Annual school events are taken very seriously in Japan. For many, a lot of time is spent rehearsing for them, making sure they are absolutely perfect. As someone who went to a state school in the UK, the idea of spending any time at all practicing for things like sports day is enough to make me laugh — we were ten year olds, not Olympic champions, after all.
Still, I can’t deny how impressive the finished result usually is, and when I see kids marching out onto the athletic field in perfect unison, waving their team flags and yelling battle cries at the opposing team, I can’t help but think, “…damn, that’s pretty cool.”
Of course, I’m only looking at it from an outsider’s perspective. I never had to spend the grueling hours put into the perfection, and not everyone who participated looks back on them with fond memories.
500 Japanese adults were recently surveyed and asked “What school event in elementary school did you hate the most?” Here’s their ranking:
10. School Trip (37 people)
9. Culture Festival (38 people)
8. Mountain Climbing (39 people)
7. Entrance Ceremony (42 people)
6. Graduation Ceremony (44 people)
5. Music Festival (62 people)
4. Emergency Drills (87 people)
3. Parent Observation Classes (117 people)
The third most disliked event was the Parent Observation Classes, where parents and guardians come and watch lessons at school. While most other events on this list happen only once a year, Parent Observation can happen multiple times throughout the year, depending on the school.
”I always felt uncomfortable when my parents came to school. It was like my home life mixing with my school life.” “I’m pretty sure my teacher hated Parent Days, too.” “I remember one day, my mom had to work on a Parent Day and couldn’t come. I was so relieved!”