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Amparo Bertram

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10:41 am: Campus Tour: Day 1
I took a bunch of photos of campus on Friday. I'll be posting them a bit at a time.

Today I will start with the high school faculty room.


Note the large windows in the back of the room. One of the first things that I heard teachers saying when they saw this room was, "Oh no! The students can look in the window and see what I'm eating for lunch!" It does give one the feeling of being in a fishbowl at times.

One thing I'd like to point out is that desks are arranged in clusters of 6-10. Japanese offices love desk clusters. This is not a land of cubicles. People are expected to be in groups, to maintain social bonds by chatting with their neighbors, to share announcements, and to help each other out when necessary.

My desk cluster

My desk is the cluttered one in front. The desk next to me is for the sewing teacher (the one who taught me to make yukata). The new chairs are MUCH more comfortable than the old ones.

Venturing outside the media center, one can have a nice stroll through the landscaped grounds. The campus is full of flowering trees of different types. During the faculty party last week, the principal commented that in 20 years the place will look like a forest.

The campus is made up of three main buildings arranged in an L shape, plus the gymnasium, cafeteria, media center, community service center, and sports areas.

Building 3 hosts the high school student homerooms plus a few classrooms. As you can sort of see, the main entrance is decorated with artwork. Each floor has a spacious lounge area (though don't ask me who picked the color of the chairs).

The senior homerooms are on the second floor. Outside each homeroom are student lockers. (The notion of full-body-height lockers is unheard of here.) At the front of each homeroom is a podium for the teacher and a whiteboard. The board is curved, presumably to make it easier to see. (Teachers have all been supplied with dry erase markers for the whiteboard, but I'll talk about that in a later entry.)

The rear of the room is taken up with student desks. These desks are unusual in that they are made entirely of wood. (Closeup) Each desk/chair set is adjustable for the height of the student. There is a projector affixed to the ceiling and a bulletin board at the back of the room to post announcements.

The third and fourth floors of the building are similar, with the homerooms for underclassmen. The fifth floor has generic lecture rooms, which is where most of my English classes will be held. Note that the desks in the lecture rooms are the standard metal type.

The ground floor of the building has several special classrooms. Some classrooms require that the students remove their shoes (changing into slippers) before entering. Such rooms have shoe lockers right beside the door. There is a classroom for calligraphy and a Japanese-style room for teaching traditional things such as flower arranging. There is also an art room, but I didn't get a photo of it.

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[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:April 9th, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
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My desk is the cluttered one in front.

...You don't really think that's cluttered, do you? You should have seen the avalanches we used to have at my office. (Also, I would have recognized your desk without being told, because of the Big Sight bag.)

I'm really impressed by the new school. It looks so nice!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 9th, 2007 05:41 am (UTC)
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...You don't really think that's cluttered, do you?

Well, cluttered in the sense that this is still Day 1 and I had just been assigned the desk. I'm sure I'll be able to work up some REAL clutter as the year progresses. ^_^

It looks so nice!

It's really amazing, especially compared to the old one.
[User Picture]
From:nitasee
Date:April 9th, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC)
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That high school is even nicer than my university. By far and away nicer than the high schoo I went to. Of course, it's really neat and clean...before the students arrive.

Hmm, I wonder how long it will be before the students start marking up and carving into those lovely wooden desks. Assuming that behavior is universal.

Question: what is the criteria for a classroom to require slippers versus shoes? I know you don't wear shoes in the house, but I thought they change shoes at school just in general.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 9th, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, I wonder how long it will be before the students start marking up and carving into those lovely wooden desks.

I know the students did draw on desks at the old school on occasion. The teachers were very strict about trying to stop them, though. I never saw anyone do any carving, either with knives or pens.

Question: what is the criteria for a classroom to require slippers versus shoes?

The first criterium is whether it's an area that they're trying to keep out "germs," like the cooking classroom. The room in that photo is the calligraphy classroom...I assume it's because they don't want to risk getting dirt around their calligraphy pieces. Any room with delicate flooring, such as the tatami room, require a change of shoes...tatami can only be walked upon with socks or bare feet, so even slippers are out, and a slippery floor like the gym is too dangerous in slippers or socks, so special gym shoes are in order. The rules are quite complicated.

A normal school has shoe boxes at the student entrance. Outdoor shoes outside, school shoes inside. However, a normal school is completely contained in one building (possibly excepting the gym). That doesn't work with this campus, because the students have to walk between buildings for classes.
[User Picture]
From:nitasee
Date:April 9th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
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Complicated system for sure. Thanks, I was wondering.

Hmm, and while I'm wondering, they don't do the same thing in offices do they - I mean taking off their shoes or changing shoes?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 9th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, and while I'm wondering, they don't do the same thing in offices do they - I mean taking off their shoes or changing shoes?

I don't believe so.

In a regular school, all faculty change shoes at the entrance, so people are wearing slippers/sandals/whatever in the faculty office. Not at this school, though. And I believe there is no shoe changing at a regular business office.
[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:April 10th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
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In Matsudai when we visited the post office, once the postmaster invited us to the other side of the counter, he had us change from our shoes into slippers he provided. On their side of the counter everyone wore slippers. On the client side, we just wore our shoes. Since then I've often wondered how offices worked out that custom.
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:April 9th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
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Wow, what nice facilities! Much nicer than my building at the university. ^_^

I like your desk cluster. I used to work in a setup like that in the classics library in graduate school, and I liked it. Though I like now having an office with a door I can close, too.

Thanks for sharing the pictures!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 9th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for sharing the pictures!

It gives me an excuse to use my camera. ^_^
[User Picture]
From:amnachaidh
Date:April 9th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
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As an aside - I gave this site to a friend of sapphireone's family, who will be coming to Japan shortly to teach ESL.

'Naked.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 9th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
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I hope the friend finds something of use.
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