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I ran across 臨海学校{りんかいがっこう} in a manga (ときめきトゥナイト) and I'm unsure what the exact meaning is. All the online dictionaries I've checked translate it as "seaside school", which doesn't quite make sense to me. To me that means literally a school by the sea, but in the story, it seems more special since the students are taking a trip and spending a couple days there.

The teacher says this to the students:

3泊4日の臨海学校だがな

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ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%87%A8%E6%B5%B7%E5%AD%A6%E6%A0%A1 this should answer everything –  Ash May 7 at 23:27

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This is an example of where using J-E dictionaries has the potential to fail pretty spectacularly. Literally 臨海 might mean "seaside," but there is more to it than just that. 臨海学校 is a special sort of school outing wherein kids go to study for a few days by the sea in the summer, I think especially targeted at kids who live in cities or are otherwise normally unable to go to the ocean. It seems to have a real 'summer camp' type of vibe to it, with various fun outdoor events, games, activities, and general mischief, and the kids lodge together for a few days away from home. The official curriculum is listed on the Wikipedia page that Ash posted. There's a similar event called 林間学校{りんかんがっこう}, which happens in the fall and is more for woods/mountains.

I won't delve too deep into the cultural implications or what the event is like since that's more into culture and outside of the realm of language (I think), plus I'm not that familiar with it in general. But the important part to realize is that beyond the notion of a seaside school it is a more culturally loaded term. For example, if you were to say "summer camp" to a person of Western cultural origins, it would evoke a lot more than just "camping in the summer."

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Indeed it should be understood as some kind of short "summer camp" with the classroom.

On a side note using paid-for ENG-JP electronic dictionary in my case returned "seaside school" as well (strangely the french one did better for once with the better "colonies de vacances"). So I do not think that is has anything to do with the price of the dictionary. Especially since the culprit here (Jim Breen's dictionnary) has often more numerous and detailed entries than several commercial dictionaries.

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I admit that I haven't actually checked any other J-E dictionaries regarding this so I took out the free mention. I was indeed thinking of edict since its definitions, while sometimes very helpful, are often vague and nearly useless unless you already know the word. I just checked goo辞書 and it at least calls it a "seaside (summer) school." The biggest problem is probably that bilingual dictionaries seem to try to be as brief as possible. Searching a monolingual dictionary, of course, gives a perfectly adequate explanation –  ssb May 8 at 9:54

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