Web Japan > Kids Web Japan > Archives > Life > School: Otaki > Inside: Middle school

Classes at Otaki Elementary School begin at 8:55 a.m., but once a week pupils come much earlier to weed the schoolyard or shovel snow around the school. The Middle School starts 10 minutes earlier and ends 20 minutes later. Besides classes, the students are assigned to raise animals or grow vegetables. 

A Day at School (Elem) <=
Classes <=
Volleyball Club <=

Otaki Elementary and Middle School

Take this virtual tour to see what it's like to spend a day with us 

A Day at School (Middle School)

Classes at Otaki Middle School begin at 8:45 a.m., 10 minutes earlier than the elementary school. Just like the lower grades, there are four lessons in the morning followed by two in the afternoon, but classes are five minutes longer, which means that the school day lasts 30 minutes longer


A typical day for ninth graders starts with physical education (softball or soccer), followed by social studies (how the National Diet operates), English, and mathematics (quadratic equations). The afternoon is devoted to scientific experiments and biology. Classes end at 3:10, but students stick around to clean the school building.

Middle school students grow vegetables in home economics class. Among the many different vegetables raised are eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, and daikon (Japanese radishes). Sometimes, the children share their harvest with the cafeteria kitchen.


For lunch, all the pupils and teachers gather in the school's spacious cafeteria. Students sit at tables arranged by school year. Students take turns setting tables, wearing white aprons. The menu consists of daily specials and rice or bread. Today's main dish is Chinese-style rice, steamed with an assortment of meat, seafood, and vegetables, accompanied by consomme soup, salad featuring bean-starch spaghetti, and a carton of milk. "Once a month, we get to choose our own menu items. Next time I want to suggest ice cream!" one student exclaimed. 

The student union at the Otaki School is quite active. There are seven divisions, including those for administration, books, welfare, landscape gardening, and communications. All 52 middle school students are involved in the union. Several activity themes are chosen each July. One of this year's themes is volunteer activities for Bangladesh. The students are thinking of collecting aluminum cans and milk cartons, exchanging them at a recycling center for cash, and making a donation through a village doctor who has done medical work in the country.

One way in which the lifestyle of children at the Otaki School differs from that of city kids is the way they spend their time after school. Rather than attending juku (cram schools), Otaki students spend their time working up a sweat playing sports or helping grow vegetables on the family farm. The skiing season lasts from November to May, and some students spend almost every vacation day on the slopes. "The last time I ate at McDonald's was a year ago," laughs a ninth grade boy. Daily life in Otaki flows calmly and peacefully.


=>  A Day at School (Elementary School)
  Volleyball Club