A Full 180

By Chidera Obiwuma

During our KAKEHASHI trip in Japan, our group had the opportunity to do an exchange with high school students from Gifu Sogo Gakuen High School. During the time we spent with them, they showed us the many different clubs that they dedicated much of their time to. I was flabbergasted seeing all the astonishing performances they had for us, especially the Taiko drumming. Through this experience my views on Japanese schools changed immensely. Japan is known for having a strict education system; however, that wasn’t what I thought after spending almost a day with the high school students. I was amazed at the performance by the students and felt that they all had talents to showcase unlike many students in America. To me, in comparison to Japanese high schools, I think that American high schools are strict. The reason I say that is because of the big difference that I noticed in our curriculum. Japanese high schools are more well-rounded than American high school students. They not only learn the traditional subjects like math and science but also learn about the arts like calligraphy, similar to learning cursive in the West, which has become a dead practice. I feel that such a curriculum makes a person more versatile and allows them to not only have more opportunities in life but to show one more thing about themselves that makes them interesting and stand out as an individual.