Hassaku Fresh

January 31st, Thursday:

DSCN4275

  • Yakiudon (Pork, Squid, Shrimp, Cabbage, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Scallop Dumpling
  • Hassaku Fresh
  • Kcal: 701

In winter, we can notice many types of oranges. “Hassaku” is one type. The peel is very thick, so it’s hard to remove, but the fruit is tender and very delicious.

焼うどん
牛乳
ほたてシューマイ
はっさくフレッシュ

Furano Omucurry

December 30th, Wednesday:

DSCN4274

  • Furano Omucurry (Pork, Potato, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Omelet
  • Furano Milk Julee(Acerola Julee, Pineapple, Tangerine, Peach, Nata de Coco)
  • Kcal: 941

In Hokkaido for School Lunch Week, we are having “Let’s eat local curry!” So this year we’ve had Furano Omucurry twice! For dessert, we have a jelly made of Furano milk, an original dish from Furano School Lunch Centre.

Today was an all day ski class, so I didn’t eat school lunch. But I just found out occasionally they can order school lunch even at the Board of Education! So I couldn’t eat school lunch, but at least I could take a lovely picture of it for you!

富良野オムカレーライス
牛乳
オムレツ
ふらの牛乳ジュレ

Penne Eating Contest!

December 29th, Tuesday:

DSCN4273

  • Cabbage and Ham Soup (Cabbage, Onion, Ham)
  • Penne Dressed in Meat Sauce (Penne Noodle, Pork, Onion, Carrot, Green Bean, Green Pepper)
  • Squash Croquette
  • Cocoa Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 883

Penne has a diagonally cut mouth, and since this resembles a “pen”, it is called that. The small proves on the outside of the noodle are to help hold the sauce.

Today, I think I accidentally stole Kyoto-Sensei’s lunch. He, of course, was so kind to pretend that it wasn’t so, but I still feel a bit bad about it. Today’s lunch was tasty though! Esp, I liked the western style soup. Although thinking about it, I pretty much love all soups. Penne and Squash are both pretty heavy foods, so I felt so full afterwards. One of the boys at my table today ate over two full school lunches–two milks, two rolls, two croquettes, and a ton of penne–which was amazing. Even his classmates were impressed.

キャベツとハムのスープ
ペンネのミートソースあえ
かぼちゃのコロッケ
ココアパン
牛乳

Goa’uld Salad

January 28th, Monday:

DSCN4271

  • Miso Soup (Onion, Carrot, Cabbage)
  • Spinache and Jaco Salmon Salad (Salmon, Spinach, Chinese Cabbage)
  • Japanese-style Meatball
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 694

Meat contains lots of protein which we need to build our muscles and bones. It cannot be done without to make a healthy body while we are growing. It also is useful for recovering from fatigue and preventing anemia.

I don’t really eat meat (outside of school lunch), so obviously I don’t really see its necessity in one’s diet. In fact I grew up not eating meat (pork and beef, but we ate chicken), and haven’t suffered worse for it. Actually, I am a little short for a haole person, but that is a fact which ① I am immensely grateful for and ② is probably genetic because my grandmother and aunt are both shorter than I. That said, some source of protein is important.

Something I am concerned about is the unsustainablity of the modern world’s eating habits. This includes eating so much meat, over eating in general, eating non local/out of season foods, and throwing away uneaten but still perfectly good foods.

For this reason, I feel really bad that not only did I leave half my rice uneaten as usual (for I really can’t eat that much food!) but also hardly touched my Spinach Jaco Salad, for the merely selfish reason of I hate Jaco. Now, Jaco look weird and have a strong taste, but that would not be enough of a detest them as I do. The true reason I hate Jaco–and I think this is a very good reason and one that fully justifies my reluctance to put them anywhere near my mouth–is that they look like goa’uld.

Goa’uld are lovely little parasite aliens that enter their hosts through the mouth or neck and burrow themselves into the brain. My Japanese students may be innocently unaware of these malicious creatures and therefore able to stomach mouthfuls of goa’uld like Jaco… but I cannot. The psychological strain is simply too much. And if you compare the photoes below, you too will begin to wonder how long the Japanese will remain free from the Goa’ulds parasitic control.

