Veggie Curry

March 13th, Wednesday:

DSCN4388

  • Vegetable Curry and Rice (Potato, Carrot, Onion, Green Bean)
  • Milk
  • Tuna Daikon Salad (Tuna, Daikon Radish, Cucumber)
  • Pork Sausage
  • Kcal: 1061

The flavor of daikon depends on the section of it. The upper part nearer to the leaves is sweeter, while the lower part has a more spicy taste. In salad, the thick upper part closer to the leaves is more often used.

野菜カレーライス
牛乳
ツナと大根のサラダ
ポークウインナー

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Catching Colds

March 1st, Friday:

DSCN4341

  • Midakusan Soup (Potato, Tofu, Konnyaku, Burdock, Carrot, Onion)
  • Simmered Daikon and Mincemeat (Daikon Radish, Pork, Edamame)
  • Salt-Broiled Pentacerotidae
  • Wakame Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 779

Shiitake that are dried in the sunlight become “Dried Shiitake”. When drying them in sunlight, their scent and flavour as well as their nutrition increases. Since they get all wrinkled up when drying, that is very strange.

I am a little confused why kyuushoku dayori above talks about shiitake, since today’s dish didn’t seem to include any mushrooms, shiitake or otherwise. Although the soup broth may have been shiitake based?

Anyway, the other day I was reading some of the papers posted in the classroom. It is common for each student to write their goals for the term at the beginning and then hang them all along the walls of the class. In this class room, the students each wrote two things they wanted to do (say good morning to fellow students, raise their test scores, etc.) and two things they wanted to avoid (forgetting things, bullying others etc.). One of the students wrote for the latter than he wanted to not catch a cold.

I thought this was interesting because–to me–catching a cold is not really something you have a lot of control over. Yes, you can wash your hands and gargle, but I don’t know, I seem to always catch the cold anyway. But actually, I think this sort of statement is an element of a broader way of thinking in Japan. For example, in America I think, if you are late but you have a good excuse, then you are forgiven since it wasn’t your fault. But in Japan, even if you have a good excuse, you are still held responsible for being late. So I think it is the same with catching a cold: even though it is not your fault, you are still responsible. I am reminded of a quote by Yoshida Shoin:

飲食男女の欲を縦にし、疾病を生じ、懶惰に陥り、気根を弱くしては、武士道が闕くるなり
Desiring food and drink or fine company, yielding to sickness, falling into idleness, or failing in willpower is the waning of bushido.

Getting sick is included along side vices like being lazy, a glutton, or a womanizer…【・_・?】

This way of thinking is has its merits and faults. On the good side, we can control a lot more things in our life than we think, and this way of thinking encourages responsibility and industriousness. On the bad side, it puts a great deal of pressure on people for things that they might not be able to control and this can lead to suicide. I imagine the important thing is to still hold people responsible, but never forget to temper it with compassion.

Wakame Gohan

Wakame Gohan

みだくさん汁
大根のそぼろ煮
つぼ鯛の塩焼き
わかめごはん
牛乳

Baked Pudding Tart

February 21st, Thursday:
DSCN4312
  • Kenchin Udon (Udon, Bamboo Shoot, Spinach, Shimeji Mushrooms, Bean Curd, Carrot, Daikon Radishes, Green Onion, Plum Gluten, Konnyaku)
  • Milk
  • Local Squash and Mincemeat Fry
  • Baked Pudding Tart
  • Kcal: 724
The much anticipated dessert of today, precisely because it is so rare, is Baked Pudding Tart! It is very often requested. Is the secret to its popularity the suitability between the tart shell and the baked pudding?
Udon is pretty much always delicious, which its yummy vegetables, light broth, and fat noodles. Nom, nom, nom. The kabocha squash Fry was rather sweet, so I was surprised to know it had mincemeat in it. It seamed mostly kabocha. And of course, the Baked Pudding Tart was chosen as today’s favourite dish during the student radio program during lunch.
Excepting elementary schools, I visit seven schools. However all these schools are under the same board of education so the school lunch is the same. But normal teachers must change schools every six years or so. I was speaking to one of my teachers about school lunch and she said that she felt the school lunch in this area was rather on the lower end of school lunch quality, she felt the lunches in Asahikawa and other districts were better. So I thought it was interesting to hear her opinion.

