Ah, I knew I should’ve included the quote in the previous post. I was referring to this sentence on page 7: 「どの競技でもヘマをしたり、みんなからおくれたりするあたしに、ヤヤコはかなりイラついて・・・」which I originally thought meant that she was always making mistakes and making the others late (i.e. relay races at the sports festival) and Yayako got fed up with her and decided to target her for bullying. What I got from the second reading was Yayako purposely got her followers to make her make mistakes and made her late to activities. I guess I’m confused about the 「みんなから」 part because it sounds like the action is caused by everyone. Now I’m starting to lose confidence that I mistranslated it the second time which isn’t odd because I often second guess myself on tests and ultimately make mistakes because I change my answer. XD
I do get that she thinks pretty low of herself, often calling herself slow and bad at sports in general, and I can get how her own negativity could be an annoyance to Yayako and an easy target for bullying. And with being Miss Popular, Yayako can easily command others to follow her (out of fear) and turn everyone against Hanabi to show her just how weak she is.
So the teachers are actually very familiar with each and every student. Just before the start of the school year, they’ll visit each of their student’s homes so they can get an idea of who takes care of them and what their livelihoods are like. Japanese teachers are essentially another parent to their children (and in some cases, more of a parent than the parents themselves).
These teachers also pass down this information to the next homeroom teachers, even in their new schools, so that they can try to create a good balance for each class based on grades, energy level, etc. If there are students who work very well together, there tends to be no reason to separate them, especially if they work well academically. Or if there are “weaker” students or particularly those with learning disabilities but aren’t put into the proper class (because their parents want to save face by keeping them in the normal class), they tend to be put in the same class as another student they know well and/or are good friends with.
This is based on what I’ve seen at my school in the countryside. Since I have multiple schools at my current position in a more suburban location, I don’t get to to stay at one school for too long to be familiar with the inner workings of the system here, but it’s probably similar.
But as for Yayako’s case, her followers were not her real friends. They seemingly followed her because she looked popular, and she was the strongest in the group. They followed her out of fear. The teachers at their ES were probably aware of their toxic relationship and split them off. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them even had the same idea as Hanabi and applied to a private school instead. Who could blame them? Still, it was funny to see that none of them were at her side when they moved on to JHS. If they’re at the same school, they’re probably trying to avoid her as much as possible.
Just want to point out that they’re only moving on to first year junior high school (7th grade) now which is about 3 years behind 1st year in high school. There’s another character that will be introduced later who is a high school student, so just a little clarification so it doesn’t get confusing later!
I like the sentence you pulled from the text though. I didn’t really think on that too much until I reread it. The book has a way of describing a lot of Hanabi’s feelings, not to mention the writing is so fluid that even though it can be poetic, it’s easy to decipher.