Goa'uld Parasite

Goa’uld Parasite

Goa'uld Babies

Goa’uld Babies

Actually, I have a theory. The Japanese started eating Jaco goa’uld babies long ago in order to develop a resistance against full grown goa’uld parasitism, and that is reason the host of the only Japanese-ish goa’uld overlord is clearly not of Japanese descent:

Goa'uld Overlord "Amaterasu"

Goa’uld Overlord “Amaterasu”

みそ汁
小松菜とジャコの鮭そぼろあえ
和風肉団子
ごはん
牛乳

School Lunch of Ancestors

January 25th, Friday:

DSCN4229

  • Miso Soup (Potato, Wakame Seaweed)
  • Sweet Salt Broiled Salmon
  • Takuan Pickle
  • Ponkan Orange
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal:667

School lunch began about 120 years ago. The menu in that time was “Riceball, Broiled Fish, and Pickles”. Today, we’ve tried to recreate that old style school lunch.

I really liked today’s lunch. It was filling without being oppressive, like most modern meals. In fact, if you cut the amount of rice and soup in half, today’s lunch would have been perfect more me. (Oh, and minus the milk, of course. Tea or soymilk instead could be nice though.) Yummy! Yummy!

That said, I think some of teachers who I ate lunch with today felt it was a little lackluster. One of them commented that it was like “hospital food”, which I take was not really a compliment…? But even if most people felt that way, I still think its very important to experience and try to understand our past and where we came from.

Bonus! I just snapped this close up of the miso soup.

Bonus! I just snapped this close up of the miso soup.

  • みそ汁
  • 鮭の甘塩焼き
  • たくあん
  • ぽんかん
  • ごはん
  • 牛乳

Okome de Apple Tart!!!

January 24th, Thursday:

DSCN4228

  • Char Siu Ramen (Char Siu, Bean Sprout, Bamboo Shoot, Carrot, Green Onion)
  • Milk
  • Xiao Long Bao
  • Okome de Apple Tart
  • Kcal: 900

From Jan. 24th to 30th is “School Lunch Week”. Let’s eat lunch considering by what people’s efforts we are able to be served the school lunch we so thoughtlessly eat every day.

Today we had the always popular Okome de Tart! It is really delicious. The name of the tart in Japanese is “okome de kokusan ringo no taruto”, which literally means “Tart made with rice and grown-in-Japan apples”.

When we first received the lunch menu for this month, I could overhear some of the teachers talking about it. One of them said it was strange that the tart’s name specified that the apples were “kokusan” ie: grown in Japan. His comment was that, of course! the apples should be grown in Japan: not imported from overseas.

But the sad truth is over half of food consumed in Japan is imported. Something surprising is this is a fairly modern development. As recently as the 1970’s Japan was food self-sufficient.  I don’t really know how this figure changes so dramatically and so fast. But I thought it was interesting the natural thought for that teacher was that “kokusan” should be a given, not a rare and special trait.

☆~お・い・し・い~☆

☆~お・い・し・い~☆

  • とんかつラーメン
  • 牛乳
  • ショーロンポー
  • お米de国産りんごのタルト

Stranger’s Dish

January 23rd, Wednesday:

DSCN4227

  • Stranger’s Dish (Pork, Egg, Onion, Green Onion, Bamboo Shoot, Shimeji Mushroom)
  • Milk
  • Miso Soup (Chinese Cabbage, Carrot, Bean Curd)
  • Sweet Wine-Dried Herring
  • Kcal: 835

Everyone, are you careful about using your chopsticks? Chopsticks (hashi) are a bridge (hashi) between ourselves and food, so using chopsticks well is fundamental to good table manners. Let’s be careful about correctly holding our chopsticks.

Today’s miso soup was really lovely. It had a mild taste with the neutral tasting cabbage and carrots, with lots of bean curd to make it taste delicious. As I’ve mentioned before, Stranger’s Dish is in contrast to Mother and Child Dish (Oyakodon) It has the same ingredients, except it uses pork instead of chicken. Pork, unlike chicken, is no “mother” to egg.

Today, I had a sort of interview test with my students. Especially at the school I went to today, the students are really very sweet, but also quite shy and don’t talk so much. So getting to talk to the students one on one in a structured setting like that was nice. But actually, such interview tests are only recently becoming common.

Japan is a land of tests. Most tests in Japan test not only material of a certain subject, but also one’s ability to study. This is because most tests use only material from a published study guide. Unlike American tests such as the GRE or SAT or FSOT, if you devote the proper amount of time to studying the study guide, there will be no surprises on such a test in Japan. Japanese tests are sometimes criticized as being unrealistic because of this, but actually, I rather prefer it. I suspect it is the only way to make a truly fair test. This Friday, I will take the Kanji Kantei, a sort of test about chinese characters. Because I studied the study guide a lot, I feel confident I will pass. Although actually, I am only taking Level 6, which is still Elementary School level. (・x ・)

  • 他人丼
  • 牛乳
  • みそ汁
  • にしんみりん干し

Brown Stew

January 22nd, Tuesday:

DSCN4226

  • Gravy Stew (Pork, Potato, Onion, Carrot)
  • Macaroni Salad (Macaroni, Cucumber, Tuna)
  • Lemon Basil Baked Chicken
  • Coppe Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 1123

Onions–with their three flavours of sweetness, spiciness, and savoriness–are a vegetable Western-style cooking cannot do without: to the point they are called the “katsuo-bushi of the West” (西洋のかつお節). They give their deliciousness to many dishes such as curry and beef stew.

