Saturday, September 8, 2012

School in Japan

  Showa Day, Bannaji & Ashikaga Gakko 058

足利学校 - あしかががっこう (Ashikaga gakkou) is the oldest school in Japan. Unfortunately, they don't all look this cool anymore. Or even function the way Ashikaga Gakkou did. Ashikaga gakkou was really a school for the scholarly elite priests, not exactly free and public education for all, but a good start nonetheless.

Most school buildings in use today were built in the 1950’s and 60’s following the second world war. They all pretty much follow the same set of blueprints:

More Ashikaga 016If you’ve seen one school, you’ve pretty much seen them all.

In the Meiji era, Japan had some major education reforms, to start modeling their system after the (now defunct) Prussian system. This included everything from how the grades were divided to uniforms. High school boys’ high-collared ‘gakuran’ jackets with the brass buttons are modeled after Prussian military school uniforms.

Besides the public schools, there are exorbitantly priced private schools in Japan as well. Every school, private or public, must abide by the national standards set forth by the Ministry of Education.

Students go through the exact same number of years of school that students do in the U.S., the only difference lies in the division between the levels of school. There are even pre-school and kindergarten programs available in most places.

Here's a look at how schooling in the U.S. is divided up vs. Japan:


















United States

Elementary school

Middle school

High school

たとえば ( For example):
In the U.S., you might be a こうこう いち ねんせい
but in Japan, you would be a ちゅうがっこう さん ねんせい

Lastly, the names of the major divisions of school are pretty simple to remember.

小学校, shougakkou, elementary school, with the character 小 (shou) meaning “small”

中学校, chugakkou, middle school, with the character 中 (chuu) meaning “middle” or “center”

高校, koukou, high school, with the character 高 (kou) meaning “high” or “tall”

and even 大学, daigaku, university, with 大 (dai) meaning “big.”

I guess you are in the big school when you go to university ^_^

Wednesday, March 28, 2012




Authentic Japanese tastes are hard to come by in the U.S., so it’s absolutely necessary to be creative with your bento!

This is my Mediterranean-inspired bento with the contents as follows:

(counter-clockwise from the top)

  • Vegetarian grape leaves (pre-made from the grocery store)
  • Arugula salad dressed with seasoned olives and parmesan
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce leftovers sprinkled with parmesan

Bento box is from francfranc.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The particle 「 に 」

Another announcement for Japanese 001 about particle use, this time about 「に」. I used Google IME for all of the various 顔文字 in the previous post and this one as well.
こんにちは みんなさん!
Today I'd like to talk about the particle

So, how do we use 「 」?
Well, we have learned 3 ways so far:

We use 「 」 when we talk about where something is, like "in"

れいぞうこ が だいどころ あります。

We use「 」 to indicate were we are going "to"

がっこう いきます。

Lastly, we use 「 」 to say what we are doing "for" an occasion (like breakfast!)

あさごはん すし を たべます。

Keep Studying!
\(^o^)/ ガンバレー