Archive for the ‘Education’ category

Top 10 Dream Jobs of Japanese Kindergarten and Elementary School Students, according to Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company survey

July 6, 2013

Top 10 Dream Jobs of Japanese Kindergarten and Elementary School Students, according to Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company survey

(1) Soccer Player (2) Scholar (2) Police Officer/Detective (4) Baseball Player (5) TV Star, including Anime Voice Actor (6) Astronaut (6) Restaurateur/Chef (6) Train/Bus/Car Driver (9) Doctor (10) Fire Fighter/EMT

(1) Restaurateur/Chef (2) Nurse (3) Kindergarten/Nursery School Teacher (4) Doctor (5) Florist (5) Teacher (Elementary or above) (7) Animal Husbandry/Pet Store Owner/Animal Training (8) Piano/Keyboard Teacher, Pianist (8) Police Officer/Detective (10) Designer

Dai-ichi Comment: This is the 16th year in a row Restaurateur/Chef was girls’ #1 choice. Since the Great Tohoku Earthquake, children have had much more interest in jobs related to saving lives and protecting others, such as police work and nursing.

Number in parentheses = the rank of that occupation the year before.



His Students Drugged His Lunch…He Was Forced to Work Over 150 Hours of Overtime a Month…He Committed Suicide in the Middle of Class…Government Still Rules Working Conditions Did Not Cause Teacher’s Death

April 9, 2012

His Students Drugged His Lunch…He Was Forced to Work Over 150 Hours of Overtime a Month…He Committed Suicide in the Middle of Class…Government Still Rules Working Conditions Did Not Cause Teacher’s Death
Yomiuri Shimbun: 生徒が給食に薬、残業150時間…自殺は公務外
April 9, 2012

The Miyagi Prefecture Public Employees’ Compensation Fund has ruled that the suicide of Mr. Hiroshi Ōizumi, who was a 43-year old teacher at Nakata Junior High School in Tome City when he leapt out of the school building to his death in 2008, was not a consequence of his working conditions. Mr. Ōizumi’s wife, Junko (age 47), who had filed the claim in 2009, has filed a protest of the decision with the fund’s oversight committee.

According to the prefectural teachers’ union, Mr. Ōizumi became a teacher at the school in 2006. His workplace harassment included being forced to work over 150 hours of overtime a month and students sneaking sleeping pills into his lunch. On February 7, 2008, in the middle of a rowdy class, he jumped out of the classroom’s third-story window to his death.

In 2009, Junko filed a claim with the compensation fund. This February (2012), the fund ruled that his suicide was not caused by his work.

After filing a protest, Junko held a press conference. She said, “I want them to take the value of human life seriously.”

“Foreword to Dormitory Song ‘Toward the North Star'” (1931)

March 30, 2012


“Foreword to Kagoshima  H.S. 7 Dormitory Song ‘Toward the North Star'” (1931)

A star fell and lives there:
A town where the olive grows
In the southern land we adore.
With the brevity of our three dreamlike years together
And the happiness of a bond that will never be broken,
For days of garden parties
And starry nights under the window,
With melodies of the soaring emotions of youth,
We’ve put these feelings into song for you.
Music is the mother of sad times
And the companion of joyful ones.

“What Would You Do If You Were Invisible?” An Elementary School Asked Soon-to-be-Graduates in Questionnaire for Yearbook…After Distribution, It Found Some Answers It Didn’t Appreciate

March 29, 2012

“What Would You Do If You Were Invisible?” An Elementary School Asked Soon-to-be-Graduates in Questionnaire for Yearbook…After Distribution, It Found Some Answers It Didn’t Appreciate
Yomiuri Shimbun: もし透明人間なら?小学卒業文集の不適切回答は
March 28, 2012

This month, Asahigaoka Elementary School in Seki, Gifu sent a questionnaire to its soon-to-be graduates for use in their graduation yearbook, and in response to the question “What would you want to do if you were invisible?” certain students wrote inappropriate answers like “kill people” and “steal things.”

After the yearbooks were distributed and the answers in question were discovered, the school recalled the books and altered them.

The questionnaire included six questions which were thought up by the students themselves. One of these was “What would you want to do if you were invisible?” Seven people gave inappropriate answers to this hypothetical question. On the 16th, school faculty recalled the 80 yearbooks it had distributed and put stickers with answers like “meet famous people” on top of the inappropriate responses.

School principal Ryubun Tsukahara said, “Because these graduation yearbooks are meant to create memories that last a lifetime, we checked them over and over, but we didn’t check the answers to the questionnaire. I want to take another look at how we go about checking our yearbooks.”

