My daughter has started junior high school, which is a big step in Japan, a kind of medium point between childhood and adult society. Junior high is when Japanese when first come into contact with the harshness of the real world, learning the importance of respectfully greeting your senpai (upperclassmen), getting used to wearing a school uniform everyday, and following many more rules than ever before. Bukatsu, or club activities, are very important in junior high, and all the clubs at my daughter's school are actively trying to recruit her, just like they do in anime. She has to choose one carefully, however, since many of the clubs like gymnastics and brass band take pride in practicing every day during summer vacation, which would make it difficult for her to go to the U.S. One reason we chose a private junior high for our daughter was our conviction that she'd have trouble getting used to school life at a standard Japanese public school, with straight-laced teachers who'd likely not understand her special situation as a haafu, possibly even yelling at her for dying her hair brown when it's her natural color. English is another reason we went with a private school, since junior high is the realm of "this is a pen" and "I am a boy" and we knew that our daughter would be bored at best, and might potentially have friction with teachers who were self-conscious about their own poor pronunciation of the language.
Junior high introduces students to some of the drearier aspects of Japanese society.