Well, welcome to the first ADW of 2014 and this means and during all that time the blog wasn't updated, I had some heavy IRL stuff in the mix of raising my GPA, but I prevailed and everything was solved and it even had me closer to my family. (In short, fuck 2013. Right in that ass.) Now, let's get everything back up to speed for this year!
The previous season was bananas for what I ended up enjoying, but because school was getting real, I only managed to check out Lady Jewelpet, Chiaka, The Coffin Princess and Mekaku City Actors and out of these, Mekaku City Actors claimed my heart from Episode 1, was a bit iffy about Chiaka after 1 episode, and Jewelpet was a cheesefest, but it was fun. I got yet to check out some others, however and hope to do so soon after things wind down.
I went to two malls in separate days: The first was in the Great Mall of Georgia and the second was in North Pointe Mall. While North Point did have some charm and had a store where I found a plushie of Sylveon, I ended up having much more fun at the Great Mall for the areas we explored. I really want to look at the GMG when the Christmas decorations are about.
It actually feels like a corrupt system in my school despite my strong drive to reach for graduation. Recently, I had to switch a class to a refresher course (but I was refunded for that class, which was rare for a college) and found out that my academic advisor registered me one stage too early for the course. Well, better than getting auto-failed by someone who was nice most of the time (that's if I had declined the advisor's plan). There are also too many corrupt teachers, especially the few teachers who I had the most trouble with for one class until a much better teacher showed up and managed to get me out of these courses with great grades. One of them was so bad, it took me years until last quarter to pass it and the other times were from the one teacher who turns her students into academic cattle if they make just one false move. If it weren't for good teachers about and the people I met that turned out to be friends later on, my drive would be much less stronger than it is today.
During the time that I was off, I participated in two tournaments. One was a draft for Vanguard, the other was a full tournament of the same game. In the previous draft, I only had two holo cards. One was pulled and the other was given to me on accident during the rotation (I kept it) I ended up being very close to first place until I decked out due to taking one damage point further than him. I got back at him when he asked if the one card I actually pulled (Ethics Buster Extreme) was open by replying that it was already traded. The look of his face was priceless. The full tournament was nearly as more troublesome as the draft, but I managed to reach into the top 8 with my deck (PR<3ISM Bermudas). Both actually ended up being fun despite the last battle where me and my opponent was gradelocked (Stuck at Grade 2 or lower).
Thanks for reading this rather long blog of mine. I hope to bring more of my misadventures to you guys soon. :)
Purpose: Inspired by an autobiography done by users, I think about how my College life is like my Anime Vice life.
Since I was new to college, I enrolled in a program that had mentors and mentees in various science majors to make new friends. Even though I had a mentor, most of stuff I had to adjust and work hard by myself. Yet, I always had a mentor to ask for help.
Compared to Anime Vice, I joined Anime Vice to look for images and comment on the images. This is how I first met my first Anime Vice user in the Taurus galleries. After his kind words of encouragement that nudged me to wiki edit, I started off working independently on Fairy Tail and Alice in the Country of Hearts around October 2011.
My mentor on Anime Vice is one of the best wiki editors. Unlike college, I had more than one mentor as I progressed.
My first partner in college who share many of my general courses was a young female student of a closely related major. We struggled through our bottleneck classes and work together on our studies to grasp and master the concept. As we progressed, I noticed that we will be not in the same classes due to our major and that we have a different calling in life. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we remained in close contact.
Compared to Anime Vice, I observed a female user, Annabanana, adding lots of images to the Fairy Tail pages. In December, I had the guts to ask Anna if we could work together on Fairy Tail. Anna accepted me. It marked the beginning of a strong partnership in my first year of Anime Vice.
Both my friend and Anna are one of the great people that I'm glad to have met them and worked with them.
Remembering what my teachers told me that no one, in heaven or hell, can graduate college without a group of friends, I had to find someone to work with. Each semester, I had a different friends, but we remain close despite everyone is dropping and changing majors. It's hard, but we all need to find something that we're good at and can make a living at it as well.
