給食. Kyushoku. School lunch. Some people love it. Not me. When it’s bad, it’s very very bad, and when it’s good it’s pretty bland. Lunch time is a time I fear at school… If you are curious about what school children eat in Japan, here is a collection of photos of school lunches…
I go to five schools, but from Monday onwards only four. At the school I’m leaving on Monday, it’s a sizable school of about 500 children. At this school I go to individual classrooms and eat lunch with only a class. It is my understanding that this is the usual in Japan, that students eat in their own classrooms.
The rest of my schools have 38 – 110 kids. It’s a bit unique in Japan, but at these schools we all eat in one room. I sort of end up at the same table all the time which is nice I guess.
I pay $2.40 for lunch at my primary schools and $2.80 for lunch at my middle school. Usually the money is collected monthly which i put in a nice little envelope. So it is cheap and good value for money – after all one of my complaints about it is that it is too much food!
Some students put on aprons and masks to serve food. The actual serving changes per school and class – some the children line up with plates and go through conveyor belt style, others the servers serve up everything to the table and then the students arrive to their spot with the food already there.
I don’t get the food at all. I mean, I guess I just assumed that these would be balanced, healthy meals. They aren’t.
The base of the meal is either a bread roll or a large bowl of rice. And there is always milk. From there… it could be anything. I thought perhaps it would be meat, veges and fruit, but it could be anything… My main concern, however, is the amount of seafood. My predecessor told me that seafood is rare. I knew I shouldn’t have taken her word, as seafood is maybe every second day. I don’t like seafood at all, and because of this I look to lunch with dread…
This here is actually a good day. The shreaded cabbage is a taste I’m a bit over, and I don’t get how this carb overload is balanced, but pasta is a win for me. At the start I had trouble eating so much rice.
Another thing for me to complain about! I have never really been a fan of soups. I find them really bland. Lucky for me, soup is often a common feature in school lunches ;( However, the plus side is you can dip your bread into them. The bread is so dry that I find it really hard to eat by itself (I’m the kind of person who likes butter on my bread) but it is a bit more bearable after being dipped in the soup. On the plus side, even though there is a lot of rice with meals, I do find it to be really nice rice.
Lunch is either eaten with either a fork or chopsticks. It is always interesting to see if people eat things by picking them up whole or trying to break them apart with the utensil provided. There is never a spoon so soup is to be had by picking up the bowl. I can’t help feeling a bit rude every time I do this.
Note the shredded cabbage again. Yay!
The stuff to the top left is mochi – pounded rice, which I find waaaaaay too sweet. The middle stuff, I’m not sure what it is besides seaweed, but with this stuff I’ve gotten to the point where if I have more than a mouth full I want to throw it back up. It’s gross!! The stuff to the right are local grown vegetables. They are potato and carrot and daikon, and are actually really nice but they put on/cook them in some kind of sauce which I am not a big fan of. So it makes it a bit of a challenge to eat. There is something missing from this dish too:
Now, deep fried fish I’ll try. Grilled fish too, you know. It’s gross, but I might be able to bear it. With this, I’m not touching it with a ten foot pole… It’s some kind of fish with babies inside. And you eat the head and tail. Um… no thanks. I think only non seafood eaters can truely understand the horror of this.
An article about how schools use local grown ingredients in school lunches.
Another popular serving is the salad doused in mayonnaise. Which can either be a welcome change to a bland salad or sweetness overkill. This lunch is another one of those good lunches! Yay!
Before lunch everyone always says “Itadakimasu!” and after everyone says together “Gochisosamadeshita”. After you have finished eating you separate all the rubbish. Milk cartons are always washed and then flattered out. And then finally I can breath a sigh of relief… It’s over and I wont have to face that enormous, seafoody event for another 24 hours. Yay!
Yeah, I know. Not liking seafood… I moved to the wrong country.
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Tagsfood, Fussy Food Critic, middle school, primary school, seafood