Japanese High Schools
The school day begins at 8:30, so students may leave home as early as 6:30. While some students sleep or study during their long commute, public transportation also provides a chance for socializing with peers. Student behavior on the way to school is regulated by school policies. These policies may prohibit certain activities in public--chewing gum, consuming snacks, reading books while walking--anything that might reflect badly on the reputation of the school. Each school has a unique uniform that makes its students easily identifiable to the public. School policies often require students to stand on buses and trains, leaving seats open for other passengers in order to demonstrate consideration. In practice, however, the behavior of students tends to relax as they move farther away from school.
Once at school, the students usually enter an area full of small lockers in which they place their street shoes and don school slippers. These slippers may be color coded: pink for girls and blue for boys. Many schools have a weekly school-wide assembly. Then students assemble in their homeroom classes for the day's studies. The school day starts with classroom management tasks, such as taking attendance and making announcements. These activities usually are conducted by the students themselves on a rotating duty schedule called toban. Each homeroom has an average of 40-45 students. Students stay in their homeroom classrooms for most of the school day while the teachers move from room to room, operating out of a central teachers' room. Only for physical education, laboratory classes, or other subjects requiring special facilities do students move to different parts of the school. Between classes and at lunch time, classrooms can be noisy, lively places. Some schools may have a cafeteria, but most do not. Even in schools where a lunch is prepared and provided to the students, they usually eat together in their homeroom classrooms. In most schools, students bring a box lunch from home, almost always consisting of foods prepared by the mother in the early morning hours, such s rice, fish, eggs, vegetables, and pickles.
Japanese students spend 240 days a year at school, 60 days more then their American counterparts. Although many of those days are spent preparing for annual school festivals and events such as Culture Day, Sports Day, and school excursions, Japanese students still spend considerably more time in class than American students. Traditionally, Japanese students have attended school for half a day on Saturdays; however, the number of required Saturdays each month is decreasing as the result of Japanese educational reforms. At the end of the academic day, all students participate in o shoji, the cleaning of the school. They sweep the classrooms and the hallways, empty trash cans, clean restrooms, clean chalkboards and chalk erasers, and pick up trash from the school grounds. After o shoji, school is dismissed and most students disperse to different parts of the school for club meetings.
Relevance to Urusei Yatsura
Tomobiki High School is where most of the action takes place throughout the manga and anime series. The relationship between the students and faculty form the key plot points in many storylines.