Lunch in the Office

March 5th, Tuesday:


  • Creamed Corn Soup (Corn, Onion, Parsley)
  • Healthy Salad (Burdock, Carrot, Water Mustard, Goa’uld Babies)
  • Oven Baked Chicken
  • Milk Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 861

The flesh of onions is soft and includes much water. Also, the spicy part of the onion that agitates the eyes helps our blood flow well, and thus is useful for prevent lifestyle diseases.

I didn’t eat school lunch today, so above is a picture of the bento I brought to work. It consists of local “Star Dream” (星の夢) rice topped with furikake my friend gave me, with a side dish of some tuna mixed with corn and miso pickles I made from carrot and daikon. Lately I’ve been really in love with me miso pickles, being they are cheap, easy to make, and delicious. For dessert, I had half a diamond rice cake, not pictured. It’s a tradition to eat diamond rice cakes during the Festival of the Peaches, which was last Sunday. This means that when I went shopping on Monday, the leftover rice cakes were half off! so I bought one.

When I was growing up, we didn’t go to the store that often. My mother is a fan of costco, which meant we bought in bulk and used it for awhile. Similarly  my grandfather lived rather rural so in a similar manner, he would drive into town, buy necessities for a month or two and then drive back. I have a theory that this American habit stems from pioneer days when the closest store was a day or two wagon ride away. But in Japan, it is common to go to the store often, a housewife might go everyday or even more than once a day. The sale system in Japanese stores encourages this: Often they have timed sales, where an item is on sale but only for a couple hours. So you must go then to get those items. Also, there is a stronger culture of walking/ public transportation in Japan, so your strength limits how much you can buy in a single trip, although I have seen some grandmothers riding tricycles or pulling sleds filled with groceries before. And finally, I think a buying-in-bulk culture was prevented from developing by merchants directly visiting the house, which even common today.


Scotch Quail Egg

November 27th, Tuesday:

  • Cream Corn Soup (Corn, Onion, Parsley)
  • Potato Salad (Potato, Carrot, Onion, Cucumber, Edamame)
  • Scotch Quail Egg
  • Cocoa Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 849

Inside of this time’s scotch egg is not a chicken egg, but a quail’s egg. As scotch eggs are a type of dish from England, they are eaten cold.

I felt the cocoa bread was not well suited for dipping into the corn soup, but separately they were good. Scotch egg sounds so delicious, but I feel like the egg is very much over cooked. I suppose this can’t be helped in school lunch, but I still think it is a shame. The kyuushoku dayori brings up a good point commenting on how scotch eggs are generally eaten cold. A complaint I have heard from  other foreigners about school lunch is that it is served cold. But Japanese meals, excepting of course the soup and rice, are generally supposed to be served cold (thus relaxing the necessity of a strict dinner time). While most Americans at least I think would find a cold scotch egg yucky, probably many Englishmen would probably find a hot one equally off putting. Of course, I had never had a scotch egg until I came to Japan, so I am not really that well versed in the matter, and should probably refrain from saying more.

Speaking of preferences differing from country to country, enka is a style of Japanese music still quite popular in Japan, but not well liked by most foreigners. As for myself, while a lot of enka is too “pop”-like for me, lately I’ve been listening a CD called 敬天愛人 (Revere Heaven; Love Man) by the artist Ogata Daisaku. All of the songs are about different heroes of the Meiji Restoration and I’ve really taken a liking to it, so to speak. So here is one of the songs. It is called “Katsura Kogorou”, who was a young reformist who was known for his many daring escapes from the bakufu inu.

  • クリームコーンスープ
  • ポテトサラダ
  • うずらスコッチエッグ
  • ココアパン
  • 牛乳

Early Mandarin

November 15th, Thursday:

  • Salt Ramen (Pork, Bean Sprout, Bamboo Shoot, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Lots o’ Corn Patty
  • Early Mandarin
  • Kcal: 730

Satsuma Mandarins are generally shipped out in four different periods. September to October are the very earliest mandarins, October to December are the early mandarins. From January, regular mandarins make their appearance. So right now is the time for early mandarins.


