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In Japan, do people study more often?

Study

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I have a friend from Japan that I met when they traveled her that studies every day during the week, after class.They will stay to study after class and study all afternoon into the evening and go home late, usually when it is dark. They sometimes takes breaks on weekends, but still studies a bit. They study, along with doing homework, and preparing essays and presentations which are every week apparently. And, their national exam is in 6 months. Their major is social welfare, so I'm not sure how hard that is in Japan.

In contrast I am an engineering major in America and don't study nearly as much. I could attribute that to a natural affinity towards my major. However, I was considering studying in Japan in the future. Would I have to study this much if I do study there? Is it normal for Japanese to study this much?
 

Mike Cash

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It varies. Some people study their butts off; some people never crack a book.

I know there is a long history of using "they" as a gender-less third person pronoun, but I'm not used to seeing it used so many times in such a short space. I had to go back and make sure I read correctly you're only talking about one person. Is there any special reason for not using "he" or "she"? It's all the more confusing because you were talking about a single specific case while asking us to generalize; it looked as though you were answering your own question.
 

Mikawa Ossan

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I, too, am an engineering student in USA, but at my school a great many of the students behave as your Japanese friend. The joke is that there are three things in life: school, friends, and sleep. But there's only enough time for two. Take your pick.

I am working full-time this summer and can not get over how much free time I suddenly have.

So in short, I don't think it's anything particular to Japanese. It's just a matter of your circumstances and personal situation.
 

Glenski

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Having taught in private HS and now at a science uni, and having a son on elementary school here, here's my take. If you study as an undergraduate in Japan, you will likely have 15-18 courses per week, a VERY full schedule. That is not classes (lessons) but different subjects! It gets progressively busier to third year, then tapers off. Classes in science are largely lectures with little interaction or questions from students, and your grade may be based solely on on final test or the test and a couple of reports.

Kids in elementary school to high school usually study in cram schools after school several nights per week. They may also have club activities in HS many nights per week and on weekends. Study support classes after and during school abound. All of this sucks away their lives.
 

Study

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I, too, am an engineering student in USA, but at my school a great many of the students behave as your Japanese friend. The joke is that there are three things in life: school, friends, and sleep. But there's only enough time for two. Take your pick.

I am working full-time this summer and can not get over how much free time I suddenly have.

So in short, I don't think it's anything particular to Japanese. It's just a matter of your circumstances and personal situation.
Having taught in private HS and now at a science uni, and having a son on elementary school here, here's my take. If you study as an undergraduate in Japan, you will likely have 15-18 courses per week, a VERY full schedule. That is not classes (lessons) but different subjects! It gets progressively busier to third year, then tapers off. Classes in science are largely lectures with little interaction or questions from students, and your grade may be based solely on on final test or the test and a couple of reports.

Kids in elementary school to high school usually study in cram schools after school several nights per week. They may also have club activities in HS many nights per week and on weekends. Study support classes after and during school abound. All of this sucks away their lives.
Well, for example my girlfriend is in her last year of University. Her national exam is coming up within a year, and she has graduation papers, and more, to write, along with presentations and work shops. She told me her university has one of the highest passing rates for the national exam in the country, meaning pretty much everyone passes, so I'm guessing that accounts for her huge amount of studying? I also study a bit since I am engineer, but the amount she studies makes me feel like a slacker, haha.

It varies. Some people study their butts off; some people never crack a book.

I know there is a long history of using "they" as a gender-less third person pronoun, but I'm not used to seeing it used so many times in such a short space. I had to go back and make sure I read correctly you're only talking about one person. Is there any special reason for not using "he" or "she"? It's all the more confusing because you were talking about a single specific case while asking us to generalize; it looked as though you were answering your own question.
I confused myself while writing the message because I was referring to a group of people I know. However, a lot of people I know major in social welfare in Japan (is it some kind of trend?) so I guess I should have used the plural form up there instead of just "friend"
 

Mike Cash

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The national exam your girlfriend is sitting is most likely for some professional licensure and not specifically a condition of graduating. What profession is she aiming for?
 

nice gaijin

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Throughout asia, it's taken for granted that "more studying==better student" just like "more hours in the office==better employee," quantity over quality. Students end up just sacrificing their childhood for their "job" of studying themselves to death. It's good preparation for sacrificing yourself later for the sake of the company, but it's not a very efficient approach to education.
 

Mike Cash

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Let's just keep in mind the "invisible" Japanese youths who never seem to get noticed by the Western world, which seems to think every kid in Japan grows up in a white-collar family, to university educated parents, starts cram school the instant out of the womb, and spends its entire existence struggling to get into Tokyo University.

Not all kids here go to university. Not all want to go. Not all have the grades to go. Some go to vocational school.

Not all go to academic high schools on a college-bound curriculum. Many go to commercial, industrial, agricultural, forestry, fisheries, or some other high school meant to prepare to enter the workforce. Not all the students who enter stay until they graduate.

Not all the kids even go on to high school. Some don't want to. Some don't have the grades to get into any high school, which is not part of compulsory education in Japan.

Not every kid in Japan is a whiz-kid bookworm super genius. Some are just average, so-so scholars. Some even though they tried hard and some because they didn't care to try any harder. Some are just total dumbassed ignoramuses and blissfully untroubled by it.

I am reminded of a former student who was about to graduate a national university here and told me he had always wanted to drive a truck. He knew that the only chance he would ever have in his life would be for a few months after graduation. I advised him to leave his university education off his application and not mention he planned to quit in less than six months. He got the job and had himself a nice little adventure. He had grown up in a nice neighborhood to a white-collar family, gone to nothing but good schools and been surrounded by nothing but people like himself all his life. When I saw him after he had been driving a couple months and asked him his impression of the job and his coworkers, his eyes widened to show his amazement as he said, "I never knew there were people like that in Japan!"
 

Study

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The national exam your girlfriend is sitting is most likely for some professional licensure and not specifically a condition of graduating. What profession is she aiming for?
Working in the hospital as a social worker is her desired profession. Besides the national exam, I know there is some kind of graduation essay she has to write.


Yes, I notice that they do seem to study more. Even though there are people of all kinds in every culture, ranging from the hardest workers to the slackers, I would be inclined to believe the ratio is higher in favor of hard workers compared to some other places, like America, for example.
 
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