Reflections on a 1970s Classroom

I am already starting to get used to life in schools in Japan, so, before it becomes too ‘normal’ for me, I wanted to record my impressions of the Japanese school.

When I arrived, each school felt like walking into a 1970s under-loved British school. I was surprised by the lack of technology, heavy reliance on chalk boards and extensive peeling paintwork and rust to be seen everywhere. The only way I can describe it is that it looked like the furniture and décor had been borrowed from a soviet museum. There are a lot of shades of grey, by which I mean paint…rust can be seen around all piping and on most doors and damp hides in every corner.

The teachers can sometimes employ chalk and talk textbook methods and the students sit on small wooden tables in rows. It is far from what we are used to in the UK, but it has been for me to adapt to the schools here, not the other way around. I have one school with a more modern air, but I have recently been told it is only a temporary building and will be torn down soon…right…not enough concrete and rust perhaps…

Recently, during exam revision season (which feels like every few weeks) I made the most out of the lack of students at school and took my camera round school. Much to the teachers amusement (crazy foreigner!), I captured some of the things that make Japanese schools stand out for me. The result is a few pictures that look like they were once lost, and now found.

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