In Anime Vice, most wiki editors were independent and work alone. I was the lucky one because I joined a team that did so much work on the Fairy Tail bounties in April 2011 (set by Ethan). In June 2011, I had made a new partnership with a young user who had a great reputation in the forums and the bounty tasks, Fire_Star. We set out working on Rave Master in June and finished the whole anime project in July 2011. During the summer, FoxxFireArt releases the bounty tasks for Fairy Tail, and my group and I finished them quickly.
During the Fall of 2011, I am a part of two teams who are working on Sket Dance and Beelzebub and still a partner to Anna in the Fairy Tail series.
See Fall Semester Blog
As I become a 3rd year in college, I joined my old freshmen program and became a mentor to help the incoming freshmen. I remember the struggles that my friends and I have faced. I want to be there to help the new generation as a role model.
In Anime Vice, I had new users ask me various questions when I became one of the top wiki editors in June. My role changed when I actively follow new wiki editors and tell them that they can ask me or my team for help with wiki editing. I had a few users who asked me lots of questions which made my day. Plus, I looked at their wiki submissions and give them tips on how to format their page according to the wiki style.
Both my peer mentor and wiki mentor roles are community service. From going alone to achieve a goal, I have become a mentor who help others to achieve their goal. This is the snowball effect where one person gives back to the community and more people get help and returns the favor back.
This is my story.
Added links to Team W.I.K.I. Nation and links to the fall semester's blog
Here is part 2 of the ASFF "It's all in the details" special. I've got seven more small aspects about anime schools to touch upon.
8th Classes labeled 1-A, 2-C - Fact, but actually probably the lesser used of the two main options: You totally do get the class labeling starting with their grade year (1st, 2nd or 3rd grade) and class (A, B, 1, 2 class) however, and this is such a minor thing it's probably not even worth pointing out buy you'll normally see 1-1, 2-3 more than you'll see 1-A, 2-C. Yeah super small though this is another one that's true.
9th Crazy summer homework! Ahh! - Fact: I don't know about you guys, but the most summer homework I ever got was to read two books. Japanese students on the other hand will get summer homework in all subjects and it's not just one worksheet, it's a handout of multiple things. Typically just you're basic answering questions worksheet (all be it many of them), but sometimes more then just that, like perhaps writing an English speech as a good example. So when you see an anime character panicking because school begins in 2 days and they haven't started their homework, well they have good reason to panic because they are screwed!
10th The sports field is one giant dirt ground - Fact: Unlike most American schools Japanese schools don't have the luxury of multiple sports fields or well... grass for that matter. The majority of schools, mainly JHS, will just have one large all dirt ground that is the field for baseball, softball, soccer, track and any other outside sport and also is where PE takes place. So there's an always rotating schedule for the clubs and they switch who uses the ground. HS are typically a bit better equipped and you'll see more specific, all be it smaller, practice fields.
11th Punishing students by kicking them out of class - Fiction: Perhaps back in the old days this was common place, but now a days no. It would take the most extreme of circumstances for a student to be taken out of class. And just as a side point about Japanese schools, teachers have virtually no power to discipline students, perhaps back 20 some odd years ago when the more traditional Japanese values were still lingering around and people would fall in line better the way the Japanese school system functions worked, but now a days it doesn't work quite as well and there's really nothing the teachers can do to punish students who are being bad like, perhaps, kicking them out of class.
12th The nurses room is a place students, maybe not the best students, go to rest and hang out - Fact: The nurses room typically is a bigger room with about 2 beds in it and the nurse is normally the cool, kind, friendly, caring staff member who will help students and so students who aren't so serious about studies will sometimes just go and hangout with the nurse and perhaps just take a nap by making up some excuse for not feeling well. Though the nurse typically doesn't want this to happen they will sometimes depending on the situation let it slide.
13th Elementary school kids where those bright hats and weird square shaped back packs - Fact: So while almost all elementary schools don't have uniforms most will have some brightly colored, rain hat looking, hat that can look different from school to school that the kids can wear. They don't always, don't have to and not all have them, but they are certainly a very real thing that you do see. Also those weird, square shaped back packs are real and CRAZY expensive! We are talking hundreds of dollars expensive, but for some reason they've become so ubiquitous that it's almost like the kids have to have them. Not everyone will and it's pretty much more exclusive to younger kids, but like with the hats a very real thing.
