Okome de Christmas Cake! (#^_^#)

December 21st, Friday:

  • Wakame Soup (Green Onion, Onion, Wakame Seaweed)
  • Sauteed Veggies and Bacon (Egg, Cabbage, Spinach, Carrot, Bacon)
  • Pine Spicy Chicken
  • Okome de Christmas Cake
  • Kcal: 800

The last school lunch of 2012 is the Christmas Menu. This year’s Christmas cake doesn’t use eggs, milk, or wheat, so those with allergies can feel safe to eat it.

Japan has whole-heartedly embraced the commercial Christmas celebration as sold by America. I can’t really approve with sickeningly sweet distortion of a holiday it has become here or there, but Japan means well. Two “Japanese” Christmas traditions are to eat chicken (ie, Kentucky fried) and cake, and you can see this reflected in this lunch menu.

Cool thing about the cake this year is it is ‘okome’ which as I have explained before means it is made with rice flour and other local ingredients. Merry Christmas!


Spicy Coconut Milk Rice

November 20th, Thursday:


  • Shoyu Ramen (Pork, Bean Sprout, Bamboo Shoot, Green Onion, Chinese Cabbage, Carrot)
  • Milk
  • Chidjimi
  • Mandarin Yogurt
  • Kcal: 775

Have your hands ever turned yellow after eating too many mandarin oranges? That comes from the pigment in the oranges. If you stop eating so many, your normal skin colour will return.

Today, we had two boys from Malaysia visit the school I went to. Because they didn’t speak Japanese and most of the teachers don’t speak English, I accompanied them to the classes as an interpreter. It was actually my first time formally serving as an interpreter and it was less difficult that I feared.

It was interesting to observe the interaction of my students/teachers with the boys. Everyone at school went out of their way to make the boys welcome, although I think there were still times when either sides were at a loss or confused about what to say/act. During the lunch break, I took them to the gymnasium to play basketball with the other students. While everyone tried to be friendly, it was over all very awkward. But at the end of the break, about 10 girls in unison together said “hello” in Malaysian to the boys. It was really touching and I felt quite proud.

Reflecting on this situation and other occasions, I think that despite what some people may say, Japanese are very interested and friendly people. (Really, I know this from my everyday experience.) But the large cultural difference between Japan and many other countries makes situations awkward or difficult. Japan should of course value and preserve their own beautiful culture. However, the reason that learning English is important is not to become perfectly fluent speakers, but to understand how to bridge that cultural gap when necessary.  cf. Nitobe Inazo.


Chicken Curry Rice

November 19th, Wednesday:


  • Chicken Curry Rice (Chicken, Potato, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Dressed Tuna with Broccoli (Broccoli, Tuna)
  • Sweet Sticks


Broccoli is an unusual vegetable in both the stalk and flower buds are eaten. It is very nutritious and has many vitamins that help prevent colds.

Dressed Broccoli is amazingly tasty. I really wonder how they make it.

At the bottom of this month’s lunch menu:

Let’s eat anything, which being picky! Five points for overcoming picky eating:

  1. First just try a single mouthful.
  2. Eat [the same things] together with everyone else
  3. Try growing your own vegetables and cooking them up.
  4. Eat seasonal foods.
  5. Become hungry [by being active] and then eat.
  • チキンカレーライス
  • 牛乳
  • ブロッコリーのツナ和え
  • おさつスティック

Midwinter Soup

November 18th, Tuesday:


  • Midwinter Soup (Kabocha Squash, Chestnut, Rice Cake, Adzuki Beans)
  • Chicken Vegetable Salad (Chicken, Wakame Seaweed, Cucumber, Cabbage, Bean Sprout, Carrot)
  • Cabbage and Mince Breaded Patty
  • Side Sliced Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 908

It is a tradition eating kabocha on Winter Solstice will help against bad luck and sickness. The kabocha we use were grown by everyone at Jukai Intermediate School.  Please enjoy it!

If you have read my “about” page, you will know that my favourite school lunch item is today’s touji shiruko (Midwinter Soup). They don’t serve it every year, so I am so happy I can eat again. Anyway, shiruko is a sweet adzuki soup with mochi in it, and on touji, kabocha is added to the soup as well. It is really quite sweet so while many girls like it, some of the boys finding it too cloying to eat. Today it was served with bread, which is a little unusual, but many of the students in my class said bread was better than rice. Eating bread with shiruko made it just like eating anpan. I don’t especially like anpan, so maybe I would have preferred rice.

