All over the world, millions of kids are being brought to school in Japanese car brands known for their safety and reliability yet unknown to many, most Japanese kids actually walk and ride trains to school by themselves!
A Japanese child’s daily commute could mean walking for several minutes and riding one or more trains just to reach their school, depending on where their live. Some could spend at least an hour in this daily commute but the most surprising thing there is that the kids are alone – even if they are still 6 years old.
This unbelievable routine was brought to social media by CBS This Morning. The host followed one boy’s routine trip to school and was quite amazed at how this kid, and many others like him, commute to school on their own.
This particular boy walks for several minutes from his house to the station each day, before hopping into a train and finding a spot among the other commuters. It was rush hour. But he still has to catch another train before he could finally reach his school.
In total, he spends an hour in his trip from his house to the school; then, another hour from his school and back to the house.
At 7 years old, the first grader certainly handles the trip like a pro – but his mom revealed that Japanese kids start this commute at 6 years old or Grade 1. By the time they start grade school, Japanese kids are expected to be on their own, memorizing the route so they could go to and from school easily.
Such would be frowned upon in many cultures – with Child Protection Services possibly charging you with neglect but in Japan, it is the norm. In fact, it would be rather strange for them if the kids are brought to school by their parents.
In short, they expect the kids to be independent even at such early ages.
What makes this work is that 1) crime rate is very low in Japan, 2) trains are always on schedule, 3) they have devices to easily track their kids, and 4) the community is expected to help the kids out and look out for their welfare.
Isn’t that amazing?