school

Teen fashion brand Cecil McBee releases range of educational books, makes studying kawaii

In the west, there’s a wide range of stores selling affordable and cute fashion marketed towards teens, such as H&M, TopShop, Zara and Forever 21. But in Japan, one of the most popular places for picking up cute clothes is the interestingly named chain store Cecil McBee. With a name seemingly pilfered for some bizarre reason from Tulsa-born jazz musician Cecil McBee (he even tried to sue, but was unsuccessful), the chain has stores across Japan, with a main store located inside the trendy 109 shopping centre in Shibuya.

Now, however, the chain is branching out from fashion to release a range of educational books aimed at junior high school girls with adorably kawaii covers and illustrations. After all, you still want to look cute while you’re studying, don’t you?

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Student takes mechanical pencil lead to the groin in a possible attempt to skip exam

When I was in school, it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence for a classmate to claim that his dog ate his homework or ask to see the school nurse about a stomachache only moments before a big test. I myself remember having to tell one of my elementary school teachers that I couldn’t turn in my math assignment because my cat had vomited all over it. (She didn’t believe me, so the next morning I bagged it and left it on her desk.)

Nowadays, it seems like students have become even more creative with their excuses, like one male university student who recently had to visit the hospital to get some pencil lead removed from his urethra.

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Kumamoto preschool designed to become a giant puddle when it rains

Kids will be kids. And being kids, one of the things they are inevitably going to do is play in rain puddles. No matter how they might be scolded later, the sheer joy of splish-splashing through some nice big puddles exerts an irresistible magnetic force on little feet.

Rather than trying to reign in that youthful inclination, one preschool in Japan is embracing it through a central courtyard designed to collect water when it rains.

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Popular manga artist’s shockingly great doodles from school prove he’s always had talent

I’m sure we all remember that one kid from our grade school days that was scarily good at drawing. The kid that would hastily – and incorrectly – finish up his math problems so he could back to sketching in his notebook. The one that could caricature Mr. Goetz’s sort of goofily small head from memory on request (no offense, Mr. Goetz).

If you were to dip back in to your long-forgotten box of grade school stuff – you know, the one mom keeps around specifically to embarrass you when you bring a new woman home to meet the family – and found one of that kid’s sketches, though, they probably aren’t going to look as good as you remember them. Hell, that kid’s probably not even a Disney animator like he always said he’d be, either. He probably works in the cafeteria at your old middle school because he never paid attention in math class.

On the other hand, there’s at least one insanely talented manga artist whose grade school/high school doodles hold up just as well today. In fact, they might even be better than the stuff he’s drawing now.

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Teacher rejects student’s declarations of love through comments on class worksheets

I’m sure we all harboured a secret crush on a school teacher at least once during our formative years. The operative word here being ‘secret’, mind you.

Spare a thought for this poor Japanese teacher who was faced with open declarations of love, and even a marriage proposal, from one of her students, but who responded to them all with real aplomb.

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What do you call this sitting pose? Japanese netizens polled to find differences in dialect

Even when speaking with fellow English speakers, sometimes you realize that the same thing can be called a variety of names. (Try calling soda “pop” in most of the US and enjoy the funny looks you get.) The same is true in Japan, where, thanks to regional dialects, some people have a hard time being understood when they leave their hometowns.

One Twitter user recently brought regional dialect differences to the forefront of the Internet when he surveyed over a thousand people about the word they would use to describe a certain way of sitting. Collecting and plotting the data on a map of Japan, the results have been surprising people from all regions!

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Awkward: Teacher tries to show his students space DVD, accidentally shows them porn instead

Sometimes it’s hard work being a teacher, especially when you’re passionate about a subject and your students couldn’t care less. No wonder some teachers find themselves just going through the motions and counting the days until the next school break.

But sometimes, being a little TOO passionate can be even worse than phoning it in. And that goes double when you fail to check your lesson material in advance and wind up sharing a little too much with your students, as one teacher in Japan learned when he tried to show his kids a science video but accidentally gave them a peak at his porn stash instead.

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Sociologist says high school hierarchy keeps Japanese adults away from their home towns

Ijime, or bullying, is sadly as much a part of Japanese school life as it is in any other country. In Japan, too, each school has a sort of social hierarchy, where the “cool kids” often pick on or exclude the nerdy/unsporty kids, and everyone gets shuffled around until the “stronger” kids are on the top and the “weaker” kids are on the bottom.

But in a society like Japan, where group mentality is so important, you’d be mistaken for thinking that after high school everyone just flutters off to become their own special snowflake and cast off the mental wounds of a tough adolescence.

In other words, if someone was bullied in school, there’s a chance they’ll keep on being bullied by the same people right on through their working days if they stay in the same town. So how does this “high school hierarchy” continue to affect the lives of adults in Japan?

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Saga Prefecture is in big trouble as “technology in the classroom” trial fails big time

Nowadays, with online resources, textbooks, and even virtual high schools, technology has been making a big impact in the education world. School computer labs have come a long way in recent years and some schools are even supplying tablets for their pupils to use in class! Oh, to be a student in the 21st century!

Unfortunately, many schools in Japan have yet to jump on the in-classroom technology bandwagon. Wanting to head-up a new trend, last year Saga Prefecture decided to do a trial run of personal computers for students, and so had all high school first years purchase tablets–only, the technology caused so many problems, the program has been sacked only a year in and now the board of education is in hot water.

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Want to be a professional gamer? Time to go to school!

Children growing up around the world these days are asking the same question, “How do I become a pro gamer?” In the past, all you could do was find a game you were good at, become really good at it, and then hope someone would pay you for it.