The rest of school lunch was tasty too. The mince patty had a light taste of chives, which was nice and the salad was not a Western-style raw salad, but rather the Japanese-style salad consisting of blanched veggies and dressed in a white sesame sauce. Speaking of salads, I’ve finally realized that raw foods–be they meat, fish, or vegetables–and I are not meant for each other. Not only do I just not like foods raw, but they tend to upset my stomach as well.  So yeah, I was happy eating today’s Japanese-style salad.

A close up of today's Toji Shiruko. You can see some adzuki, mochi, and kabocha resting on my spoon.

A close up of today’s Toji Shiruko. You can see some adzuki, mochi, and kabocha resting on my spoon.

  • 冬至しるこ
  • 野菜とチキンのサラダ
  • キャベツ入りメンチカツ
  • よこ割りぱん
  • 牛乳

Gingerbread House

December 17th, Monday:


  • Miso Soup (Cabbage, Bean Curd)
  • Eight Treasures of Vegetables (Pork, Shrimp, Squid, Bell Pepper, Chinese Cabbage, Cloud Ear Mushroom, Bamboo Shoot, Quail’s Egg)
  • Chili Sauce Dressed Tsumamiage
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 841

Chili sauce is a sauce made by boiling down tomatoes with capsicum, salt, sugar, and vinegar etc. Also, the term chili comes from capsicum (chili peppers).

I’m very tired, I am sorry. Tsumamiage is like a meatball, but made from fishpaste, I think. Because the school lunch chili sauce isn’t too spicy, I like it. Eight Treasures has such an awesome name, but I am not a fan of that slimy Chinese texture.

Also, we made a gingerbread chocolate house today. Isn’t it awesome!!




Dressed Spinach and Tuna

December 14th, Friday:


  • Country Soup
  • Dressed Spinach and Tuna
  • Fried Perilla Chicken
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 871

There are many ways to cut vegetables such as “marugiri” and “ichougiri”. Today look closely at the different ways the vegetables are cut in today’s country soup.


Petit Chou

December 13th, Thursday:


  • Konbu Udon (Chicken, Konbu Seaweed, Naruto Surimi, Onion, Bean Curd, Carrot, Green Onion)
  • Milk
  • Mince Meat Dumpling
  • Petit Chou
  • Kcal: 830

During the cold season, Seven Spice (Shichimi Tougarashi) is a condiment which is required for noodle dishes. The flavour will warm up our bodies. It is a characteristically Japanese mixed spice.

Petit chou are mini creampuffs, Beard Papa being the most popular brand in my hometown. But I hate chou cream, especially in cream puffs. Why? you ask. They taste decent, are fairly expensive, and full of elegant French class so there are occasions when they are served to me as a treat. But the yicky milk chou cream make me terribly sick. Yet I feel obligated to eat this specially expensive treat the host so thoughtful bought for me.


Salt Broiled Rockfish

December 12th, Wednesday:


  • Chicken and Egg Bowl (Chicken, Onion, Egg, Green Onion, Shimeji Mushroom)
  • Milk
  • Miso Soup (Potato, Carrot)
  • Salt Broiled Rockfish

December 12th is “Kanji no hi (Chinese Character Day)”. The kanji for the rockfish is “目張”. Just as the kanji show, rockfish is characterized by its eyes (目) which are very big and stick out (張) in front of it.


Potato Soup

December 11th, Tuesday:


  • Potato Soup (Potato, Onion, Parsley)
  • Rice Noodle Stirfry (Bell Pepper, Rice Noodle, Pork, Shimeji Mushroom, Carrot, Bamboo Shoot)
  • Star Hamburger Steak
  • Butter Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 848

Bifun noodles are made from rice flour. The unsticky, long-grained Indica rice is used to give it its characteristic texture.


Ginger Fry

December 10th, Monday:


  • Miso Soup (Daikon Radish, Tofu, Green Onion)
  • Vegetable Ginger Stirfry (Pork, Onion, Cabbage, Carrot, Shrimp, Ginger)
  • Breaded Shrimp
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 849

Do you know what miso is made from? Miso is made from soy beans. Soy beans can be made into many foods besides miso such as natto, tofu, and shoyu.

My students were so nice to me today. Knowing I don’t like meat, they did their best to serve me only the vegetables of the Ginger Stirfry