I was in a “Japanese-style Western food” mood today, so I am happy that I could eat gravy stew and coppe pan today.

Today I was reflecting that it is good that (in Japan, at least) people eat much more pork than they do beef. Raising pork is better for the environment and less wasteful of resources than beef.

I don’t advocate for everyone to become vegetarian. But modern people eat far too much meat: beef, pork, and even too much chicken and fish. Really it’s gluttonous. That obesity is a problem is rather unbelievable. Here is a quote from the Swedish National Food Agency:

It is true that meat is one of our most important sources of iron and a good source of protein, but there is no need to eat as much meat as we do today, from a health perspective. On the contrary, it is beneficial to cut down on meat and meat products because that can reduce the risk of colon and rectal cancer.

  • ブラウンシチュー
  • マカロニサラダ
  • 若鶏レモンバジル焼き
  • コッペパン
  • 牛乳

Pregnant Susuhamu

January 21st, Monday:

Photo-0309

  • Pork Soup (Pork, Potato, Tofu, Carrot, Onion, Burdock)
  • Shore Simmered Soybeans (Hijiki Seaweed, Satsuma-age, Carrot, Sliced Konnyaku, String Bean, Soybean)
  • Susuhamu with Child Fritter
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 812

Burdock is a vegetable with lots of dietary fiber.  We can’t digest the dietary fiber in burdock and it passes through our body, making clean our stomach and intestines. Burdock is a master at cleaning our stomachs. 

Can I be honest with you? I am all squeamish about eating fish which still have their heads, tails, or even many bones. So the susuhamu isn’t in my picture because another teacher kindly ate my portion for me. It’s childish to be all “it looks weird, I won’t eat it”, but oh well, I’m foreigner so its okay right? But I ate all of my delicious hijiki and soybean simmer!

In my island home and in Japan too, milk is served with every school lunch and students are encouraged by teachers and posters to drink their milk, especially in elementary school. In junior high school, a lot of students no longer drink the milk, because they don’t like it or it makes them sick. However, I think due to the meat and dairy heavy diet in schools and often at home too in modern Japan, Japanese people are on a whole getting taller and taller.

Is being tall a good thing? In modern fashion magazines and the opinion of most modern people (especially in the West), yes. But this is a really new opinion in Japan. It is an opinion that has been copied blindly from the West, I feel. In fact, I would like to argue that being tall is evolutionary disadvantages for an island country like Japan.

On islands, resources are somewhat limited. Likewise, there are not many natural dangers that require a large body to fend off. So on an archipelago like Japan, being smaller in size–thus requiring less resources–is to a person’s advantage. This can be even been seen in some animal populations in Japan, such as the Honshu fox or Ryukyu deer. You might argue that being bigger has its advantages now that Japan must compete with the taller, larger Westerners. But when Europeans and Japanese men were compared at the start of the Meiji period, the Japanese were able to better run long distances, endure extreme conditions, and so on than the Europeans, and with less food and resources (cf. Hearn).

So I think we should be careful to avoid blindly copying ideas when they might not necessarily be the best depending on the situation.

  • 豚汁
  • 大豆の磯煮
  • 子持ちししゃものフリッター
  • ごはん
  • 牛乳

Miso Oden Yum! Yum!

December 18th, Friday:

DSCN4209

  • Miso Soup (Winter Mushroom, Tofu, Green Onion)
  • Curry Miso Oden (Squid Surimi, Quail Egg, Daikon, Konnyaku, Carrot)
  • Salt-Broiled Dull Mackerel
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 860

Oden is a type of simmered dish. The ingredients differ depening on the place and household, but include daikon, bamboo surimi, and boiled eggs. What do you like in your oden?

Francois Launet is a french artist whose internet name is “Goomi” (塵), whose Cthulhian art I’ve been a fan of since high school. Here is a comic of his I always bringing to mind when eating. Unfortunately, only

CthulhuRamen

 

But I really honestly do love miso oden.

みそ汁
カレー風味みそおでん
とろさば塩焼き
ごはん
牛乳