making a checklist of my language requirements and i am starting to wonder if i can do this all. hmmm… i like a challenge. one of my friends has introduced me to a language learning website called italki. on this website you can find professional teachers to help you learn languages. the prices vary by teacher and there are quite a few languages to choose from. my friend is learning hindi and she has found a teacher she is happy with. tomorrow morning at 7am i have a trial lesson scheduled with a german teacher. i will let you know how it goes.
the last few days of my vacation are starting to wind down really quickly and in a non-exciting way. i spent today doing laundry and then studying german in a study area located in fukui city. there are several places you can choose from, with coffee shops being a favourite. i used to study after work in a place called mister donuts (or ミスド for short), but studying there came at a risk of overeating and too much caffeine. for someone who struggles to get a lot of sleep you can see how the caffeine can be an issue. many students who attend one of the schools in the city study in the various coffee shops and restaurants near the station. don’t be surprised to find a student studying for their maths test at a mcdonalds.
the study area i now frequent is located in aossa. this 8 floor community hall and mall is home to several shops, restaurants, event rooms, and it even has a ballet studio. i have actually danced at that ballet studio but i haven’t been able to frequent it often. i plan to start classes there again this week. i have been missing ballet so much, and i need to get over the fact that i can’t take up ballet professionally. it still pains me to think that i was only one exam away from going pro…
there is no point in dwelling on what could be, and now i push myself to fight for what will be. this is part of the reason why i am studying so many languages. there is method to my madness and it will all make sense soon. i hope.
anyway, so in the study area today (with my colleague) we saw many students filling up the tables assigned for free use. so many studious students you may be thinking, and you would be correct. being a school student in japan is not easy, and it is very stressful. from about the 8th grade (junior high school year 2) students start stressing over entrance exams for high schools. in south africa we have it easy, we pick a school and if they have place (and if we can afford the fees) we can pretty much go to any school. well, that was at least how it was in my day. in japan, you need to be recommended by teachers and principal to attempt a high school entrance tests. you take tests in various subjects (including english, maths, and japanese) and stress out.
when the results are finalised the schools post them at one of their entrances so that students can come see the verdict. this is usually done over the weekend, so i am glad i don’t get to witness it. some of these kids are crushed or elated at the result. it is heartbreaking to see the former.
it is sad to realise how much stress these kids are put under. it continues through high school when they have to think about university but i have heard university life isn’t as stressful as high school is. i have many 11th grade students (high school year 2) with more grey hairs than i have. i am about twice their age, kids should not be this stressed. it is the stark reality of the school system in asia. i hear it is just as bad (if not worse) in china and south korea.
i hope when i have children, i will remember this and not put so much pressure on them to succeed. i want my children to only do their best, and enjoy their lives as responsibly as they can. i am a long way off from having kids, but this is something i hope to keep in mind.
it can’t be all that bad if this is the view from your school (in winter), right?!
what do you think? are we putting our kids under too much pressure now to be the best?
light and love to you all.
(‘half life’ is performed by imogen heap and is taken from the album ‘ellipse‘)