Sunday, October 10, 2010

Remembering my school life in Japan: Part 1(VERY PIC HEAVY)

I'm introducing my new series! It will be divided into a few parts and will be about my high school exchange in Japan!

Here's how I plan on dividing it up:

Part 1 - Introduction to my school and 2年2組 - My first homeroom

Part 2 - 2年3組 - My second homeroom
Part 3 - Events at school/daily life/being a gaikokujin seito
Part 4 - Relationships in Japanese High Schools
Part 5 - Public vs. Private High Schools
Part 6 - Random Memories

I may be adding more if I feel more ambitious, hah!

I've been having mood swings lately and I've decided to start by blogging about my exchange as a way to channel all this change of thought so the loneliness doesn't kill me. I miss Japan too much.

Part 1 - Introduction to my school & 2年2組, my first homeroom
I was a one-year exchange student at 清真学園高等学校(Seishin Gakuen Koutou Gakkou, link).
It's a private Junior/Senior High School located in Kashima, Ibaraki. Students from as far north as Mito, Ibaraki and as far south as Narita, Chiba come to this school.

It's considered one of the top schools in the area and has a strong Rugby team and Shorenjikempo club. In 2007, it was selected to be a "Super Science High School" meaning, for 3 years, they would get special funding, textbooks, and money for trips to further their school's studies all while relating it to science. Even our English textbooks were primarily about science.

There is about 1,000 students school-wide and has over 100 teachers. Two are Americans, both from Washington State and teach English. Many of the teachers are graduates of Tokyo University, Meiji, and other top Japanese universities, making it a very prestigious school.

I attended Seishin with the exchange student from Thailand. We were the first year-long exchange students in over ten years, so it was a very new concept at Seishin.
Even with three other foreigners, I was the ONLY person with light hair that wasn't grey, which made for some funny looks, but some great laughs.

The 11 months I spent there was amazing and I made tons of friends and tons of memories. So hopefully I can share some of that with my readers (if there are any, hah!)

My first homeroom was 2年2組 or 2nd year, 2nd class(same as 11th grade in America). There were 41 people + 1 gaijin.

 Class picture - from my LAST Long Home Room (where we had assemblies, played games, had study time, etc) as a 2-2er but it was so much fun!

I will always have a lot of love for this class because they put up with me when I couldn't speak Japanese at all.

(should go under memories, but time appropriate)
From Halloween last year. This was from a Halloween cookie container. It turned into a pumpkin mask.

We had a "Halloween Party" during lunch, but that just meant they MADE cookies. Stupid American me went out and made treat bags for my main friends and brought in candy for everyone else.

.......Halloween in Japan is not Halloween in America.
My friends and I all got matching back-packs from Uniqlo.

We took pictures of us all together, and then we vowed never to use them on the same day because it was too embarrassing (so they said).

I gave mine to my last host sister because I couldn't fit it in my suitcases :[ But I will always have this lovely picture to remember them by♥

This is the one-week exchange student we had . She was staying in Tokyo originally but came to visit us for a week and she was SO COOL!

She helped me with my Japanese some, which I'm really thankful for.

Random picture from lunch. This girl became my BEST friend from this class.

She and I sang anime theme songs in karaoke... a few times! haha. She was a secret otaku.
 My shadow buddy!
She had to show me around a lot during my first month.

We, sadly, didn't stay very close at all. She became tired of having to "take care" of me, I think. Would someone like a blog about the pressures of being an exchange student vs being an exchange student's friend vs being a host family? I think it's a very interesting topic that I'd LIKE to write about.

 My group of friends at our bbq!

me and my two friends in our horribleeee winter uniforms. DEFINITELY not meant for white girls.

it started SNOWING but we still had the bbq.

The boys, hiding under umbrellas, and all trying to "sneak" into my shots without making it obvious. They were so cute.

The people in this class were very, very, very shy. The boys would run up and "test their English skills", sometimes ignore, and made my gaydar go off many times before I realized it was just a difference in culture. The girls were sweet, but since they were very rich, were pretty into labels.

I had 7 girls in this class who I ate lunch with, had all my classes with, and relied on for a long time. However, I think they had some issues between them that, due to my lack of Japanese cultural awareness/lack of language ability, were never explained to me and I'm not really sure why we kind of "split up" right before spring break. Sometimes I think it might have had something to do with me..... *sigh*

Do YOU guys have any questions about this class? Or any questions about Japanese high schools in general? I'm willing to answer anything so feel free to ask, ask away~! Maybe I'll add in a Q&A page for this series?

I'll try to update tomorrow as well, hopefully with a coordinate post as well. :]


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