On Thursday, the Junior High School students visited to see the campus. It reminded me of when 8th graders would visit CGUHS in America. Clubs performed on the stage, including the drama club, the orchestra, and the cheerleading club (cheerleading, by the way, is very different than the American version — it has men in full uniform!). Meanwhile, I was at the sides, taking as many pictures and short videos as I possibly could!
Eventually, the clubs performed. I wish I could understand the language for the Drama Club! People would laugh — and their antics on stage were funny — but of course, I missed the punchline. And the storyline. I guessed through context what was happening. I think it was a skit about school life, specifically what was OK behavior and dress code, and what wasn’t. The best skit was the one with the runner. I think it was a storyline about brotherly or loyal behavior, or maybe about morality vs. greed (to win). Anyway, it was funny even if I didn’t understand the jokes! The slapstick humor was enough to make me chuckle!
The orchestra was very impressive. They did jazz pieces and fanfare. They sounded really good. Here is a difference from American schools — clubs are very serious about their skills, and despite the fact they are extracurricular, they are viewed like a job. The club sponsor teacher will be very busy with the club. But, oftentimes, the older members teach the younger members, so it isn’t so overwhelming for the teacher. E.-sensei told me it is a matter of pride for the more seasoned members that the new members don’t embarrass them with bad performance, and so everyone will try hard to achieve the same level of success. I don’t know if this is a thing at every Japanese high school, or just mine in particular, as mine is known as being pretty rigorous.
Finally, the cheerleaders (ōendan) took the stage. Cheerleading in high school is very different from American cheerleaders. There’s more of a focus on yelling and making a lot of noise on drums. At Fuji High School, there isn’t a female cheerleading squad, and definitely no pom-pom girls! (I have a feeling it would be considered “improper” in this strict setting of academic achievement.) However, the boys were very good, yelling enthusiastically while doing synchronized hand motions and bends. There were no jumps, no complicated dance routines, nor any pyramids. Meanwhile, in the background, a large drum beat a steady note to accompany the orchestra fanfare. It was obvious from the music the cheer was for baseball.
Afterwards, there was an intermission and then the students and families walked around the high school looking at the campus and the clubs. Meanwhile, I went back to the teacher’s lounge thinking I may need to finish some work (and missing the air conditioning). But now I kind of regret it; I wish I’d walked around instead. I’ll have to visit the clubs once school officially starts!