Sunday, June 13, 2021

Most Hated Elementary School Events in Japan

There seems to be certain Japanese school events that happen at every school. These events are serious and traditional. Students and teachers spend a lot of time practicing and getting ready for them. Not everyone has fond memories of these events.  I don't have any personal experience with these events, but I hear about them from my students who are parents.  Not all of the parents are crazy about participating in them with their children either.

Five hundred Japanese adults were surveyed, and asked "What school event in elementary school did you hate the most?" Here are the top ten responses.

10 - School Trip (37 votes) 

9 - Culture Festival (38) 

8 - Mountain Climbing (39) 

7 - Entrance Ceremony (42) 

6 - Graduation Ceremony (44)

5 - Music Festival (62) 

4 - Emergency Drills (87) 

3 - Parent Observation Classes (117) 

These can happen several times a year and in my area seem to happen on Saturdays. According to my students, the children practice lessons ahead of time so there are no mistakes, and the parents watch from the back of the room.

2 - Sports Day (180) 

Sports Days seem to happen in the spring and in the fall in my area and usually last all day.  The fathers go to the school early in the morning with a tarp to stake out their family area for eating lunch and resting. This year, due to the pandemic, sports days were still held, but shorter and no lunch.  Also, family members were limited to only one or two.

1 - Marathon (210) Although named "Marathon", the run isn't a marathon distance. I think it's more like four kilometers. There are many training sessions before the event, with everyone wearing the same T-shirts. I've heard from my students that the event is less of a competition between students and a competition to better one's previous year's ranking. Sometimes there are tears.

Did your elementary school hold any annual events? Did you like them? The only one I remember was the annual Christmas program. It was held in the gymnasium with the students (the school was 3rd - 8th grades) on the bleachers on one side and the parents and family on the other.  Each grade performed a song or something.  The fifth graders always sat in the shape of a triangle, wearing green aprons, and held flashlights with colored cellophane. They sang O Christmas Tree with the lights dimmed and the flashlight on so it was supposed to look like a big Christmas tree. The teachers always carried saltine crackers and throw up bags in case anyone felt sick. The students all received some treat at the end. Maybe there were other events, but I don't remember any.


diamondc said...

Greetings Pamela: I find this post interesting,
Field Trips which I did not like it took me away from my studies.
Culture Festivals: not sure what that really means.
Mountain Climbing: no we do not have mountains here in flat and I mean flat Minnesota.
Entrance Ceremony: I did not like parading in front of people.
Music Festivals: We did not have.
Graduation Ceremony: I disliked this also did not attend as did many others, I did not have a graduation party either, I liked sharing with my family at home.
Drills: Oh my the worst, it seems they were always on rainy days or in the coldest of winter.
I know many countries have many traditions, some which I do not understand but hey that is just me.
I hope you are having a great week.


Vireya said...

Quite an interesting list!

I went to 7 different primary (elementary) schools, so I was never at any of them long enough to find out if there were any annual events. But most of the things on that list never happened at schools I attended. I loved any excursions, as they got us out of the classroom. But I don't know if those were the same as "school trips" in Japan. I hated any sports days, as there was no sport I was any good at, so it was a day of humiliation.

From about grade 3 each school I attended had swimming lessons in summer, and I hated them because I couldn't swim (or even float) and hated putting my face in the water. I would be left behind while other students progressed each week to new skills. By the time the other students could swim across the pool, I was still at the shallow end repeating the first lesson every week.

toki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
toki said...

Hello Pamela.

Whet I was a kid,The Marathon event was held in winter.
Marathon competition is a part of physical education class.
That's why I were school-designated gym-uniform and run.
For some reason only short sleeves and gym bloomer were allowed. It was very cold.

My favorite event was an excursion.
I don't remember in detail where I went.
But it was special to get on the bus and go far with lunch and snacks.

Queeniepatch said...

Of the things listed above, I can only remember
School trips - which I liked
Graduations ceremonies - which sometimes surprised me, (I was given an award for the best essay or something)
Emergency drills - fire drills with smoke in the corridors, frighteningly realistic
Sports days - which were fun as we could chose an event from a list - I usually picked walking or cycling
Matches - we had to play bandy (field hockey on ice, very Swedish!) which I hated

What I liked best of 'school events' was a set of study visits to various religious 'tempels'. I remember vividly a visit to Hare Krishna, one to the Salvation Army and to an archaeological dig where the Vikings used to worship their gods.

Jeanie said...

This is fun. I always hated Field Day with outdoor "games"--all of which I was terrible at!

kiwikid said...

I remember sports days and cross country running (hated) as we had to go across the neighbouring farms and then on the school rugby field, one year I cut my heel on wire from the fence we had to climb over. I don't remember any excursions or graduation ceremonies.

Leonore Winterer said...

I think it's sad so many students hated music festivals!

Thinking back to elementary school, I know we had a two-day event every year were we got to pick one of several projects to participate in. Usually they were hosted by parents and teachers and involved either some kind of sport, or something creative. I know I got to paint the asphalt in the school yard one year! There also was a sports day (hated that because I was always so bad at PE) and I know one year we had a school festival were each class got to perform a little skit or dance. That one was fun!