The King of Spain: “Some Nights I Lose Sleep Over Youth Unemployment”

March 16, 2012

I’m going to Japan tomorrow to spend a week visiting friends in the town where I taught English. Take care!

The King of Spain: “Some Nights I Lose Sleep Over Youth Unemployment”
El Pas: El Rey: “Hay noches que el paro juvenil me quita el sueño” (Original includes video clips)
Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofía lead a small public discussion
“Give me a moment to finish. She would prefer the music, but I prefer to speak a little,” joked the king

This Wednesday in Barcelona, The King and Queen of Spain presented 124 students with scholarships the La Caixa Foundation awards each year to students who want to pursue postgraduate studies abroad. During the presentation, Don Juan Carlos wanted to inspire the students to keep working. “We are in a difficult moment, but we will get out of it by moving forward, like we have before.” Later he referred to the problems the youth have finding work. “50% of youths are unemployed, and some nights I lose sleep over that.”

Don Juan Carlos also starred in the moment of the event, when he ignored protocol and started his speech ahead of schedule, in advance of the musical performance (the organization assured that this is the third year the monarch spoke before the music). It was then that the members of the protocol passed a note to Isidoro Fainé, President of La Caixa, to alert Don Juan Carlos that the event was not yet completed because the performance hadn’t occurred. Fainé passed this note to Queen Sofía, who in a low voice informed the King of his mistake. The king then blurted out, “Give me a moment to speak.” After that he joked to the audience, “As you can see, the Queen would prefer the music.” The two then laughed about having this little talk in public.

In a short speech before more than 100 youth with promising futures, the King sought to send a message of hope. “We hope that when you return [from your studies in other countries], we will have more jobs available,” the King expressed. Despite economic difficulties, Juan Carlos I said he was convinced Spain would overcome this situation. “We have had other crises before, and we got out of them,” the King said in encouragement.

La Caixa President Isidre Fainé, for his part, also spoke about the crisis and assured that although the economic situation was not easy, “there are solutions; we just have to discover them and give them life.”

In addition to the monarchs, Minister of the Interior Jorge Fernández Díaz, Economic Advisor Andreu Mas-Colell, La Caixa and La Caixa Foundation President Isidre Fainé, La Caixa Director General Joan Maria Nin, La Caixa Foundation Director General Jaume Lanaspa, and Catalonian government representative María Llanos de Luna attended the event.

The King has always presided over the presentation of the La Caixa Foundation scholarships in Barcelona, which in its 30th edition gave €8.1 million in total. A total of 124 university students from all over Spain will benefit from these scholarships, which have an average value of €65,000 per student. The greater part of the gifts were given for studies of engineering, economics, or sciences in European and U.S. universities.

10 Months After 84 Died or Disappeared at Ōgawa Elementary Following Tōhoku Earthquake, School Takes Responsibility for Emergency Response Failure, Apologizes

January 24, 2012

Ishinomaki BOE ApologyPrincipal Teruyuki Kashiwaba and Chief of Municipal Education Sakai bow their heads in apology at a noon press conference in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. Photo by Naoki Maeda.

Ishinomaki Elementary Escape Route
This graph shows the path the students and teachers took to high ground following the tsunami. They moved west, directly approaching a river and dike. There was a mountain south of their school.

10 Months After 84 Died or Disappeared at Ōgawa Elementary Following Tōhoku Earthquake, School Takes Responsibility for Emergency Response Failure, Apologizes
Yomiuri Shimbun: 84人が死亡・不明の大川小、責任認め謝罪
January 23, 2012

After holding another investigation into the response to the Great Tōhoku Earthquake at Ōgawa Elementary School (Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture), where 74 children and 10 staff went dead or missing after March 11’s earthquake and tsunami, the Ishinomaki Board of Education held its first meeting with parents on the issue in 7 months yesterday, and for the first time, it acknowledged problems with its disaster response instructions and apologized.

The roiling discontent of parents who lost their children for the school’s failure to take responsibility and insufficient explanation of what happened lead the municipal board of education to declare at a press conference after its last meeting with the parents that it would gather those with knowledge of the events and conduct another investigation.

This was the third meeting between parents and the board; the other two were in April and June. Today’s conference was held at another elementary school, and about 80 parents and guardians participated. This was the first of the conferences to be open to the press.

