Being a kid in Japan has its similarities and differences from being a kid in the United States. Japanese schoolchildren also go to school Monday through Friday. They have elementary, junior high and high school. They have school practically the whole year, starting a new grade level every April. They get long summer and winter breaks.
I interviewed a Japanese girl named Masako. She told me all about what it’s like to be a kid in Japan. Let’s take a look and see what her answers were to my questions.
What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
I usually eat bread and milk for breakfast. We receive boxed lunches called bento in school. The food changes every day. Some of the foods are rice, curry rice, salad, miso soup, fish and hamburger. We also get a glass bottle of milk to drink. My mom cooks meals like okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake), curry rice and yakiniku(grilled meat) for dinner with tea to drink.
What is your house like?
I live in a western-style house. There is one Japanese room called washitsu. This has a tatami mat for the floor and is used to relax and welcome guests. I sleep in a regular bed, not a futon.
What chores do you have at home?
I help do things like wash dishes, clean the bathroom, and clean my room.
What jobs do your parents have?
My dad is a reporter for a local newspaper. My mom stays at home and does housework. Sometimes she does a part-time job as an assistant in a nursing home. She helps the elderly who are living there.
What time does school start, and what time do you go home?
My first class is at 8:30. Class ends at 3:30.
How do you get to school? Are you allowed to go to school by yourself?
I walk to school every day. It takes about 40 minutes to walk there. I am allowed to go to school by myself. Many students go there by themselves.
Where do you eat lunch? What is your favorite food?
I eat lunch in the classroom. My favorite food is kinako age pan! This is fried bread covered with sugar and kinako, which is roasted soybean flour.
What language do you speak at school? How do you say “Hello” in your language?
I speak Japanese at school. I say konnichiwa, but maybe yo, yah, or ohayo to my friends.
What are some common kids’ names at your school?
The names Aya and Saki are popular for girls. Many guys have the names Sho and Yuki.
What subjects do you study in school, and which one is your favorite?
We study Japanese, mathematics, social studies, science, and P.E. My favorite is P.E.! I like to do sports like volleyball, basketball, and swimming in my class.
What is your homework like?
We have to practice writing about five pages of kanji (Japanese characters) every day. We also have things to do like math problems, writings, and practice problems.
What do you like to do after school? Do you have a favorite sport or game?
I like playing in the park near school with my friends. Some of my favorite games to play are dodgeball and tag.
Who is your favorite famous person?
My favorite is Avril Lavigne!
What kinds of music do you listen to?
I like Avril Lavigne and other American rock music. Sometimes I listen to Japanese music by groups like AKB48 and Morning Musume.
What would you like to be when you grow up?
I want to be a swimmer! My dream is to compete in the Olympics.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would go to Hawaii or maybe England.
What do you know or think about the United States?
I know New York, Los Angeles, French fries, hamburgers, and the Statue of Liberty.
What questions do you have for kids in the United States?
What games do you like to play outside? What is a famous song there? What is your favorite food? What do you want to be when you grow up?
He wanted to make sure we knew how to spell his name!
Kendra and Pierro
Outside Pierro’s Apartment
Pierro Genkowski Lo Presti