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Understanding Your School Calendar

Every school has an annual calendar. This is distributed in April (the beginning of Japan’s academic year) and covers the school year from April to March.

If you do not already have a copy of this, you should ask for it. Bear in mind that it is considered a plan, and is not always up to date. You may receive monthly calendars with a more precise and accurate plan. In fact, at the bottom of each month on the annual calendar, there may be a list of events without exact dates.

The calendar (and updates) may be left on your desk or in your mailbox. If you don’t receive a copy automatically, ask your supervisor for one.

The information below is small, but you can copy and paste the kanji into a word processor to get a better look at it.

Calendar Organization

年 (ねん) Year


Heisei Refers to the reign of the current Emperor Akihito: 平成29年= 2017, 平成30年= 2018, etc.
平成28年度 Academic Year 28 Schools change the “academic year” in April, not January! へいせい28ねんど (heisei 28-nen do),

the Academic Year from April 2016 – March 2017.

平成29年度 Academic Year 29 へいせい29ねんど (heisei 29-nen do), the Academic Year from April 2017 – March 2018.



Spring はる  (haru)
Summer なつ  (natsu)
Fall あき  (aki)
Winter ふゆ  (fuyu)



Rest きゅう (kyuu)
Holiday しゅく (shuku)
代休 Daikyuu A holiday given in lieu of another working day – for example, if you come in on Saturday for the culture festival, you may have Daikyuu on the following Monday. だいきゅう (daikyuu)
振替休日 Substitute Holiday Another word for “Daikyuu,” same as above. ふりかえ きゅうじつ (furikae kyuujitsu)
年休 Annual Paid Leave Otherwise known as “vacation time.” In Fukuoka Prefecture, you should get 20 days of paid leave per year. If you don’t use all of it within the year, you can carry a designated number of days into the next year. ねんきゅう (nenkyuu)
病休 Sick Leave When teachers in Japan get a cold, they often wear a mask and come to school anyway. If they stay home, they often use their paid leave (年休, nenkyuu). They tend to use sick leave only for serious illnesses. You can receive sick leave, but clarify your school’s procedure for sick leave in advance. You may have to pay for a certificate from a doctor. びょうきゅう (byoukyuu)
特休 Special Leave This is generally granted at the Vice Principal’s discretion. It can be paid or unpaid leave and is used in any special circumstance. とっきゅう (tokyuu)




Month がつ (gatsu)
一月 or 1月 January いちがつ (ichigatsu)
二月or 2月 February にがつ (nigatsu)
三月 or 3月 March さんがつ (sangatsu)
四月 or 4月 April しがつ (shigatsu)
五月 or 5月 May ごがつ (gogatsu)
六月 or 6月 June ろくがつ (rokugatsu)
七月 or 7月 July しちがつ (shichigatsu)
八月 or 8月 August はちがつ (hachigatsu)
九月 or 9月 September くがつ (kugatsu)
十月 or 10月 October じゅうがつ (jyuugatsu)
十一月 or 11月 November じゅういちがつ (jyuuichigatsu)
十二月 or 12月 December じゅうにがつ (jyuunigatsu)


Days of the Week

~曜日 Days of the Week ~ようび
月曜日 Monday げつようび
火曜日 Tuesday かようび
水曜日 Wednesday すいようび
木曜日 Thursday もくようび
金曜日 Friday きんようび
土曜日 Saturday どようび
日曜日 Sunday にちようび


School Words

第_学期 Semester Example:
第1学期  “1st semester”
だい#がっき (dai # gakki)

だいいちがっき (dai ichi gakki)

1限 = 1st Period
げん (gen)
いちげん (ichi gen)
限目 Period
1限目 = 1st Period
げんめ (genme)
いちげんめ (ichi genme)
時間目 Period
1時間目 = 1st Period
じかんめ (jikanme)
いちじかんめ (ichi jikanme)



生徒 Students せいと
1年生 First-Year いちねんせい (ichi nensei)
2年生 Second-Year にねんせい
(ni nensei)
3年生 Third-Year さんねんせい (san nensei)
Homeroom class
“1年2組” is “1st year class 2” (or “section 2”)
くみ (kumi)

いちねんにぐみ (ichi nen ni gumi)

~学年 “~ Grade”
Used when grouping students and/or faculty by the grade of the students
Usually used in terms of 1学年 (first years, students and/or teachers), 2学年 (second years), or 3学年 (third years).
生徒会 Student Council せいとかい


Teachers and Staff

先生 Teacher せんせい
教職員 Faculty
教 means “to teach.”
職員 means employee, or worker.
Combined, this means “faculty.”
Note: This is where 教職員住宅, “kyoshokuin jutaku” (teachers’ housing), comes from!
きょうしょくいん (kyoushokuin)
職員 Faculty
Within schools, 教職員 is often abbreviated as 職員
事務 Office work
Clerical work of or relating to the office.



