After all, kids spend a lot of their time at school. Some students are even there on weekends. Lessons are held every second Saturday, and for senior students preparing to enter university, there are sometimes lessons on Sunday, too. Tests (not the regular tests but tests for English ability and so on) as well as science fairs and ‘open school days’ are also often held on weekends. Japanese students stay back at school until 5pm (in winter) and 6pm (in summer) participating with their friends and classmates in various clubs (sports and academic). School clubs usually have their tournaments on a Saturday and sometimes on a Sunday. The schools I worked at in Australia commonly had their inter-school sports tournaments on a Friday afternoon, and there were no daily ‘school clubs’ after school.
As foreigners, of course, we are not allowed to vote in major elections, although as ‘permanent citizens’ we are permitted to vote in local elections. While we don’t have a choice about national politics, Japanese citizens are free to choose whether or not they wish to vote. This is different to Australia, where voting is compulsory and people who don’t vote get a rather considerable fine. One could say that Australia has a ‘forced democracy’ whereas Japan has a ‘free democracy’. Japan’s constitution is of course based on that of the United States of America, where voting is also an option rather than a necessity.
Wishing you all the very best.
Warmest regards, Chris