As many of you surely know, entering elementary school is both exciting and scary. It's a time to make new friends, but kids may be unsure about how well they will do in class.
An item that all schoolkids in Japan needs as they begin school is the randoseru, a school bag for carrying things like textbooks and stationery. They are a traditional part of elementary school life in Japan. Although many manufacturers make the bags, they are mostly identical in design. The most popular color choices have long been black for boys and red for girls. But nowadays there is greater variety, and some kids have randoseru in fashionable designs or in other colors, such as green or pink.
It's common for kids' parents or grandparents to buy randoseru as gifts. Kids who will soon be first graders look forward to going to school with their brand-new randoseru on their backs. Most randoseru are made of real or artificial leather, so they are rather heavy and quite sturdy. They come in only one size, making them a bit too big for first graders! But they usually last throughout the six years of elementary school.
By the time the kids finish elementary school, the bags that once felt big and heavy will have become small for them. This gives them a real sense of how much they have grown. Recently, it has become popular to have the randoseru remade into miniatures as reminders of the fun-filled six years.