Have you ever had a school friend who was not from your school or even your neighborhood when you were a elementally or junior-high school student? In Japan, most children start tutoring at other schools at around age nine. They tutor at schools two or three days a week, depending on their age. Many children also attend two days of academic classes at a tutor school, and then take a sports and/or music class for a few days a week. Because of this, they make new friends at the tutor schools, and we call them“Juku Tomo,” which means tutor buddy.
I have a very good Juku Tomo, who I met when we were 11 years old. She lived in a nearby city. We have never been to the same school, not even college, but we are still good friends. After graduating college, she got married, and I worked for a while. Now we are living in different countries- Japan and America, yet, we still keep in touch via internet. Juku Tomo has a very important place in my heart, even though we didn’t share the same experiences at school during our childhoods.