14th Student pocket ID card / mini-book thing - Fact: So those little pocket books with their ID in them are very much real. Each schools has one and inside you'll find the students information, a list of school rules, a yearly planner / calendar and perhaps 1 or 2 other things. Students are suppose to carry them around all day or at the very least always bring them to school.
The typical anime school day - Fact and again probably shouldn't come off as a surprise.
The way anime shows homeroom as very important and where you spend most of your time - Fact
First was the big picture overview of the school year and now it's time to talk about the day to day schedule of the students. Is Japanese school really 8 days a week and 29 hours long?
I know I've said this many times before and in my first blog post I made a big deal about pointing out how I'm just giving a very general summery and this is in no way 100% truth for every single school. I feel that this might be where my general example covers the least amount of schools just because every school varies in so many ways and has their own style for how things work, but I'll try and give the best picture I can so you can see if school days are really how they are made out to be. I'm pretty much trying to draw the average of all the schools I know and if I can think of any extreme examples I throw those in.
So when does the day begin? 8:00? 7:00?!! Morning homeroom typically starts about 8:50... yup. When I was a high school student my first class started at 8:20 so lets just say I was a bit surprised when the very first moment of stepping into a school the very first notion of the long Japanese school days was already way off what I expected. Some clubs, even in JHS, will have morning practice a few days a week though and that typically starts around 7:45-8:00 so that I would considering an early start, but that's for just the clubs that have a few morning practices during the week.
This is a good time to mention to that homeroom is SUPER important for Japanese schools. You're homeroom is everything. Compared to America where homeroom is the 5 minutes you sit trying to finish your homework from the previous day. Homerooms in Japan are a big deal. You probably get this feeling from watching anime where homerooms do everything together, are always together, it's where you're best friends are and you might not even know students outside of your homeroom. As I said last time Japanese schools have a ton more events and basically this closeness is because you are always doing something together with your homeroom. You have a festival, or cleaning, or trip, or activity day, or school competition. Also there are a number of special classes (JHS has homeroom, moral and integrated studies to name a few) that take place on a daily basis almost. These are classes where the homeroom teacher comes up with special activities or lessons for the students. Also students stay in their homerooms almost all day and only leave for a few specific subjects. So homerooms are everything in Japan.
While touching upon homeroom lets just mention homeroom teachers. Seeing as how homerooms are so important you can probably guess that homeroom teachers are big. A completely not exaggerated way to explain them are as second parents. Especially for JHS students your homeroom teacher is a major part of your life and can have a huge effect on you. If anyone has seen Kimi Ni Todoke where the teacher is always involved with the kids it's kinda like that. I'll just give one good example of just how important. So lets say a student isn't the best kid and maybe gets in trouble with the police one day for stealing a candy bar from a store, something like that. So it's 11:00 a night, who does the policemen call first... the parent... heck no! The homeroom teacher. That's right. This may not be the case 100% of the time, but I've heard many, many cases where this is how it happens.
Ok back to the school day. I've seen schools have 4 - 45 minute classes, 6 - 50 minute classes, 4 - 90 minutes classes, but the most common schedule I see is 5 classes, either 3 or 4 before lunch and 1 or 2 after lunch that are 50 minutes long. Break time between class is 10 minutes and lunch and recess are about 15 minutes a piece. So when does school get out? 4:00? 5:00? Average day maybe homeroom ends about 3:30. Ok so when I was in high school it started at 8:20 and finished at 2:45, had 8 - 40 minutes classes, 5 minutes between and 30 minutes for lunch. I don't know how this stacks up for the rest of you, but my school day and a Japanese students school day are pretty close in length.
