Kid Questions and Answers

Learn about life in Japan directly from these students who were interviewed by Scholastic users in 1998.

Customs and Culture
Do you practice any customs in your home?

We take off our shoes when we go into the house. We don't have to take off our shoes at a restaurant. Sometimes we take them off there.

What holidays do you celebrate?
We celebrate Christmas. We don't have Halloween. On Valentine's Day women present chocolate to men in Japan. In March we have Cookie Day. Men give presents to women on that day.

What kind of music do you enjoy listening to? What are some of your favorite groups?
We like music. We like Japanese pop groups. Our favorite groups are TM Revolution, V Six, Amuro Namie. One of us likes a group called Penishiline.

What do you normally eat?

We eat rice, bread, vegetables, meat, fish, fruit, soup, and so on. Pasta and pizza are becoming popular here in Japan

What is your favorite Japanese food to eat?
I will tell you what I had for breakfast this morning. I had some white rice that was just boiled with only water. I had mixed boiled seaweed with fish meat sausages. I had milk and a fried egg too.

How many McDonald's restaurants are in your area and what does a cheeseburger cost?
We have a few McDonald's. A cheeseburger is about 1 dollar.

General Why do some of your coins have holes in them?
I do not know. But we have old coins that had a hole. People could tie coins together with strings. And the hole might reduce the amount of metal used to make the coin.

What do you do in your free time?
We have a big zoo in our town. We like dogs. We go shopping. We also like tennis, basketball, swimming, and running.

Can you write in English? Do you use pencils or paintbrushes to write?
In Japan, seventh graders begin to learn English, so it is very difficult for middle school students to write in English. Students use mechanical pencils, a lot of kinds of colorful pens, and other paintbrushes.

How many floors do you have in an average house?
Our houses are usually two floors. Some people live in a high buildings. Our school is a two-floor building and 1 three-floor building.

What kind of pets do you have in Japan?
In Japan we have some pets. We have dogs, cats, birds, fish, mice, snakes, etc.

What is the population in Tokyo?
The population of Tokyo is about 12 million.

What is Nagano like?
Nagano prefecture is surrounded by tall mountains. So we live in a nestle.

(Note: In February 1998, the Winter Olympics were held in Nagano, Japan. Athletes from around the world competed in skiing, skating, and sledding events amid the range of mountains known in the West as the Japanese Alps.)

Konichiwa! We are very excited to talk to you about the Winter Olympics and your country. Did the Olympic committee give your school free tickets for any of the events? How did they pick the children for the opening ceremonies? Will they let you out of school to see any of the events? Will you have a chance to meet any of the world's greatest athletes?
Our classmate Serina will be one of the Yukinko snow fairies for the opening and closing ceremonies. She will dance and sing with other members. She will walk with Ozeki Musashimaru, a second-rank sumo wrestler.

How do you feel about the Winter Olympics being hosted in Japan? Is this event affecting your town?
We see many people from other countries here in Nagano. Nagano has been changed for the Olympics. The first new express highway was made. And super trains are running now. We are excited to see the games.

What was the best thing about having the Olympics in your city? What was the worst thing about having the Olympics in your city?
We have a new super train from Tokyo to Nagano. We have a lot of new roads in Nagano. We have a lot of arenas left. We have to pay for keeping them.

School Life
Do you have basketball at your school? Do you have tournaments or do you play just for fun?
We are in the basketball club at our school. We practice every morning and after school.

How long is your school day?
Our school starts about 8:00 a.m. and ends about 4:00 p.m. There are about 850 students in our school.

What is your school like? How big is it? What subjects do you study?
We study nine subjects. They are Japanese, mathematics, social studies, science, music, art, physical education, homemaking, industrial arts, and English. Our school has 850 students and 54 teachers. At school, students and teachers are very friendly. I like my school very much.

Do you have Japanese characters on your computer keyboards? Also, what special events do you have going on in your school?
Thank you for asking questions. We also want to know if you have Japanese characters on your computer keyboard. We have Japanese characters on our keyboards. We have a big school festival once a year. All of the students often gather at the gym to have meetings.

What grade are you in and what do you like to do?
We are in the seventh grade. Saki likes basketball. I play kendo every day. Akiyo and Chie like volleyball.

How many days do you go to school in one year? Do you have to wear school uniforms?
We have 228 days of school this year. Yes, we have to wear school uniforms. Boys wear all black, and the girls wear navy. We also have athletic jumpers for physical education, art, home economics, and industrial arts.

What is your educational system like? What subjects are basic in your education?
A child goes to kindergarten for two or three years before entering an elementary school. There are six years for elementary school, three years for a middle school, and three more for high school. Some students go to college or university. The basic subjects in junior high are Japanese, mathematics, social studies, science, English, music, arts, physical education, home making, and industrial arts.

Sports and Leisure
What are the most popular sports in your country?
Baseball, volleyball, basketball, and tennis are the most popular sports in Japan. Japanese students also play track and field, judo, and kendo.

Do you play any traditional sports?
My friends practice kendo with bamboo swords. They sometimes wear heavy clothes and helmets with a mask to protect themselves. I play volleyball. I like watching it better than playing.

How is it in Japan? Is it cold or is it warm where you are?
Right now, it is very cold in Japan. It gets to 10 degrees!

Write about it:
Would you like your town to host the Olympics? What would you build for it? What sport would you compete in?