The chief of municipal education, Naohiko Sakai, apologized to parents in his opening statement: “We sincerely regret that children suffered at a school we managed. We should have done the utmost to ensure their safety, and we should have taught crisis response measures in the event of a tsunami.” Ōgawa Principal Teruyuki Kashiwaba then apologized as well: “This was the consequence of my incompetence as principal. We had not prepared a manual, and we did not teach our staff crisis response measures. No matter how much I apologize, I cannot be forgiven, but I will continue to apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

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Cheerleaders Quit Team en Masse to Protest Coach’s Advances; Study of Student Deaths in Judo Accidents; 50 Year TV Program Cancelled; Youths Extort Thousands of Dollars from High Schooler by Threatening Gang Assaults

January 22, 2012

Entire Class of Cheerleaders from One of Nation’s Best High School Teams Quit in Protest of Coach’s Inappropriate Advances
Yomiuri Shimbun: チア部員に監督が不適切行為、高2全員が退部届
January 17, 2012

All ten second graders on Obihiro (Hokkaido) High School’s cheerleading team quit on January 5 because of their male coach’s inappropriate behavior, it was learned on the 16th.

The school said it did not know about the case because the supervisor was not present.

According to the prefectural education department, last December 27, a parent from the school called the prefectural government to complain that the school’s assistant principal, a male and the coach of the team, was making inappropriate advances toward a member of the team, such as calling out “Let’s get married!” to her, giving her a necklace, grabbing her hand, and touching her body. The program is very strong; it has participated in the Japan Cup two years running.

The department called the coach twice to ask him about the matter. He said “it’s true that things like that happened,” and his explanation was that “in every case, it was part of a communication strategy to encourage the students, but they took it the wrong way.” The department said “the school has now heard the details of the matter, and we have told them to respond to it appropriately.”

114 Students Died Playing Judo From 1983-2010
Yomiuri Shimbun: 中高生114人、柔道で死亡していた…名大調査
January 17, 2012

Fatal accidents at school judo practices are continuing. A typical accident: a student without proper training is on the receiving end of a throw; he suffers a blow to the head; finally, he does not receive proper emergency medical care.

According to Nagoya University Associate Professor of Sociology of Education Ryō Uchida, in the 28 years from 1983-2010, 114 Japanese students (39 junior high schoolers and 75 high schoolers) died from judo accidents. Junior high schoolers and first year high schoolers together made up half the total; 14 students died during class time. In addition, accidents handicapped 275 students between 1983 to 2009, three tenths of them during class time.

Of every 100,000 students who participated in judo competitions from 2000-2009, 2.376 died, which is far higher than the second highest rate on the list, basketball’s (0.371 per 100,000). The majority of deaths were caused by impact to the head. “If the neck muscles are not yet developed, then performing free exercises, standing throws, and the like is dangerous,” Dr. Uchida warned.

“Junior High School Diary” to End 50-Year Run in March
Yomiuri Shimbun: 「中学生日記」3月で終了…1962年から放送

NHK Nagoya announced on the 18th that the March 16 episode of “Middle School Diary” will be the program’s last.

The show will be succeeded by a show about teens working to achieve their hopes and dreams called “Teens Project Fure☆Fure” [Fure has a double meaning of “proclamation/announcement” and “hooray!”] from April.

“Middle School Diary” portrayed the daily lives of Nagoya-area junior high schoolers. It debuted in 1962 as “Jirō the Middle School Student”. According to the station, interest in the program had waned for years, and its current viewership rating is only 1%.

High School Student Repeatedly Bullied into Giving Money to Former Classmate, Claims 3 Million Yen Extorted in All
Yomiuri Shimbun: 恐喝繰り返され…高校生「300万取られた」
January 18, 2012

The Aichi Police Department arrested three minors on the 18th for continuing to threaten a 17-year old male high school student after they had already bullied him into giving them ¥900,000 (~$11,700) in cash.

The student said about ¥3 million (~$39,000) was extorted from him in all. The police are performing a corroborative investigation.

According to the police report, the youths who were arrested were a construction worker and a part-time worker in Seto and a part-time worker in Owariasahi. From late July to September 1, the construction worker extorted ¥600,000 from the student by telling him things like “a motorcycle gang is aiming for you. You should pay them money to protect yourself” and “my father had to pay ¥1 million to speak to the gangsters behind the motorcycle gang (on your behalf).” After that, the other two youths joined the plot; the police suspect them of extorting ¥900,000 from the victim in all.

The young man from Owariasahi is also charged with verbally assaulting the student and punching him in the face in a Seto public park on September 4, leaving him injured for two weeks.

Two of the youths have confessed to the charges: “We went after him because his family is rich. We used the money to go out and have fun.” The Owariasahi youth admitted punching the student but denied the money was extorted, saying it was merely the repayment of a loan.

Every time the student was threatened, he took money out of the family account and handed over the cash; eventually the family realized what was happening when they made withdrawals of their own. The construction worker was acquainted with the student because he attended and then dropped out of the same high school. The two other youths were his buddies.

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