Yep, it’s a somewhat (very) random subject to bring up.
Of all the things I could write about, I chose the school swimming pool.
Just like when I wrote about the Childhood Friend, this is just something that I noticed and then thought about how it compared to what I’d seen in anime. Seeing as this is an anime blog, I wanted to write about it.
This probably won’t be that long of a post.
It’s about school swimming pools, so there really isn’t THAT much to say!
Anyways, let’s talk school swimming pools in Japan.
Typically, the school swimming pool situation in anime goes something like this: the club we are following in a (usually) slice of life anime ends up having to clean the school swimming pool, and in return, they get to use it.
Well, it seems that idea didn’t come from nowhere.
From what I’ve gathered, at least for my two junior high schools, that situation is a possibility. Mind you, clubs here are typically much larger than only 5 or so people. Typically.
I’d like to mention though that the schools I work at are quite small. The larger of the two having only about 200 students. So my experiences might not line up with a bigger school that has more students. There’s another junior high school in the city I live in that has 500+ students, for example. And I believe they can get upwards of 1500+ in more urban areas.
From what I’ve seen at my schools though, the “clean the pool, use the pool” trope has some ground to stand on. The reason for this is that the pools… aren’t really used often. Again, from what I’ve noticed at my schools at least. And as a result, they get real dirty and scummy. Both of the pools at the schools I work at are basically green at the moment.
I don’t think they use much in terms of chemicals here for the water, if any at all (I haven’t exactly walked up to the edge and smelled the water to check!). Maybe in public pools, but the school ones seem to be more of a situation where you clean it, refill it with fresh water, use it for a day, and then leave it till next time, upon which it’ll be cleaned and refilled again.
Sort of like how the public baths here don’t have any chemicals in them (to my knowledge! I certainly never noticed anything). Instead, the baths are cleaned and the water changed typically twice per day.
It’s more work, but I think it’s much nicer to have fresh water than chemical -filled water. The public baths here for example are so much better than sitting in a hot tub back home that likely has chlorine in it.
That’s about all I really wanted to say. The way the pools are used here reflects what we see in anime, where they typically have to be cleaned before they can be used. Meaning that’s another anime trope, albeit a minor one, that is likely a reflection of the reality for many schools.
I don’t know the full deal behind the pools at my schools, like how often they are really used or who does the cleaning… mainly because it has nothing to do with my job and seems like odd questions to ask someone. I think they are only used a few times during the year, at least for gym class where the students have to swim. At one of my schools there was a swim team / club, but it seems that there isn’t anymore.
A student in one of my classes mentioned that he liked swimming, and the English teacher I was with asked him if he was a member of the swim club, before it basically shut down. He was. And that was that. So I really have no clue what happened to the swim club! There are so many small mysteries, things that there’s no purpose in me asking but I can’t help but wonder about.
I guess either there weren’t enough members, they couldn’t get a teacher to continue overseeing the club, or the school just deemed it not worth it to maintain the pool all summer for the club. Or maybe corona had something to do with the end of the club too (although the other sports clubs are still around, maybe the water makes it more dangerous), I don’t really know for sure. There WAS one though.
On another note, a lot of the students don’t like using the pool.
It’s something many of them hate.
Probably not because they don’t like swimming, although that’s a possibility for some, but I think it’s more likely that they don’t feel comfortable having to do it at school. Self-conscious and all that. I don’t blame them; my schools never had a pool when I was a kid but I probably would have felt the same at the time.
And so there’s another useless piece of information for you all regarding Japanese schools vs. what we see in anime. I found it interesting at least, so hopefully you did too.
As I said before, my experiences are probably different from larger schools. My schools are both quite small by Japanese standards. So it’s definitely possible that the school pools are just always maintained at larger schools with more students and bigger swim clubs.
I try to think up ideas for these kind of posts based on what I see at school, but if you have any specific ideas you’d like me to try and look into feel free to comment letting me know.
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.