I caught an article in Time the other day which presented the case against the long three-month summer vacation in the U.S., which (the article argued) was an unnecessary holdover from our agrarian past that harms America’s competitiveness in the world today. While the question of whether summer vacation is too long or not may depend on how old you are — a kid will say it’s it’s too short while a parent with four loud children might lean the other way — I’m generally of the opinion that summer vacation in the U.S. is longer than necessary, allowing students to forget most of what they learned the previous year. In contrast to the U.S., Japan’s summer break is much shorter, from mid-July through the end of August. Teachers work to ensure the nation’s children won’t become baka (stupid) by giving them homework to do, which helps them stay at least a little focused on school even while they get sand-between-the-toes at the beach. This summer homework is a common plot device in anime, including the infamous “Endless Eight” episodes of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, in which Haruhi (who is a God) wanted summer to go on forever, so it repeated 15,532 times, until Kyon finally made her finish her summer homework assignments.
Is summer vacation too long? Or is that the frazzled parent in me talking?