Chinese Corn Soup

October 30th, Tuesday:

  • Chinese Corn Soup (Corn, Egg, Green Onion)
  • Pasta Salad (Spaghetti, Cucumber, Tangerine)
  • Chicken and Pork Patty
  • Koppe Pan
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 707

The color of the yolk of the egg is decided by the food the chicken eats. If they eat food that is mixed with red bell peppers, the yolk becomes a deep orange colour.

Chinese corn soup is like a mix between thin corn soup and egg drop soup. It’s fairly tasty.  Pasta salad is a somewhat unappetizing mix of thick spaghetti, cucumbers, and mikan tangerines lathered in mayonnaise. In fact, the only good thing about the pasta salad is the mikan tangerines, which were unfortunately entirely missing from my salad today. But mikan and mayonnaise go surprisingly well together.

  • 中華コーンスープ
  • パスタサラダ
  • チキンとポークのハンバーグ
  • コッペパン
  • 牛乳


October 16th, Tuesday:

  • Minestrone (Cabbage, Carrot, Onion, Potato, Bacon, Tomato, Green Bean)
  • Corn and Tuna Coleslaw (Tuna, Cucumber, Cabbage, Corn, Carrot, Onion)
  • Petit Omlet Rice
  • Butter Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 770

Minestrone is an Italian word that means “a hearty jumble”. It is a soup with vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes.

Today we had our English Recitation event, so as a judge I received a bento lunch at the culture centre.  So I took a picture for you. My favourite part was the tasty pickles to the right.

The students did was quite amazing performances, including a fairly lengthy play based on Japanese legend they wrote themselves in English as well as such famous (and difficult) speeches such as Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, MLK Jr.’s I Have a Dream, and a piece by Shakespeare. Anyway, they were all really amazing.

  • ミネストローネ
  • コーンとツナのコールスロー
  • プチオムライス
  • バターパン
  • 牛乳

Creamy Chestnut Stew

September 25th, Tuesday:

  • Creamy Chestnut Stew (Pork, Chestnut, Corn, Carrot, Onion, Broccoli)
  • Chinese Salad (Tuna, Daikon Radish, Cucumber, Wakame Seaweed)
  • Lemon Basil Chick Bake
  • Butter Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 852

Chestnuts originate from Japan and the southern part of the Korean peninsula. Chestnuts that grow wild are called shibakuri (brush chestnuts) or yamakuri (mountain chestnuts).

Today’s Chinese salad had a cool, healthy taste that was surprisingly good, but I am not sure what makes it Chinese.  I have never been to China and know nothing about Chinese food, but at most the chinese-style restaurants I have been to, there have been an abundance of  dishes coated with a sort of slimy sauce. (I apologise to Chinese people for making such a mean statement.) Today’s salad didn’t have a sauce like that at all, which was a good thing. Also while I don’t like meat/poultry, for being a chicken, the Lemon Basil Chicken was pretty good. Finally, the name of today’s stew is actually a sort of pun in Japanese. “Kuri” means chestnut and “kurimu” means cream: So the name of the stew was actually “kuriiiiimu stew”.  Yum! Yum!

So, I grew up on an tropical island and there were no chestnuts there. I had never eaten a chestnut, never even seen a chestnut, until I came to Japan. But that is natural. The weird part is that even as a child I was fairly well acquainted with what a chestnut was. Because there is that Christmas song: “Chestnuts roasting on a open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose….” Why do I know that song? It’s about snow and cold weather. My hometown is 20 degrees away from the equator! The answer: globalization. Or colonialism. They are actually pretty similar things. The fact that I can know about chestnuts even having grown up in the tropics is pretty awesome, until I considered what sort of native culture was crushed to make room for this alien information….