These days, the professional gamer has many avenues to explore. There are plenty of games out there that have a thriving professional circuit. If you like first-person shooters (FPS), you could get into Call of Duty. If you’re more of a real-time strategy game fan perhaps Starcraft II will be your thing. The versus fighting game scene has always been extremely competitive, and multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA) like Dota 2 and League of Legends are breaking player and viewership records. But can you really say that those professional gamers are actually “qualified”? Well, if you’re looking for a school in Japan, you could become a qualified pro gamer with a pro gamer degree!

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New Fukushima school gets uniforms designed by the AKB48 costume designer

The new Futaba Future School, a combined junior and senior high school set to open in Hirono, Fukushima Prefecture this April, is getting some pretty snazzy uniforms. They were designed by Shinobu Kayano, the woman behind AKB48‘s colorful and memorable costumes.

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Ladybeard x Sailor Suit Old Man star in “dream collaboration” at school!

Frequent readers of our site should by now be familiar with Ladybeard, the eccentric jack-of-all-trades whose amusing antics we’ve covered multiple times, and “Sailor Suit Old Man,” the affectionate nickname of an infamous cross-dressing Japanese man.

You may remember the duo’s previous epic collaboration on the streets of Harajuku in Tokyo, but for fans of the unusual duo we’ve got good news–the pair have teamed up once again and are ready to share their latest round of funny photos! We proudly present the “Ladybeard x Sailor Suit Old Man dream collaboration at school.”  

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Budding Japanese student artists impress us with chalkboard works of art

Give any kid a piece of chalk, and they’re likely to draw some quick doodles on the board. Some stick figures; the logo of some group or team they’re especially fond of; perhaps even a wang or two if there are no adults around. But some kids will use that same piece of chalk to create veritable masterpieces that are so good, you’ll never want to erase them.

You won’t want to miss this collection of impressive chalk art after the jump! Here’s celebrating the talented work of artistic Japanese students.

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Korean students give their textbook characters fantastic fashion makeovers

I’m sure most of us have had the experience of doodling in our textbooks while the teachers droned on about all the math that we realized later in life we would never use. In fact, my personal specialty was decorating large chunks of text with elaborate frames of vines and flowers. Sometimes I even added fruits.

But some creative students in Korea took their doodling to a whole new level by giving the textbook figures clad in outdated fashion complete makeovers. Some of these doodlers were so talents the final result even looks like manga or manhwa!

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“Hate summer homework, kids? We’ll do it for you!” A disturbingly booming business in Japan

The following is a typical scene that many families in Japan will have recently experienced, and probably not for the first time: It’s August 31, the last day of summer vacation and the fall semester is starting in less than 24 hours. The kids who played all month suddenly realize that they have to do 40 pages of kanji and math drills, write a book report for a book they haven’t read, and fill in 30 days’ worth of journal entries–an assignment that they dutifully kept up with for all of the first week of summer break. They clamor for help, and despite the scoldings and I-told-you-so’s, “nice” parents and the more responsible siblings reluctantly pitch in.

Sure, the above isn’t an exemplary approach to avoiding bad grades, but recently an even more dubious method has been getting a lot of attention: online businesses have been offering to do your child’s homework and school projects for a fee! While the homework-by-proxy racket is nothing new, recent media coverage of the growing enterprise has brought to light this questionable practice and its appalling popularity among elementary and junior high school students.

What does this teach, and not teach, future adults? Why are parents taking advantage of these services for their young children? One twisted reason will probably surprise you.

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“Terrible, amazing things my teacher said”: Tweets from the Japanese classroom

Did you used to think that your teachers all lived in the school on the weekends? Lots of kids are shocked to discover one day that their teachers have private lives, families, and even friends outside of school. This collection of tweets are all from Japanese students – whose sometimes-cynical, sometimes-exhausted, pretty-much-always-awesome professors probably just wanted to remind them that teachers are people too.

That’s right – it’s time for a snappy little segment which we’ll be entitling, in honour of its Japanese hashtag equivalent, “This devastatingly amazing thing my teacher just told me!”

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Tohoku University evicts entire dormitory for rampant drinking, is a zany 80s comedy just waiting to happen

On 15 July, Tohoku University sent eviction notices to all 105 residents of Meizenryo, a student-governed dormitory in Sendai. The school claims that the students violated their “promise to abstain from alcohol.”

Although asking a building full of college students not to drink is like asking a building full of tigers not to scratch the furniture, the school is taking a hardline stance of incredulousness at their behavior. Nevertheless, students are appealing saying that not everyone in the dorm drinks and some should be allowed to stay.

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China’s controversial castle: Hogwarts knockoff or artistic expression?

Hebei Province is home to China’s newest castle, and it’s been the subject of debate online. It’s set to house a new university—and it looks very familiar! Harry Potter fans may see a resemblance to Hogwarts Castle; some are even saying that it’s a ripoff of the fictional castle’s design.

This castle-like campus will be home to the Hebei Art Academy once completed. That’s not too surprising—there are a lot of young romantics who would jump at the opportunity to study beauty surrounded by such novel architecture.

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Monster parents evolve: The unbelievable demands and complaints made by parents in Japan

‘Monster parents’ aren’t anything new in Japan–the complaints by and about overbearing, demanding mothers and fathers have been on the increase for nearly a decade. But thanks to a report by the FujiTV program Nonstop, the issue has catapulted squarely back into the public conscious.

The show posted some of the crazier complaints allegedly made by these loudmouthed parents to schools and their kids’ teachers, sparking angry and bewildered comments online. We’ve collected some of the best (worst?) below.

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Where can you find the most academically robust children in all of Japan? Hint: it’s not Osaka…

Which prefectures produce the best kids?

On April 2 the Kyoritsu Research Institute announced their findings of where the ‘best’ kids in the country are brought up, based on an analysis of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)’s 2013 ‘National Aptitude Test and Education Survey’.

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