One thing the schools have in common, but each do slightly differently, is something I call “パワアプタイム,” this is katakana Japanese for “power-up time.”
Power-up time is great. All the students and teachers (sometimes even the principal and vice principal) go outside and do various stretches and exercises together before running around the track for fifteen minutes.
Some schools have power-up time right at the beginning of the day, others during the mid-morning break. Some schools have it everyday, others two or three times a week. It varies.
My favorite thing about power-up time is the music. At one school, the Back to the Future theme is played followed by some genki band music.
There is teacher at Obusuma Elementary School who makes me laugh really hard almost everyday. He is always making jokes and giggling. I don’t exaggerate. He constantly surprises me with his comprehension of English. For example:
Yesterday as the students were all running out to the track to get ready for power-up time, he said to me, “It’s prison time!” As he ran in place, laughing.
I suppose he is right. Every school requires the students go outside or to the gym to exercise everyday as a group. Even in the blistering heat (they also make the students drink lots of water, too). Just like a prison.