It is early May 2006 when I return to Abiko Minami Junior High School; the school year has just begun in April. Children run wild throughout the hallways between classes, oblivious to our presence; screams and shrieks make our conversation inaudible. Three girls are fighting at the end of the corridor where we stand. One is on the ground being beaten by two others. My instinct is to break it up but Maruyama does not interfere; rather he just smiles at me and says, “They are still being trained.” While this may be true, when the female teacher arrives, she is clearly embarrassed that we have seen such chaos, yet instead of intervening, her denunciations of them simply escalate their vigor. Finally, they relent and peel themselves off of the victim, entering the classroom with slouched shoulders and a bit disheveled. From outside the door we can hear the continued reprimands of the teacher as they laugh back in return; the scene is not all that unusual but still painful to observe. I am supposedly reassured by Maruyama that these are mostly first-year students who have not yet been oriented to the norms of the school. He then expands on the problem in revealing that there is a policy at one of the feeder elementary schools to allow their most difficult boys in the fifth and sixth grades to attend only half a day; they arrive after lunch and stay until school is out. Note that he is speaking of elementary school children, average age between ten and twelve years. Somehow receiving half of a compulsory school education while the other half is at home in front of a television or on the streets hardly seems like a sane policy. On my visit to Abiko this year, I am struck by the discrepancy in size of the children of similar age, often accentuated by the ill-fitting uniforms slung around their bodies. Some students are clearly a foot taller and sometimes wider than their peers. Maruyama informs me that parents, who are often strapped for cash, buy one uniform to last the child for all three years, resulting in excess at the beginning and shortage at the end. Having learned this, I could then spot the youngest among them, not by their physical size but rather by the way their clothes hung upon them.