Room しつ (shitsu)
職員室 Teachers’ Room or Faculty Room しょくいんしつ (shokuinshitsu)
事務室 Office Room じむしつ (jimushitsu)
校長室 Principal’s Room (aka Principal’s Office) こうちょうしつ (kouchoushitsu)
Hall or Building かん (kan)
体育館 Gymnasium たいいくかん (taiikukan)
図書館 Library としょかん (toshokan)
食堂 School cafeteria (SHS) JHS and ES generally don’t have school cafeterias.

Instead, they have給食.

しょくどう (shokudou)
給食 School lunch (ES & JHS) きゅうしょく (kyuushoku)


Timetable / Schedule for Classes

授業 Class じゅぎょう (jyugyou)
平常授業 Normal Classes (no schedule change) へいじょうじゅきょう (heijyou jyugyou)
特別時間割 Special Time Table (schedule change) とくべつじかんわり (tokubetsu jikanwari)
課外 Extra Classes These can take place before school, after school, and during vacations. Kanji note: These classes are outside of “normal” classes, which is why the kanji 外 is present. This is the same 外 as 外国 (gaikoku, foreign country) and 外国人 (gaikokujin, foreigner). かがい (kagai)
土曜セミナー Saturday Seminar Classes held on Saturdays. They are usually only in the morning. どようせみなー (doyou seminaa)



考査 Exam こうさ (kousa)
試験 Test しけん (shiken)
テスト Test てすと (test)
中間考査 Midterm Exam Usually occurs twice a year, in the middle of the first and second semesters. Same as 中間試験. ちゅうかんこうさ (chuukankousa)
中間試験 Midterm Exam Usually occurs twice a year, in the middle of the first and second semesters. ちゅうかんしけん (chuukanshiken)
期末考査 Final Exam Usually occurs three times a year, at the end of the first, second, and third semesters Note that, at many Senior High Schools, in the third semester, 3rd years have their final exams in late Jan. while 1st and 2nd years have them in mid-Feb. きまつこうさ (kimatsukousa)
期末試験 Final Exam Same as above. きまつしけん (kimatsushiken)
課題テスト Review Test After vacations, students are tested on the material they were assigned over vacation. かだいてすと (kadai test)


JHS Calendar:  SHS Entrance Exams

Enter にゅう (nyuu)
入学試験(入試) Entrance Exam (Abbreviation) にゅうがく しけん (にゅうし)

(nyuugaku shiken) (nyuushi)

公立高校入試 Public HS Entrance Exam こうりつ こうこう にゅうし (kouritsu koukou nyuushi)
私立高校入試 Private HS Entrance Exam しりつ こうこう にゅうし (shiritsu koukou nyuushi)


SHS Calendar:  SHS Entrance Exams

中学生体験入学 Open School Day for JHS students to visit and experience life and classes at your SHS. Usually held in October. ちゅうがくせいたいけんにゅうがく (chuugakusei taiken nyuugaku)
推薦入試 Special Entrance Exam Entrance exam for JHS students recommended by their schools as a good match for your SHS. Held in February. Usually consists of an interview and an essay. すいせんにゅうし

(suisen nyuushi)

学力検査 Standard Entrance Exam Entrance exam for all JHS students who want admission to your SHS but haven’t been recommended. Held in March. Consists of subject tests in Japanese, English, Math, etc. がくりょくけんさ

(gakuryoku kensa)

個性重視の特別試験 Interview Interview following 学力検査.

Not every school holds this interview.

