For my community involvement activity I volunteered at the muromachi jidoukan, an after-school center, where I played with children and taught English. The kids quickly took a liking to me, and everyday I would be tackled by a gaggle of them the moment I walked in.
I noticed a lot of things while working at the jidoukan. First and foremost, was the independance displayed by the students. The kids were between the ages of 6 and 9 but displayed a far greater ability to solve problems for themselves compared to American children. For example, during snack time, Japanese students are expected to set up their own tables, get their own food, and pour drinks for each other. Teachers are essentially not involved. Also, when students had a conflict with each other, they were generally expected to be able to solve it on their own. Once, a student was fighting with another student over a toy, and the student went and asked the teacher for help. Instead of resolving the fight, the teacher asked the students about how they could resolve amongst themselves.
Another time, a student destroyed a toilet. Us teachers had no clue who did it, so we had a student assembly, and one of the teachers talked about how the destruction of the toilet was a burden on everybody else. Here speech went along well with Japanese ideas of communal collectivism. In the end she asked the student to give him/herself up because they owed it to the jidoukan community as a whole. I thought this was quite interesting and different to how American teachers would have handled the situation.
In closing, I had a very interesting time working at the jidoukan. Working with Japanese kids enlightened me concerning a lot of facets of Japanese society.