Going to high schoolI was able to go to high school with my older brother for about the first week of my stay in Tokyo. I guess I should write here that I did not speak any Japanese at all when I arrived in Japan. I had learned the basics in a three day orientation by YFU in California. Luckily, my brother was in a sort of accelerated English class at his high school. In most high schools in Japan students spend most of the day in the same classroom with the same students. This particular "class" was supposed to be concentrating more on learning English than science and such, so I was lucky.
ClassesOne may think that it is not very exciting to sit in a classroom all day if it is impossible to understand the language spoken. Well, to tell you the truth, it was two years ago, so I don't really remember how I passed the time. I do recall passing a couple notes in class, writing some letters and rereading my journal. I was able to understand the math portion of the day because math is pretty much the same everywhere. Plus, I was a year ahead of them in math, so I had no trouble figuring out the work (I believe we did sin/cos stuff in relation to triangles one day). The most fun I had was helping the teachers teach their English lessons. All of the students in Japan learn English from junior high school through high school.
Overall impressionThe thing that struck the most about Fukagawa High School was how ordinary it was. This may seem elementary to most people, but people are basically the same all over the world. Prior to going to Japan, I had imagined that all of the Japanese schools were perfect and the students well-behavior. This was just not the case. I felt most at-home in this school where there were many book-smart students and many class clowns.
Leaving FukagawaFor reasons that still escape my comprehension, I was only allowed to attend high school with my host brother for one week. I guess the administration thought I was disrupting the classes by simply being present. This seemed odd to me considering the fact that this was Tokyo, the home of thousands of people from outside Japan. But I couldn't argue with the people in charge (I didn't speak Japanese, remember?), so I had to be on my way. But I did manage to make a number of friends in that short period of time. Some of those classmates still keep in touch with me today.