Of course though you have clubs and committees. Japanese schools LOVE committees! There's a group of students whose job it is to replace to toilet paper in the bathrooms. I'm sure they have other responsibilities, but that's all I've ever really seen them do. So after school the majority of students will attend club and if it's the day their committee meets, they will attend that meeting. The time clubs finish depends on the month pretty much. Longer summer days clubs finish maybe 6:30 (now this I can see being a really long day), shorter winter days clubs maybe finish at 5:00. After clubs the only other thing for some students would be heading off to juku if they attend.
Lastly the famous notion of Saturday school. So do all Japanese schools have Saturday classes every week? No. Most? No. Half? No. A small fraction and it normally has a special circumstance to go with it? Yes. I know one school (a high level private school) that has Saturday class every week, but it's a half day and the students also have half days on Wednesday. The other school did 2 straight months of 6 classes a week, but that was so that they could start summer vacation earlier and save election because of the earthquake. Saturday school use to be the norm, but that was phased out in the early/mid 90's. I'm honestly not too sure about exactly when it was. My guess as to why it seems many American's still believe it to be the case? When the Japanese economy has booming in the 80's, it was the norm so when America looked at Japan and had news reports on this nation that was doing extremely well people would say "hey, they are thriving, how come? They have school 6 days a week! That must be why" because that's what was reported and then when they stopped doing it no one was taking an interesting so in America no one was aware and they just kept with the notion that it's still that way.
And well that's your very basic layout of a school day.
The way you see the school year play out in anime - Fact (Probably kind of an easy one too guess though, secondary question: The way American's believe the Japanese school year plays out - I tend to lean a bit towards fiction.)
So this one is pretty long, but probably could be even longer, I tried and keep it bare bones and simple just laying out the structure of the school year touching upon the big events and commenting a bit on how that compares to some anime.
First lets start with the school year. The school day I'll try to have up later this week.
Japanese school, as you see in anime, starts in spring. More specifically early April so all of those classic shots of cherry blossom lined streets full of students walking to their new school ready to start the year is what it's like. Opening day varies a bit, but expect around April... 7th-ish give or take 3 days most likely. The first week is pretty much opening ceremonies, orientations, meetings and basic stuff that all students do at the start of school.
After that the next big event is Golden Week. It's a combination of 4 Japanese holidays: April 29th - Showa Day, May 3rd - Constitution Memorial Day, May 4th - Greenery Day, May 5th - Children's Day. This is your last big vacation for a long time so enjoy it. You'll have many people taking off days between to get an entire week long vacation.
Following Golden week it's pretty much regular days until summer vacation. You'll get some schools having sports festivals in this time period. June and July are crazy hot though so whenever you see shots of students sweating and complaining about the heat, it's totally justified.
Than it's summer vacation time. It will typically begin around the second to last week in July and goes until the end of August so you'll on average get about 5, probably 6 weeks of summer vacation. So yes it is much shorter then America and you get more homework and you still have club practice, but hey you get more free time then you would during school so it's nice. Obon week is the one week during summer vacation where virtually all school related stuff will shut down as students will travel with their family.
Typically summer vacation is also when the 3rd grade students will retire from their club. Some finish sooner, maybe mid July, but most stretch into late July and even August. For sport clubs it all depends on how good you do in your club's respective tournament. Get top 2, 4, 8 (varies for the given level of the tournament) in the city and move onto prefecture, then it's region and lastly national. This is also when the insanely famous and popular Koshien baseball tournament is. If you've seen a baseball anime or manga you probably know Koshien. It's just the name for High School's national tournament and it's popularity rivals professional baseball when it's happening. Some clubs do go beyond summer vacation for 3rd graders, but it's only a couple. The only ones I've personally seen are track, brass band, flower arrangement, chorus and art. The non-sports clubs usually go longer so they can do something special for the culture festival in the fall. So it's a sad and happy time for the 3rd grade students since clubs are such a big deal in Japan when you finally finish it's a major part of your school life coming to a close. It may seem early, that basically only 4 months into the school year clubs are over, but this is so they can focus on tests and getting ready for the next level of schooling.
