First off, are the bathrooms. As I mentioned earlier Japanese toilets are pretty different. In school there are about 5 Japanese toilets and one "western toilet".
As you can see at the right of the picture there is this little white....box...thing. I was a little confused about the usage of these for a little while but they are these movement activated....speakers... that make fake flushing noises as you use the bathroom...for privacy I guess.
Other differences in the bathroom are that there isn't really any soap. Unlike in the US, no one here even really uses soap for their hands at all.
Also, if you walk into the bathroom during the lunch period, there are always tons of people crowded in brushing their teeth. Everyone brings a little bag with toothpaste, a cup, and their toothbrush for after lunch.
This is just a picture of my classroom. I sometimes get to school overly early so I was able to take a picture without creeping out TOO many people.
All the windows and doors are sliding. I didn't get this in the picture but at the back of the classroom are these large cubby holes. Everyone has one where they put their books, PE uniform, etc. For the most part we stay in the same room all day and the teachers come to us. Before and after each class we stand up. There is a appointed person who has to say "kyousukete....Rei" which pretty much readies us to bow. We bow on "rei" at the beginning of the class we say "onegaishimasu" which pretty much means "please". At the end of class we bow and say "Arigatou gozaimasu" which just means "thank you". At the beginning of the day we all bow and say "Ohayou gozaimasu" (good morning) and at the end of the day we say "Sayonara" which is, of course, good bye.
In Japan, there aren't really any public trash cans so you always have to take our trash home and seperate it for recycling there. Same with school. We have 3 trash/ recycling cans (gomi-trash, cartons, and plastic I THINK, though I'm not really sure because the recycling sorting is hard to remember). We are only allowed to throw trash from food from the school store into the bins.
We also have a broom closet. At the end of every day we have "souji" which is where we all go to assigned rooms to spend 10 minutes sweeping or taking out trash. This is because Japanese schools don't have enough money for cleaning crews.
Me and my problem of getting to school too early (No one is there)
At the student entrance of the school there is an entry way that has a block of cubby holes for each class (1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-1, etc. up to 3-3). There are umbrella holders for umbrellas too. At the beginning of each day everyone has to take off their loafers on this astro-turf, step up on a ledge, switch their loafers for their slippers, and then go upstairs. Yes, we actually have 4 different types of shoes for school (slippers, loafers, inside PE shoes, and outside PE shoes) We also keep the outside PE shoes down here and the inside PE shoes in bags on hooks outside the classroom.
I don't know if I mentioned this but there are only 3 years of high school here. A kou kou ichinensei (first year high school student) is the equivalent to an American high school sophomore student. I am only 15-almost 16 but I got put into the second high school grade even though everyone there is 16-almost 17.
This is the actual student entrance that we go through to get to the cubby holes.
This is the front of my school.
Pretty much everyone rides their bikes to school except on rainy days when everyone takes the train or bus. The bike corral is separated by grade and gender. First years are in the back while third years are at the front. Girls are on the left and boys are on the right. Now, as I've probably mentioned, club is very important to high school life so people are genuinely surprised when someone is not in a club. My host mother even told me the all the good boys are in club. It seems like for boys everyone one says "Oh, he's not in a club, he seems like a slacker."
This is why I laugh when at the end of the day and see the bikes of people who stayed for club.
(For those of you who can't tell because of picture size, you are looking at....oh ho! What's that? Emptiness! Ha-ha....Oh, those boys)
Ummm off the top of my head some other differences are that boys and girls are almost completely separate. Except for a few they hardly talk. During lunch everyone is completely separate. All of the boys tend to leave for one classroom and all the girls for another. It really is pretty amazing. There are a group of sort of "rebels" at out school as I'm pretty sure there are at every Japanese school. All of the girls avoid them like the plague. Whenever I interact with them my friends look at me strangely. In fact, I'm going to talk more in depth about this in another post.