It’s Raining Schoolkids!

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Teachers, don’t you wish you were riding the subways in a distant city with sixty 12-year-olds RIGHT NOW?

Yessiree, right now, every train station and airport is thronged with flocks of schoolkids, going on class trips to distant educational hot spots! Peak season for these multi-day Educational Experiences (or My Week In Hell, if you’re one of the two teachers herding thirty 15-year-olds 24/7) is late spring, so everywhere you go, you see vast crowds of 6th graders, 9th graders and 12th graders.

The kids tour together, eat together, sleep together and most hair-raisingly, ride public transportation together for three days and two nights. And if the teachers were very, very bad in a former life, rainy season will blow in early, and a wicked storm will shut down all train service for a few days, stranding them and their restive charges beside the bullet train tracks for DAYS. (This is a favorite staple of Japanese TV storm coverage. Feel the horror.)

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Persons easily lost in cities far from home must wear identifying hats.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more