Summer vacation begins today and while, for the rest of the world this means seven weeks of no school, in Japan it means seven weeks of school.
Yes, that’s right. All the junior high students were here before me this morning in their uniforms, attending their club activities (sports, art or music) and getting extra help from teachers.
It is more relaxed, they go home for lunch, and most of them seem to have the afternoon off, but summer vacation here makes me a little sad for these kids.
They will never have the joy that I had of spending two straight weeks at the beach in summer. Or spending days on projects like lemonade stands and fort building. Or whole afternoons dedicated to the acquisition and consumption of ice cream.
The glory of those summer weeks stretching out in front of me, all hot and full of promise, are some of the best memories of my childhood.
I suppose if they’ve never known any better it can’t bother them, but I feel vaguely outraged on their behalf.
I still have to come into work, although I have no classes, so for me summer vacation means plenty of time to study Japanese, work on my TESOL course, write in my blog and check Facebook.
It also means long lunchbreaks in the park, sneaking off early to go to the beach, and napping in the English classroom to recover from the amazing beach parties, festivals and trips I have planned.
And as a (nominal) grownup, I think that’s close enough to the glorious summers of my childhood.