  • 栗ぃ~むシチュー
  • 中華サラダ
  • 若鶏のレモンバジル焼き
  • バターパン
  • 牛乳

2 Mikan Jelly Mix

August 29th, Wednesday:

  • Curry Rice (Pork, Potato, Carrot, Onion)
  • Mame Piyo
  • 2 Mikan Jelly Mix (Mandarin Orange, Sweet Chinese Grapefruit, Gelatin Block)
  • Oven Baked Edamame and Corn Dumpling
  • kcal: 998

The 2 Mikan Jelly Mix has both Satsuma Mandarins and Sweet Chinese Grapefruit in it. It is fun to try and savour the different flavours and textures, isn’t it!

Today, we ate lunch early (after third period) since there was a bus to catch to a special presentation of the musical “The Wizard of Oz”. The message of the musical–though your hometown may have nothing but cows and wheat fields in it, it is still precious as your beloved hometown–is relevant to my students here. That said, this special schedule meant we had less than 15 minutes in which to consume our curry lunch. My relatives, when I have seen them, have commented on the lightning speed at which I now eat. I firmly blame this newly developed habit upon the fact I eat school lunch everyday. Even on a normal day, the actually time for eating is on average 15 minutes.

Anyway, Mame Piyo (lit. Bean Chirp) is the brand name of the chocolate flavoured soymilk we had in lunch today. Usually, dairy being one on the  main products of my town, normal milk is served at lunch. But on certain occasions, fruit/vegetable juice or mame piyo is served. As I’ve mentioned before, I cannot drink milk, so I am always quite happy when soymilk is served in its place. When I was student in my hometown, we were also served milk with school lunch everyday. On special occasions we did get chocolate milk. I also seem to recall there was a juice option, probably POG (ie: Passionfruit, Orange, Guava), which came in a short plastic cup, rather than a carton like the milk did.


Coupe Roll

August 21st, Tuesday:

  • Creamed Corn Soup (Corn, Onion, Parsley)
  • Penne Dressed with Meat Sauce (Penne Noodle, Pork, Onion, Carrot, Green Bean, Bell Pepper)
  • Kabocha Croquette
  • Coupe Roll
  • Milk
  • (Cal: 1001)

“Pasta” means “dough” in Italian. It is made from a hard wheat flour with lots of protein called Durum Semolina.



July 25th, Wednesday:

  • Chicken Curry (Chicken, Potato, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Mango Jelly with Nata de Coco (Mango Jelly, Nata de Coco, Peach)
  • Maize

In Hokkaido, we call toumorokoshi (maize) “toukibi”, but in other parts of Japan, there are various ways people say it, such as “toutoko” and “tokkibi”. Aren’t the differences between regions interesting!

It’s the last day of the first trimester, so I didn’t eat school lunch today. But I wish I could eat Mango Jelly. Just as there are different words for maize in Japan, there are different words in English too.
In the US, most people called maize corn. But actually the word “corn” refers the staple grain of a people. Thus Japanese corn is technically rice, and British corn is technically wheat. The reason maize is often called corn started as an abbreviation of the term “Indian Corn”, which of course would be maize. The word maize itself is commonly used in Britian and comes to English from the language of the Carribean indigiedents through Spanish.
But back to the Japanese language, what I wonder is what is the difference between 「とうもろこし」and「コーン」。

Have a nice summer break!

  • チキンカレー
  • 牛乳
  • マンゴーゼリーとナタデココ
  • とうもろこし


July 17th, Tuesday:

  • Consommé (Cabbage, Onion, Carrot, Ham)
  • Spaghetti Dressed with Meat Sauce (Spaghetti, Pork, Onion, Green Bean)
  • Fried Corn Patty
  • Top Sliced Roll
  • Milk

The roll today was debatably supposed to be filled with the Spaghetti and eaten like a sandwich, some what reminiscent of yakisoba bread.

BTW, we made mini pizza’s using gyoza skins and caramel custard pudding in home economics today.

  • コンソメスープ
  • スパゲッティメートソース和え
  • コーンたっぷりフライ
  • 背割りパン
  • 牛乳