Updated: Jan 18
Special School Occasions during Spring Season
As winter finally starts to melt away, the new leaves start to peek out of the solid. In Japan, spring is a very important season as it remarks the end of an era and a new beginning. The closure of a year and the beginning of a new year, the end of a grade, and the beginning of a new grade. Spring is all about celebrating and welcoming the next chapter of life. I hope that this blogs helps you understand more about special events in Japanese schools.
Festivals in Spring (April- June)
APRIL: Ceremony of Entrance (入学式/ nyu-gakushiki）
New beginnings in Japan usually starts in April, the season of cherry blossoms. The ceremony to enter a new school in elementary, secondary, high school and university are usually also held in April, before classes start.
What happens at an entrance ceremony:
a speech by the principal
singing of the school song
introduction to classes
parents introduction to the PTA
These ceremonies are formal. Parents/guardians will wear suits. Some mothers wear Japanese traditional clothing
MAY: Sports day for elementary schools (運動会/ un-dokai)
Many schools hold sports competitions which are open to the parents. Students split up into teams (usually red v.s white) by random to compete against each other, in sporting events. Some events are individual like the 100m event, but some are in small groups, and some grades have student led dance performances. Depending on the school's policy, lunches are provided or families bring lunchboxes(Bento) and picnic sheets to watch the event.
↑This is a link to a VIRAL dance event in a sports day. It went viral because the demonstrate boy is so amazing for not being shy.
JUNE〜JULY: Pool opening (プール開き/ pool-hiraki)
In schools with swimming pools on campus, swimming becomes Physical Education subject.
Some schools will perform ceremonies to do small ceremonies, to pray for safety in the water. In outdoor pools, swimming is available for roughly 3 months, between June to September. You don't need to be skilled at swimming, the teacher's will teach from the beginning. In about 6 years at elementary school students will be able to swim the breaststroke, freestyle, and backstroke. In the final grade, there will be an open competition for every student to show their growth.
JULY: End-of-term tests （期末試験）from junior high school
This is one of the most dreaded weeks as a Japanese student. The school becomes exhausted and tensed at the same time. End-of-term tests are examinations that occur at the end of every school term, to check how much students have learned. Additional to the 5 main subjects (mathematics, Japanese, Science, Humanities and English., ) students are also tested on 4 more subjects: Physical Education, Art, Music and Technology & Home Economics.
Tests are usually a week long with 2 to 3 subjects a day. Usually one test is about one class so 45~60min depending on schools. Students take this week pretty seriously because the score of the test usually is a direct reflection on their grade. Of course, class participation and class work is taken into consideration but they don't take up much of the final grade.
After exams, the long awaited summer vacation takes place. Classrooms turn from a graveyard to a lively youthful atmosphere with students celebrating a long week.
Thank you for reading this far.
Click here to check out our summer version here for how Japanese students spend summer time and fun activities you can do only in Japan.
How to get involved in TOMO CLASSROOM?
Subscribe here or try our 1 minute survey