Students of School 83 in St Petersburg have the best in the world knowledge of hieroglyphs.
To hear greetings in Japanese, one does not have to visit Japan, but can attend School 83 of Vyborg District of St Petersburg. For 10 years the school has had the status of the “institution of profound learning Japanese”.
The school students are considered to have the best proficiency in Japanese in the world. The school has won the last global competition in Tokyo. Students from St. Petersburg surpassed Chinese and Americans.
Alla Shevela has the best proficiency in Japanese among senior grade students.
The girl has been awarded with a trip to Japan.
”I have been to Tokyo, Osaka, Kioto and Hiroshima and had much practice in Japanese”, Alla said.
The girl started learning Japanese when she was 14 years old - she entered School 83 when her family moved to Vyborg neighborhood of St Petersburg. She has always wanted to master Japanese. The girl could quickly keep up with her classmates: she mastered 5-year course of studying Japanese in two months!
”The family I was staying with in Japan, was not typical for this country”, says Alla. “There are two members in this family: mother and daughter. They have a three-room apartment in an apartment block. According to Russian living standards, they are rich, according to Japanese ones, they live below the average level”.
Alla believes that Japanese young people are very similar to Russian ones. Japanese girls and boys even smoke and drink beer! As for schools, almost all tuition there is fee-paid and has narrow specialization.
Methods of learning Japanese.
Students of School 83 start familiarizing themselves with Japanese in first grade by studying karaoke, origami and tea ceremonies. Every year the curriculum becomes more complicated. Classes in grammar, hieroglyphs, Japanese literature and history are introduced. There are optional studies of ikebana art, martial arts and Segi chess. Many classes are taught by Japanese coming to St. Petersburg on invitation of Russian-Japanese Yamato Foundation “XXI Century” Committee. School students perform plays in Japanese in the school theater.
Everything in Japan is different from Russia.
For six years School 83 has had the exchange program with prestigious “Aoyama Gakuin” school in Japan.
As a rule, little Japanese come to St Petersburg at the height of summer holidays for Russian schools – in July. The problem is that school year in Japan starts only in April. Russian students go to Japan in April and May.
Principal of School 83 Natalia Polyakova said that everything in Japan surprises Russian students: streets are extremely clean, there are traffic lights for the blind and deaf, the Japanese bow and thank you about every minor thing. If you were caught in rain, a passer-by will present you an umbrella. Japanese children are amazingly polite and obedient to adults.
Russian students perceived all this as positive examples. The only point which raised their objections was mandatory school uniform.