Ok so summer vacation ended and now it's time to go back to school. During September, October, November and December the moments that stand out are culture festivals galore as well as 3rd grade students starting to prep for tests. Winter vacation starts up around the last week of December and lasts for roughly 2 weeks. On a personal note it's just crazy seeing how little of a deal Christmas is. I mean you could have school or work on Christmas and being from America that notion is kinda crazy. During winter vacation you'll have about a 4 day complete shut down period (like Obon during summer). It's typically December 30-31 to January 3-4 as many students will travel with their families during this time.
Now we are into the stretch run, January, February and March. This time is dominated by pretty much one thing, tests for 3rd grade students. In high school many 3rd grade students don't often even need to go to school anymore after their January final. You also do have Valentine's Day which I guess it's worth pointing out that girls do go kinda nuts over this and you'll have students bring in a giant bag filled with homemade chocolates to give out to friends. It's pretty much like you see with some girls trying to work up the courage to give some to a boy with the majority just giving them out to their friends. Other then that it's again business as usual for the 1st and 2nd graders. 3rd grade graduation will be about 2 or 3 weeks before the 1st and 2nd graders finish for the year and the school year will typically finish around March 24th-ish give or take 3 days. That leads us into the roughly 2 week spring vacation and back at the start.
So the idea that the Japanese school year is this long, unending, hard grind I personally find to be a bit of a myth. Yes you have just the 3 "big" vacations (spring 2 weeks, summer 6 weeks and winter 2 weeks), also they have club practice through their breaks, but and a big but, Japanese schools have wayyyyy more activities then American schools. There is always some event, activity, trip, game, special class period, anything really that's just happened, is happening, is going to happen or is being planned for. So in America, where the breaks are a lot longer and you have more free time, school days are just that school all day. In Japan it's broken up with so many different things that it can be more enjoyable, not to mention students can miss a ton of days and it's ok. So this long, unending grind of the Japanese school year while in some sense is true, I find to be a bit of a myth.
In this 2nd special anime school fact or fiction I’ll be talking about things that are Missing In Action from anime that are very run of the mill for real life schools. Typically when anime fans talk about anime schools they will say that either anime isn't a real depiction of Japanese life based on what they see or assume what they see is real to life, but what about all the stuff that people might not even know about. There are some things that are inaccurate because we just don't see them. So today's plan is to fill people in on some of the stuff that's MIA from school life anime. Let’s start with a basic necessity for most schools, the stove.
So most Japanese schools south of Hokkaido are a bit different, there’s no central heating and no insulation. So if it’s 30 degrees outside it’s not much warmer inside. What do schools do about this? Well in November each classroom will be equipped with a gas stove that stays there until March roughly. This is the classrooms single heat source, but it does a good job of heating everything up. For this being such a prominent feature of most classrooms during the winter time with students congregating around them I have a hard time remembering a show where you actually see them. So our first MIA is the classroom stove.
Next on the list is juku or cram school. Most people who watch anime are probably aware of this, but it seems to be left out of most shows. It’s hard to put an exact percent on how many students actually attend cram school, but it’s the vast majority. They typically go a few days during the week for a couple hours at a time. For something that is such an engrained part of the Japanese school experience it seems odd that cram school is pretty much left out. It’s probably easy to guess why with each episode having only a limited amount of time why bother putting a part about cram school in, though the lack of it really being mentioned seems strange. A fair number of students will actually enjoy cram school more then regular school and some will actually focus more on cram school. So despite it being ingrained into Japanese school life it just never seems to show up and makes it an easy choice for an MIA.
The 3rd topic today is more of a JHS focused event, it’s the chorus contest. With most junior high schools you have the sports festival, culture festival and chorus festival. It’s a big three, but most anime fans probably only know of the first two. In fact typically the culture festival and chorus festival for JHS are back to back events each taking up one day instead of the two day only culture festival. These are a really major event for the homerooms that work in a similar fashion to the culture festival where students vote on a song to sing and then practice for weeks. The students will gather together at an event hall near the school and have a competition with random teachers as the judges. The student’s families will even come and watch. So while it might seem like there’s a “big two” for school events, for most JHS it’s actually a “big three” and that’s why it’s the 3rd MIA.