こせいじゅうしの とくべつしけん

(kosei jyuushi no tokubetsu shiken)

転編入考査 Transfer Students’ Applications てんへんにゅうこうさ

(tenhen nyuukousa)

転入考査 Transfer Students’ Applications てんにゅうこうさ (tennyuukousa)



College Entrance Exams

模擬試験 Mock Exam A practice exam to prepare for college entrance exams. There are two types of mock tests. One is to prepare for the Center Test. The other is to prepare for college entrance exams. もぎしけん (mogishiken)
大学入試センター試験 Center Test Third-years take this test in Jan. Some private colleges do look at these test scores, but for the most part, this test is used to help the student decide what their level is and what colleges they are likely to be accepted to. Often abbreviated to exclude the first four Kanji. だいがく にゅうし せんたー しけん

(daigaku nyuushi center shiken)

二次試験 College Entrance Exam にじしけん (nijishiken)
後期試験 College Entrance Exam こうきしけん (koukishiken)




Note: 全 means “All”
校 means “School”
朝 means “Morning”
礼 means “Assembly”

All School Morning Assembly Generally, this assembly occurs on the first school day of every month. It will probably take place in the gym and will involve many speeches and maybe even an awards ceremony. On this day, chances are all classes will be shortened. ぜんこうちょうれい (zenkouchourei)
Ceremony Anything ending with this kanji is a ceremony. しき (shiki)
入学式 Entrance Ceremony Occurs in April to welcome to new students to the school. にゅうがくしき (nyuugakushiki)
始業式 Opening Ceremony Occurs at the start of every semester. Note: 始 means “to start.” しぎょうしき (shigyoushiki)
終業式 Closing Ceremony Occurs at the end of every semester. Note: 終 means “to finish.” しゅうぎょうしき (shuugyoushiki)
卒業式 Graduation Ceremony Usually March 1. For SHS, graduating third-years only come to school once a week in Feb. and graduate on March 1, even though first- and second-year students have classes through mid-March. そつぎょうしき (sotsugyoushiki)



Meeting A meeting, assembly, gathering, or group. Anything with this kanji is probably some sort of meeting group or party. かい (kai)
会議 Staff Meeting Not an all-school-staff meeting, sometimes just for specific departments or other affiliation. かいぎ (kaigi)
職員会議 Faculty meeting An all-school-staff meeting. しょくいんかいぎ (shokuin kaigi)
学年分会 Class Year Meeting Teachers meet according to the class year they teach. がくねんぶんかい (gakunen bunkai)
学年会議 Class Year Meeting Same as above. がくねんかいぎ (gakunen kaigi)
PTA総会 PTA Observations When the PTA comes and observes classes. This day often occurs on a weekend or holiday, generally during or close to Golden Week! PTAそうかい

(PTA soukai)

生徒指導部会 Guidance Dept. Meeting せいと しどう ぶかい (seito shidou bukai)
進路説明会 Guidance Dept. Assembly しんろせつめかい (shinro setsumeikai)


Parties (“Enkais”)

忘年会 End of Year Party Usually held in Dec., one of the more important parties. ぼうねんかい (bounenkai)
退職者祝賀会 Retirement Party Held in honor of all retiring teachers, generally in March (as teachers will depart in April). Retirement is mandatory at 60. たいしょくしゃ しゅくがかい(taishokusha shukugakai)
新年会 New Year’s Party しんねんかい (shinnenkai)


Invitations and Business Trips

日時 Date and Time にちじ (nichiji)
場所 Place
Usually just the name of the place.
ばしょ (basho)
住所 Address
Usually the street address, may include all or part of the “place.”
じゅうしょ (jyuusho)
料金 Cost
Particularly for enkais.
りょうきん (ryoukin)


Schedule Changes

予行 Rehearsal For example, culture festivals, graduation ceremonies, etc… よこう (yokou)
中止 Cancelled The first Kanji is “middle” and the second is “stop.” ちゅうし (chuushi)
Open, or Start Time When listed for ceremonies, it usually means the start time. Note the difference in Kanji from “会“, though the word is said the same way. You can remember it as a man walking into the gates – the square being his face. かい (kai)
Close or Finish Time This Kanji marks when the event will stop. You can remember it as a man walking away from you. You can’t see the square, so you can’t see his face. へい (hei)
掃除 Cleaning Takes about 15 minutes at the end of every school day. そうじ (souji)
大掃除 Big Cleaning A longer cleaning, up to an hour, usually held before big events or ceremonies. Note that it is the same kanji as “cleaning,” with the kanji for “big” placed before it. おおそうじ (oosouji)


