Club culture is very big in Japan. Similar to American high schools, all Japanese high schools have clubs. Where they differ from American clubs however, is in their intensity. Of course, more casual clubs exist where the members only meet once or twice a week. In Japan, most sports clubs meet every day all year round. Weekday meets are usually 2 1/2 hours after school, and weekend meets are 4 hours. I never participated in any high school sports in America, but I do believe there were seasons and off-times. At least for my high school here in Japan, there really isn’t any off time and the students generally take clubs very seriously. Another difference between American and Japanese club activities is that in America, while many students do take part in a club, there are still many that don’t. But in Japan, the majority of the students attend after school clubs. Now given that school here is from around 8am to around 4pm, this means that most students here don’t leave the school until around 7pm! Crazy, right?
As of now, I am in two clubs: soft tennis and tea ceremony. One nice thing is that soft tennis isn’t held on Fridays which is unique. Tea ceremony is on Friday so I end up having to stay at school anyway, but it’s less tiring so it still feels like a break.
Normally, I love the intensity and hanging out with my friends everyday, but as it becomes summer, I will say soft tennis also becomes more and more unbearable. It’s fun to be with friends, but Japanese summers are extremely rough, especially for someone who only really experienced Seattle summers. Overall though, I recommend joining a sports club if you come to Japan! It’s a great way to bond with classmates and it gives you more time to develop your language skills outside of school!
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