Coming off a mainly JHS focused MIA the next will be a mainly HS focused MIA; the school lunch room. Yes, you will find a lunch room in HS in Japan. We are typically made to see students eating lunch in the classroom or perhaps the roof, but another major place that we’re not accustomed to seeing is the lunch room. The majority aren’t that big and it’s not like in America where pretty much everyone buys food and eats it there, but they are still used and simply they are a part of the schools. Why don’t we get dramatic lunch room moments, well I can’t say and that would be why it’s our 4th MIA.
Finally now it's our last anime school MIA. This is one that I feel it's easier to understand why it's never shown and that's the AET/ALT (assistant English/language teacher). They are not in every school, but many schools will have one cycle through during the year. I guess it might be difficult to voice the foreign character and make it accurate, but I don't recall ever seeing an anime that has an AET in the school. I could see it leading to good comedy so I am curious why it hasn't been tried. This leads me to make it the final anime school MIA today.
To change things a bit, I'm honestly starting to run out of ideas, haha. I probably have one, maybe two more blog ideas for this so just throwing this out. If anyone actually has something they'd like to see, please mention it. If not, I'm pleased with how this turned out and it's had a good run. Hopefully the last few will be enjoyable.
Anime's depiction of student council, going on the roof top and K-On club - If you didn't notice already from the title, Fiction.
Lets start out with student council. So in anime it seems like most student councils are portrayed as an all powerful group of students that can do as they please, make rules and disciple other students. In actuality this is fair from the truth. Now while Japanese student councils have a more meaningful role then American student councils (not to be harsh to anyone who was in one, but are more or less... pointless) they simply aren't on the level you see in anime.
They can not punish fellow students or decide on any disciplinary measures for something that is done. While they can set up some very simple, basic guidelines for students, they can not out and out make strict rules that have to be followed by the other students. The closest they can come to actually making rules is to come up with a rule or a rule change and propose it to the teachers, but the teachers have to agree to the change. In most cases as well they will often have to also be agreed upon by the student body. What they mostly seem to do is help with different events that happen during the school year. They will do an introduction ceremony for the new students, run in a sense an opening ceremony for the culture festival, host different assemblies like club introductions for the new students and things of this nature. Perhaps their most "official" moment of the year is the student councils yearly assembly where they will go over guidelines and talk about the events calendar and mention any big changes coming up. This is followed by other students asking questions, mainly why they can't do certain things, and the members of the student council trying their best to answer though most of the questions are out of their control and the teachers are the ones who would be best suited to answer them.
You do have your typical positions like President, Vice President, Secretary and the like and then also many leaders of different committees who will help out and have input on whatever committee they are in. Also they do meet often. Not everyday, but multiple days a week they will have meetings.
So when it comes to the student council it does do more then what you'd see in America, but no where near as powerful as you see in anime.
Now onto the next random bit and that would be going on the rooftop. I honestly think it would be difficult to find an anime that is set in school and doesn't have at least one scene take place on the roof. My question is how is this possible. I have never been to a school that doesn't have the roof locked at all times. Only twice have I ever seen a student on the roof. Once was for a year book picture where the homeroom got special permission to take a class picture on it and the other being when the bad students broke the window and hid up their during the sports festival. I'm guessing rooftop scenes make for good drama, but I've never once even heard of a open roof where students can go, eat lunch, relax or whatever. So this is pretty much just straight up fiction.
The last random fiction of the day is basically based on one anime in particular, but I guess also will get its influence from others and that being K-On is a small, niche, unpopular club. So pretty much in the K-On! anime the club is struggling to survive and in pretty much every other anime I've seen the K-On club never even seems to get background filler. Beck mentioned a light guitar club, but it seems like K-On is almost unheard of except for one anime that makes it out to be unpopular. Well if it isn't the most popular club you'll find now in high schools it's easily among the top of the list as well as one of the most rapidly growing along with the dance club. That's another thing, how have we not gotten a dance club anime? Oh well. When it comes to the K-On club it's just huge now. Students are lucky to get 15 minutes of practice time a day in the K-On room, cultural festivals will have an entire days lineup easily filled for concerts in the gym. It's just huge. So perhaps not the biggest "is that true" thing about anime, but a minor random one that seems much more fiction than fact.
