March 22nd, Friday:


  • Dumpling Egg Drop Soup (Egg, Shrimp Dumplings, Spinach, Carrot)
  • Western-Simmered Potatoes and Bacon (Potato, Bacon, Onion, Edamame)
  • Bread Chicken and Cheese
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 889

Today is the last lunch of the school year. Everyone, were you able to eat at least a little of bit of even foods you hate? Looking back over the year, try looking for areas in which you have grown!

Today is the last day of the school year. For that reason I didn’t eat school lunch. I considered posting a picture of the bento I brought instead, but given that it was nearly exactly what I ate last Monday, I thought this picture of sweet Spring sake I drank the other day was nicer.

I started this blog a year ago with the goal of translating with photographs the school lunch I ate everyday for a full year. I have learned a lot through thinking about and eating school lunch: trying new foods, considering the implications of my food choices, and developing new likes! I hope my dear readers could enjoy seeing a little bit of my daily life and reading my ramblings about school life in Japan.

Posting nearly everyday was a difficult task though, with a busy schedule, so while I will still be eating school lunch next year, I won’t continue posting everyday. However, I wonder is there anything you would like to read about or see pictures of relating to food and Japan?


Shinjuku Dog

February 28th, Thursday:


  • Vegetable Miso Ramen (Ramen, Pork, Bean Sprouts, Bamboo Shoots, Chinese Cabbage, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Fried As You Like
  • Cheese Waffle
  • Kcal:861

It is only a few weeks until graduation, so we tried our best to serve desserts. Today, at the close of February,  we have the calcium rich Cheese Waffle. It’s faintly salty flavour is exquisite!

The Cheese Waffle today was technically called a “Shinjuku Dog”. It was like a hot dog, except the bun was a waffle and the sausage was a stick of cheese. The cheese was indeed slightly salty and the waffle sweet, so it was an interesting combination of flavours. The okonomi-age (Fried As You Like) was pretty popular with my students today. One of them commented it tasted like tako-yaki (savoury octopus donuts) and I feel it is a fairly accurate comparison.

Today was a smaller school, so during lunch the students hosting the lunch radio program usually interview someone, another student or teacher. Today, they interviewed the English teacher, so she answered some of the questions in English and gave a short speech encouraging the soon to be graduating third-years. So I thought it occurred quite nicely.

After lunch, I noticed one of the teachers using a sort of tool at his desk. I asked him about it and it was an electric eraser. He said that when we make a mistake with a pen, normally we use white out to fix it. But we cannot use white out on important documents, so we can use this electric eraser. It works basically by scratching away the thin top layer of a sheet of paper, we have to be careful not accidentally scratch a whole hole through the paper when using it. I thought it exemplified a fastidiousness for which Japan is often renowned.


Fox Udon

November 22nd, Thursday:

  • Kitsune Udon (Chicken, Shimeji Mushroom, Daikon Radish, Green Onion, Plum Guten)
  • Milk
  • Rice Cake Stuffed Bean Curd
  • Ironman Apple Cheese Dessert
  • Kcal: 661

Mochi (rice cakes) are made from steamed mochi rice. It is a type of very sticky rice. The rice we normally eat isn’t as sticky and it called “uruchi rice”.

Uruchi rice (medium grain rice) may not be as sticky as mochi rice (short grained rice), but it is far more sticky than the dry long grained rice that most westerners eat (ew!).

As I mentioned yesterday, dishes characterized by the addition of bean curd often use the word “kitsune (fox)”. Today’s kitsune udon is basically udon with a pouch of age (bean curd) in it. It’s so delicious. I love it so much!!

The apple dessert was a sort of whipped cream cheese like mouse with apple bits in it. Being a dessert, it was tasty, but to be honest, I don’t really like the whipped cream texture that characterizes many Western style desserts. It is probably supplemented with iron, which is why it is called “ironman”.

  • きつねうどん
  • 牛乳
  • もち入り味付きあげ
  • 鉄人アップルチーズデザート

Soba Party

November 21st, Wednesday:

  • Furano Wine and Cheese Curry Rice (Pork, Potato, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Boiled Vegetables Salad (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Red and Yellow Bell Pepper)
  • Omelet
  • Kcal:961

The third and last entry in the Pride of the School Lunch Centre’s Curry Rice Contest is “Furano Wine and Cheese Curry Rice” from Furano City. Please savour this curry we are proud of.

