School, friends & uniforms in Japan

Photo Caption: My classroom in Japan.

Here in Japan, one of the places where I spend the most time is school. (I mean, I am studying abroad...) Naturally, the kids at school are some of the people I spend the most time with.

I thought it'd be good to give an inside look at this significant part of my daily social reality, so here goes...

I present to you my excellent classmates here in Japan:

The view as you walk down the hallway to my classroom.

  • Tsukasa: The class clown. He always pulls stupid faces and makes people laugh.
  • Mutsuki: A girl with short bouncy hair and massive glasses who likes to roll her “r”s in imitation of gangsters.
  • Suzune: A dainty looking girl with stick straight hair and freckles who can bellow like a moose.
  • Akari: Who introduced me to the tea ceremony club and helps me in Classics.
  • Riho: A girl who's as sassy as you can get in a language where sarcasm doesn’t exist (also in Tea Ceremony club).
  • Two girls whose names I don’t remember: They're the unofficial class idols. At least one of them is going to end up in AKB48 (Japan’s idol girl group).
  • Yurika: Is great at judo, terrible at math, and has the best smile.
  • Rin: The baseball player with a shaved head who always wants to practice speaking English with me. Everyone laughs at his accent, but I admire his effort.
  • Fuji: The sporty track club member who won all the races for us at the sports festival. He can also pull off a rather convincing girl if you put enough makeup on him.
  • Shun: A boy who looks more Korean than Japanese (apparently) and is the best English speaker in the class. It’s fun helping him with his pronunciation.
  • Yuki: The first girl I made friends with. She’s quiet, does archery, and loves to read – she’s always reading between classes and loves the library.

Plus 27 more rather fabulous people. They have all been incredibly kind and welcoming, and I hope I can be friends with all of them by the time I have to leave.


I should also say a bit about your school uniforms, since they are the clothes I probably spend the most time in here.

First of all, everyone who watches animé thinks they know what Japanese school uniforms look like. In reality, though, you’d have to add 10 inches to the anime characters’ skirts for them to look anything like what I actually wear to school each day.

Practically every school in Japan requires some sort of school uniform. Even the elementary school in my neighborhood, where kids wear normal clothes but have to wear a special hat. Each school’s uniform is distinctive, so you can tell which kid belongs to which school just be looking at their uniform.

As a general rule, private schools’ uniforms are fancier than public schools’.

The uniforms also vary depending on the season. There is a winter uniform and winter PE clothes, and a summer uniform and summer PE clothes.

For girls, uniforms typically consist of some form of skirt and shirt, while the boys get pants and a shirt.

Schools are usually pretty strict about the uniforms. They’re NOT supposed to be flattering outfits, so most schools (including mine) don’t allow girls’ skirts to be any shorter than right above the knee. And there are all sorts of other rules such as, “one may not roll up one’s sleeves if wearing the vest,” and, “don’t even think about make-up.”

Despite this, I really like my uniform. I don’t have to think about what to wear in the morning, and I feel nice and cozy once I’m all buttoned up with long sleeves, a sweater and a blazer. It’s also the best feeling ever walking into school and knowing that I’m not going to see girls wearing ridiculously short pencil skirts and boys who sag so much they can’t walk straight. Quite refreshing, I must say.

And now, without further ado, here is my school uniform:

The Winter Version

The Summer Version