Anime’s take on culture and sport festivals – Fact, and perhaps what I'd consider the most accurate depiction of all.
So as most people who watch anime know the culture and sport festival are two of the biggest school events during the entire year and what you see portrayed in anime is about as true to life as you’ll get.
First the culture festival, this is probably THE big event of the school year. They typically seem to take place in September or October, but can be as early as June or as late as November. High level schools seem to have them earlier, like before summer vacation, that way students can focus on studying during the second half of the year. Students will start getting ready 3 months in advance sometimes. Like you see in many shows it all starts with a student voting process. You’ll have the class leaders and culture festival leaders come to the front of class and then it’s a democratic process of nominating ideas and voting for what students want to do. That is followed by deciding who will do what job for their given activity. Then that is followed by roughly 2 months of preparation. Of course it’s not every student working every single day, but you’ll have students working on and off on given days. Since different students will have different jobs some students might only have a week of work at the very beginning or need to work a couple days tops depending on their specific job.
Just like you’ve seen in shows like Haruhi Suzumiya, Kimi ni Todoke and Azumanga Daioh you’ll see students dressed up in all kinds of crazy costumes, performing live concerts, cooking food, doing maid cafes and ghost houses and all sorts of other random stuff. Clubs will normally put something together. If it’s a club such as art, dance or calligraphy then it’s pretty obvious what they will put together, but the sports clubs might put on a little show depending. They will last for two days and be open to the public at least for one of the days so it’s also a chance for the school to make back some of the money it lost paying for all the stuff that went into making everything. When all is finished the students will have a big clean up day followed by a day off from school to relax. One area where perhaps anime is a bit misleading is the post culture festival party because it makes it seem virtually all schools have some big bonfire party. From personal experience the post culture festival party seems to be the exception and not the norm. I personally have never witnessed a bonfire, not to say it doesn't happen though. I have seen fireworks though happen afterwards and some K-On concerts or contests.
For 3rd grade students (JHS and HS go by 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade) this is most likely their last big event of their school life and after the festival it’s pretty much preparing for college so it’s a joyous and a little bit of a sad time. Perhaps not as well known, but colleges will also have culture festivals and at these they will serve beer and other liquor.
I might be willing to say that the culture festival is the single most accurately portrayed thing about school that you will see in anime.
As far as the sports festivals go it’s pretty much the same deal just with less prep, it’s only one day and more students don’t enjoy it. It starts the same as the culture festival, where as you see in anime the leaders will come to the front and the students have to decide who will run what event. This is a bit less democratic and a bit more “you run the long race”, “you should do the relay”. If you’re in a sports club expect to be busy. There is some prep work for the sports festival, like making a class banner, perhaps headbands and a few practice days so students know exactly how the events will be organized on the day of. If there is a more special competition like a dance, then the practice will be a bit more intense. Then on the day of it’s pretty much just a lot of running and games.
You will typically have so kind of teams, these can be broken up in any number of different ways from just all the first grade classes against each other, all the second grade classes against each other and so on. Also you could have classes 1-1, 2-1 and 3-1 as a team vs classes 1-2, 2-2 and 3-2 and so on. Less common, but you'll also perhaps see teams based on birthdays, whether it be months or seasons. These teams will be signified by a different color. The most common though is some form or another of different grouping of classes or just individual classes facing each other.
This again is another pretty much spot on depiction. Perhaps the one thing anime doesn’t do enough of is show the other events. There’s a lot more to sports festivals then just running. You’ll have botaoshi, a game where you get on people's shoulders and knock off other people's hats, jumping rope, dance, obstacle courses, tug o war, a pta event. These events normally don’t seem to get much screen time, but they certainly are just as big of a part of the day as the basic races.
So in closing if you’ve watched a school life anime you have a decent enough idea of exactly what a culture and sports festival are.
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