Two main agricultural enterprises of Furano city are wine and dairy products, you I am sure you can see where this curry’s inspiration comes from. That said, I didn’t actually eat school lunch today. Instead, I went to an elementary school. The 老人クラブ (Grandparent’s Club) was invited to the school and everyone made soba, inari sushi, and tsukemono together. You can see the soba made pictured above. The soba used was grown by the students at school, so over all it was a culmination of a project began last spring. The student I worked with was a tiny boy in third grade, but was very enthusiastic. When I asked him if he might want to become a soba chef, he said he would like that. He also remarked how soba was rather hard to make, but very easy to eat. So it made me happy that he understood how much work and effort goes into the food we so carelessly consume everyday.

Oh also, if you didn’t know, the origin of the term “inari sushi”. Obviously, sushi is the vinegared rice stuffed inside the bean curd pocket. Inari is the name an agricultural kami (god) whose servants are said to be foxes. Foxes (and thus Inari-sama himself) are said to be very fond of bean curd. Thus dishes which are characterized by their use of bean curd often use the word “Inari” or “Kitsune (Fox)”.

Inari sushi and many varieties of tsukemono


二宮様のファンだから O(≧▽≦)O

  • ふらのウィンチーズカレーライス
  • 牛乳
  • ボイル(ゆで)野菜のサラダ
  • オムレツ


Nanpu Venison Curry

November 14th, Thursday:

  • Nanpu Venison Curry and Rice (Ezo Venison, Potato, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Acerola and Milk Gelée (Acerola, Milk Jelly)
  • Shaped Cheese

The second entry in the School Lunch Center’s Curry of Pride is “Nanpu’s Venison Curry”. In South Furano, breaded venison is famous. In school lunch, we use venison that has been marinated in wine.

In my hometown, we don’t have any deer. So my first time to eat venison was when I moved to Japan. I have heard teachers complain that venison is too “gamey”, but actually, I much prefer venison over pork. The venison we eat here comes from Ezo deer, which is a deer particular to Hokkaido, Ezo being the old name for Hokkaido. So, I would say that I liked today’s lunch. The cheese was shaped like different animals today: I got a lion. Also, the acerola milk gelee was tasty although one of my students today said it “tastes like medicine”. I sort of see what he meant.

By the way, I went to an elementary school today, where the portions are slightly smaller than at intermediate school.

The students all grew chrysanthemums displayed in the entrance. In fact, the school over all has pretty amazing students: after school they played ichinin isshu karuta, chanting the reading cards beautifully. I was moved.


String Cheese

September 27th, Thursday:

  • Shoyu Ramen (Pork, Bean Sprout, Chinese Cabbage, Bamboo Shoot, Onion, Carrot)
  • Milk
  • Potato Cake
  • String Cheese
  • Kcal: 797

The history of sakeru cheese (string cheese) is surprisingly old. About 30 years ago it started be sold under the name of “Sutoringu Chiizu”.

  • しょうゆラーメン
  • 牛乳
  • いももち
  • さけるチーズ

Hirami Lemon Jelly

September 6th, Thursday:

  • Chow Mein (Pork, Sausage, Tsuto Surimi, Carrot, Cabbage, Onion, Bean Sprout)
  • Milk
  • New-style Omelet
  • Hirami Lemon Jelly
  • Kcal:781

New-style Omelet is a normally round shaped omelet cut in half to make the shape of a fan. It is fried up with potatoes, bacon, and cheese.

  • 焼きそば
  • 牛乳
  • 変わりオムレツ
  • シークワーサーゼリー

German Potato

July 24th, Tuesday:

  • Tomato and Egg Soup (Onion, Egg, Parsley, Ham)
  • German Potato (Potato, Bacon)
  • Cheeseburger Patty
  • Butter Bread
  • Milk

The “German” in “German Potato” means “Duits”. The German Potato is a a potato dish made in Germany.

A hearty lunch and German Potato is so tasty! Kyuushoku Center knows how to do tomatoes in soup right, too. A slight note on my above translation. The food “German Potato” is written exactly like that in katakana. But the normal term for “German” in Japanese is “Duits”, which is what Germany calls herself.

By the way, the oil server in my house started making unusual loud noises last night, but I figured I would wait a day or two to see if it wouldn’t stop. Today at work, I was informed someone at city hall had discovered my oil tank was leaking and kindly fixed it for me. So my problem was fixed before I even reported it. I don’t know who it was that someone was, but Thank You so much city hall person!!! I love you!

  • トマトと卵のスープ
  • ジャーマンポテト
  • チーズインハンバーグ
  • バターパン
  • 牛乳

Shaped Cheese

June 28th, Thursday:

  • Wakame Udon (Udon Noodle, Chicken, Naruto Surimi, Onion, Bean Curd, Carrot, Green Onion)
  • Milk
  • Potstickers
  • 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.

  • わかめうどん
  • 牛乳
  • ギョウザ
  • 型抜きチーズ