school and high school students take midterm



8. June fourth is known as cavity prevention day. Since six is pronounced "mu" and four as "shi," Japanese word for cavity is (mushiba). So, during the week of June fourth, dentists visit local elementary schools to train students how to brush their teeth properly

9. pool season begins-schools in Japan have their own swimming pool. Swimming is a major sports to be practiced during summer. In this swimming class, each student is divided among three levels: A, B, and C. At the end of the summer, students participate in school swimming contest, and demonstrate how much they improved over the summer.

10. (katei homon) - home visit; teachers visit students' homes, and meet their parents. The purpose of home visit is to observe in what kind of home/environment the student has been growing up, and teachers may find more about the student's personality by talking directly to one's parents



11. End of first term; middle school and high school students take final exams




12. Students have about five weeks of summer vacation. Students have homework during
summer vacation such as working on research projects, doing worksheets etc. For fifth and six graders, they attend a special summer camp called (rinkan gakko). In this camp, students go hiking, and have an opportunity to play with nature. At night, it is typical for students and teachers to make a fire and to cook curry rice. For middle school and high school students, those who belong to sports-oriented club go to school almost everyday to practice. Students who will take school entrance exams in the following year study very hard during summer by going to juku (cram school)


13. second term begins
14. Students and teachers participate in school earthquake drill. Students are required to wear (bousai zukin) when practicing earthquake drill (please refer to school supply list for further information)


15. middle school and high school students participate in (bunkasai), a cultural festival held by the school. In this fair, students who belong to a club have a chance to present what they have learned. For example, those who are in drama club present a play. Students who are in science club make a presentation regarding the labs they have done. Those who belong to cooking club turn the classroom into a small cafe and invite guests. Cultural festivals usually become a memorable event for the students because by preparing together, teamwork becomes an important factor and their friendship becomes closer

16. Midddle school and high school students take midterm



(undokai)-Sports Day; all students participate in different athletic events. Usually, they are divided into two different groups, and they compete against each other to win the festival. Families attend students' sports festival to cheer them. So, this is a major event not only for the students, but also for their families spending a fun time together.



18. end of second term: middle school and high school students take finals Students have winter vacation for about two weeks, and they are usually given a light assignment; a practice for "kakizome" contest (please refer to the bottom column)

19. Student have winter vacation for about two weeks, and they are usually given a light assignment; a practice for "kakizome" contest



20. third term begins

21. (kakizome) contest(Japanese calligraphy contest)- usually held at the beginning of new year. Students write a short phrase that has a positive meaning to start out a peaceful new year on a long strip of paper. These works are displayed throughout the classrooms and school hallway. --- example of a phrase written at kakizome contest: (kibou no asa)


22. middle school and high school students take midterms

23. school marathon rally-purpose of this rally is not only to see students' physical ability, but also to strengthen their personality; to learn not to give up easily



24. end of third term: middle school and high school students take finals

25. graduation & closing ceremony Graduation is held in school gym. After graduation, graduates participate in (shaonkai), an appreciation party given by the graduates to their teacher

26. Students have about two weeks of spring vacation