Everyday, Mai and I wake up at 6am. By 6:55, we leave the house where we then take a train to where we'll then take a bus to arrive at school at around 8am. The first few days, this was so hard to get used to, since I usually wake up around 7:30. By the time I get to school here in Japan, I'm usually already tired.
In school, I am sometimes with Mai in her usual classes. These classes are usually in Japanese, so I either just listen without participating, or will do something else on my own. Even with the language barrier, I enjoy just being in a real Japanese classroom. I get to see firsthand the differences between their school life and my own. For example, everyone has pencil cases and are always organized. During my time here, I have never seen a student ask for a pen or anything. But in AO, I know maybe two or three people who actually bring pencil cases. In majority of my classes, people don't even bring something to write with half the time.
Another thing I've noticed is how responsible the students are for their own learning. Every morning,there will be people studying in their classes. Even on the trains and buses, students are studying. When they get home, they study. I personally don't know how they manage to do it, because everyone here is always tired from working so hard. After they finish studying, they will fall asleep on the trains, buses or in class, because once they get home, they have more responsibilities to take care of. Then they need to get up early because their commute is usually very long. Many foreigners are shocked when they see how many people sleep on trains/buses, but after being here for only a few days, I can understand why they do.
When I'm not in Mai's classes, I will usually be with the other New Zealand students in a class with one of the teachers from Jishukan. What we learn in these classes is always different. For example, we have learnt about Japanese phrases, hiragana, calligraphy, Japanese games and even the Greek alphabet. Sometimes, we even just get to sleep. For me, I find these classes to be refreshing, as they are usually in English. Japanese classes make me so tired, and sometimes, I feel like I just need to hear something I can actually understand to help keep me sane.
Everyday except Wednesday and Friday, the students have club activities. Throughout my time here,I went to the basketball,tennis and badminton clubs. All of them are very serious and I felt bad for intruding into their practices. However, most of the time, they would let me and the other Aorere students that were with me do our own thing on the sidelines. Even though Japan is too hot for anyone to be doing any type of physical activity, I actually enjoyed going to club activities. And this is coming from the most un-sporty person ever.
Overall, all aspects of school life at Jishukan are great!