June 28th, Thursday:
- Wakame Udon (Udon Noodle, Chicken, Naruto Surimi, Onion, Bean Curd, Carrot, Green Onion)
- Shaped Cheese
What character is today’s cheese shaped like? The boys might like it, and we will be suprised if most people don’t know this character.
Usually, the cheese is shaped like Hello Kitty, but today it was in the shape of Ultraman, a Japanese superhero whose TV show has been running for some 30 years. As an example, one of the teachers had watched the show when he was a little boy and another teacher’s toddler son currently likes to watch it. Japan has an appreciable history of long running TV shows, probably the longest running, Mito Komon, ran for 42 years. (Seriously, think about that.)
In other news, I got to attend a meet about the overnight excusion two of my schools are planning together. I myself can recall going on such an excursion as a child, although not as a part of school, but for the community children’s choir in which I was. Thus most of my memories involve singing and sneaking off to collect lava rocks. Anyway, my students’ excusion will involve staying at a certain nature lodge and doing activities such as river rafting, a nature hike, a group-building “adventure”, and an evening movie. It also will include cooking lunch over a campfire (curry rice?), catching and then cooking fish on sticks over the campfire, the morning ceremony, and cleaning the lodge.
The history of school excursions in Japan stretches back to the start of universal education in the Meiji period. Universal education began as a broader effort to modernize and unite the many provinces of Japan into a nation-state equal to and capable of holding it’s own against those of the West. One of the slogans propagated by the government was “富国強兵” or “Rich Country, Strong Military.” Considering how capitalist imperialism was (is) largely the West’s foreign policy, you can understand why Japan would need such an goal. Thus the educational curriculum in Japan included not only western science and chinese classics, but also more practical education, such as outdoor excursions. In the autobiography of one Meiji gentleman, he describes a single day excursion. His whole class of school students walked several miles (I forget how many, but it was far) to the site, carrying any supplies they needed. They started the fire themselves, caught fish, and cooked the food they would eat and so on. I can’t remember it all, but it was really hardcore. Truly it was the sort of event that could never been done in these decadent times.