I’ve lived 34 years in Shizuoka City, and I still remember that about 20 years ago farmers’ sons had to be dragged screaming into that venerable establishment!
How times have changed since then!
Founded in 1903 (3rd year of Taisho Era), it has been rebuilt many a time and has grown into a highly respected high school in the whole Prefecture and well beyond.
There are many reasons to that and probably not the ones you would expect.
First of all, the environment is truly propitious to study with all the greenery between the buildings. I’m not talking about the 3 ha of cultivated land! By Japanese standards, it is a large school by area standards.
Although it used to be mainly a boys’ high school, the trend has completely changed with 493 girls for 231 boys!
The introduction of three new subjects in the curriculum in 1996 is probably the most notable factor behind this change: Agricultural production, that is real farming, Environment and Food Departments.
Although plenty of history is still visible within its compounds, Shizuoka Prefectural (Public) High School is resolutely modern and extremely well-equipped, even included animal husbandry!
My relation with the high school started this year when I met some of their teachers at a party. Teachers and staff on the whole are unusually warm, easy-going but firm on etiquette, smiling and most of all pro-active. Pro-active? I mean that these ladies and gents are not afraid to show everyone that they themselves are keen to learn!
I had already visited the school quite a few times when the Shizuoka Prefecture-run Agricultural Homepage, AGRIGRAPH (6 languages) sent me on a series of reports.
Now, visiting the school compounds is like exploring a farming enterprise!
Tomatoes and other vegetables.
The greenhouses might be squarer and higher bt the techniques and technology are the same!
Actually Shizuoka has 3 Prefectural High Schools, a sure sign of the times when people are getting more aware of their food and environment!
A spinach variety.
Akihime strawberries. Looking forward to another visit soon! LOL
Actually the students either take their produce back home or sell it. In the latter case, all the proceeds go to the Prefecture!
This particular vegetable bed is allotted to 41 students.
Except for one, they all work in pairs on their alotted bed with their names written on small poles in front of each culture!
Plenty of tools for plenty of students!
Don’t they look neat!
Dressed as real farmers, aren’t we!
Teachers there are happily obeyed and listened to! I never heard a misplaced word by any lecturer, a rarity in Japanese high schools!
Daikon and spinach seeds.
Would you believe that one of those two little ladies greeted me not only in English, but also in French!
Don’t forget this is green tea land, as Shizuoka Prefecture produces no less than 45% of all green tea in Japan!
What strikes most in this establishment is that almost every available space is filled with greenery and flowers, a luxury in space-cramped Japan!
I had to pay a long visit to my new friend’s, Mr. Ishida, class and school club. Mr. Ishida teaches solely the art of making bread (and some cakes)! That particular class is an elective subject. There are only 33 students (1st to 3rd year) but the learn how to make 33 different breads during the whole 3-year cursus!
The present subject was wholegrain wheat bread!
Fermented no less than 3 times!
Girls from another class who came to collect their chocolate cakes!
Shaping the small loaves for the oven.
Quite a few boys among the students!
The mini loaves coated with wholegrain flour before being baked at 210 degrees Celsius!
I went back home with half a dozen of them (plus a baguette and chocolate cake!)!
The chocolate cakes!
A sample line of the breads created by the students.
Incidentally Shizuoka Prefecture Agricultural School is famous all over Japan for taking most prizes at the Annual Japan High School National Bread Contest!
Attentive, aren’t they?
Well, this is the first of a series of articles!
Look forward to the next ones!
Shizuoka Prefecture Agricultural High School
420-0812 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Furusho, 3-1-1
Homepage: http://www.shizuoka-c.ed.jp/shizuoka-ah/ (Japanese)