Annual Events

オリエンテーション Orientation Held in April for new students. Yes, it’s pronounced in English! That’s not an error. おりえんてーしょん

(Orientee shon)

ふれあい会宿 Camping Retreat Camping event for JHS 1st years to help new students make friends. ふれあいかいしゅく (Fureaikaishuku)
克己心育成のための宿泊体験学習 Boot Camp Usually held in April or early May. This is a multi-day field trip where the main activity tends to be climbing a mountain. It is not supposed to be fun and purchasing omiyage is generally not allowed (although students often have fun anyways). You might notice a change in the demeanor of your first years after this trip. こっきしんいくせい のための しゅくはく たいけん がくしゅう (Kokkishinikusei notameno shukuhaku taiken gakushuu)
体育祭 Sports Day (Same as below) たいいくさい (taiikusai)
運動会 Sports Day Usually occurs in either May/June or Aug./Sept. Students are divided into teams. Each team has a color. The teams compete in different sporting events. They will practice for weeks leading up to Sports Day. The class schedule will change to accommodate practices as well, typically by alternating half-day schedules for two or more weeks. It’s a big deal! うんどうかい (undoukai)
マラソン大会 Marathon SHS first- and second-years run a marathon. Third-years usually have regular classes on this day. Often held in Dec. or Jan. まらそんたいかい

(marason taikai)

クラスマッチ Class Match At Class Match, the boys play one sport and the girls play another. Each homeroom is a team. Matches are held to determine which homerooms are best at the chosen sports. This event is one or two days only, and while classes will be cancelled on the days, there shouldn’t be any practices or schedule changes before. くらすまっち (kurasu macchi)
~部 Ex: 英会話部 ~ Club Anything ending with this kanji is the name of a club. The example, 英会話部 (えいかいわぶ, “eikaiwabu”), is ESS or English Club. ~ぶ (~bu)
文化部発表会 Culture Festival (Same as below) ぶんかぶはっぴょうかい (bunkabu happyoukai)
文化祭 Culture Festival Or, literally, “Culture Clubs Presentation.” Often, though not always, held in Nov. This is a cultural day where clubs make presentations of their efforts. If you have an ESS club, you may be asked (or ask) to participate. ぶんかさい (bunkasai)
修学旅行 School Trip SHS second-years usually go on a trip in winter (often in Jan., and often skiing). しゅがくりょこう (shugakuryokou)
インターンシップ Internship It’s common for SHS second-years to do week-long internships, especially if they aren’t college-bound. It’s a loan word from English. いんたーんしっぷ


職場体験 Job Experience しょくばたいけん (shokubataiken)
市郡陸上大会 City/County Track Meet しぐんりくじょうたいかい (shigun rikujyou taikai)
地区陸上大会 District-wide Track Meet ちくりくじょうたいかい (chikurikujyoutaikai)
ブロック中体連大会 Block JHS Sports Event ぶろっく ちゅうたいれん たいかい (burokku chuutairen taikai)
水泳大会 Swim Meet すいえいたいかい (suieitaikai)
中体連 地区大会 District JHS Sport Event ちゅうたいれん ちく たいかい (chuutairen chiku taikai)
中体連 県大会 Prefectural JHS Sports Event ちゅうたいれん けん たいかい (chuutairen ken taikai)
駅伝大会 Marathon Event えきでん たいかい (ekiden taikai)


Recurring Events

学力分析検査 Academic Evaluations がくりょくぶんせきけんさ(gakuryokubunsekikensa)
家庭訪問 Home Visits Teachers go to the homes of their homeroom students to speak to their parents. This is a regularly scheduled event but can also occur if there are problems or concerns. かていほうもん (kateihoumon)
三者面談 Parent Teacher Conferences Parents, teachers and students have meetings to discuss grades and behavior. さんしゃめんだん (sanshyamendan)
面談週間 One-on-One Meetings A scheduled event where homeroom teachers and students have individual meetings to check in, discuss school life, classes, etc. めんだんしゅうかん (mendanshukan)
研修 Training Workshops Training for teaching staff. Teaching staff usually attend workshops at the school. Most ALTs do not need to attend. けんしゅう (kenshuu)