けんちんうどん
牛乳
国産カボチャひき肉フライ
焼きプリンタルト

Milk Straw Chopsticks

February 4th, Monday:

DSCN4282

  • Miso Soup (Cabbage, Daikon Radish, Carrot)
  • Sliced Konbu and Lotus Root Stirfry (Konbu Seaweed, Pork, Lotsu Root, Green Onion)
  • Many Veggies Meatballs
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 868

Today is Risshun, the first day of Spring. The first Southern wind after Risshun is called “Spring No. 1″(春一番)When will Spring actually come to Hokkaido, I wonder…

Today, I have a cold. But at least it’s not influenza. So many students were absent from my class today, that the remaining students couldn’t eat all the meatballs, despite having seconds.
The other thing interesting today at lunch was the student across from me forgot his chopsticks. Instead of borrowing from the teacher, he decided obtain two of the milk straws and ate his entire lunch with them. It was amusing, but he succeeded in completely cleaning his plate.

みそ汁
切り昆布とレンコン炒め煮
野菜いろいろ肉団子
ごはん
牛乳

School Lunch, in the day

January 16th, Wednesday:

  • Bibimpab Bowl (Pork, Egg, Carrot, Parsley, Fern Sprout, Bean Sprout, Spinach)
  • Milk
  • Miso Soup (Daikon Radish, Carrot)
  • Shrimp Dumplings
  • Kcal: 847

Carrots are the vegetable that appear the most in school lunch. They have lots of karotein, which we need for preventing colds. Eat lots and pass the time happily.

School lunch in Japan first began in Meiji 22 (1889) in Yamagata Prefecture at the private Chuuai Elementary School in Tsuruoka City, aimed at poor children. I don’t know that much about pre-war school lunch, but my impression is that a lot of students still brought home made lunches to school. After World War II, wide spread school lunch was instituted in Japan, and consisted of milk, bread, and a side dish. It was subsidized by the the cheap importation of wheat from America. Yah for spreading consumeristic imperialism!(苦笑)

In my hometown, we have school lunch too, of course. Back in the day, the education system was largely focused on teaching English to the kids born there, but to prevent cross-ethnicity worker strikes, providing school lunch for students to fraternize over was not a high priority. After World War II, however, school lunch was established and subsidized by importation of rice, flour, meat, and canned fruits from mainland America. (So we did better than Japan in we got to eat rice rather than bread.)

The goal of school lunch was, like in Japan, to give children at least one hot filling meal a day. Even today, the price of school lunch is kept down as much as possible. For students who cannot afford even that price, there is reduced and free school lunch program. The present author was on the reduced lunch menu, so I paid less than 50 cents everyday for school lunch. Pretty inexpensive, I think.

ビビンバ丼
牛乳
みそ汁
えびぎょうざ

Dressed Spinach and Tuna

December 14th, Friday:

DSCN4080

  • 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.

いなか汁
小松菜とツナの和え物
大葉のチキン焼き
ごはん
牛乳

Ginger Fry

December 10th, Monday:

DSCN4075

  • 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

みそ汁
野菜の生姜焼き
エビフライ
ごはん
牛乳

Daikon Yakusha

December 7th, Friday:

  • Miso Soup (Cabbage, Carrot, Daikon Radish)
  • Satsuma-age with Egg (Satsuma-age, Rgg, Onion, Burdock, Green Bean)
  • Salt Broiled Boarfish
  • Wakame Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 778

Poor actors in theatre are called “Daikon Yakusha (Radish Actors)”. Because daikon are easy to digest, even if you eat a lot of them, you will rarely get (lit. hit) food poisoning. Thus actors who rarely have a hit are called Radish Actors.

By the way, I asked my friend about this, and she said there were many stories behind this term “daikon yakusha”. One is that daikon are often grated (orosu) which sounds the same as the word meaning to be fired. And another story is that daikon are white and boring (they don’t have a strong flavour and are very common), and poor actors are white and boring as well.

Speaking of Japanese theatre, I was reading in a book the other day that in the Edo period, while the amount of people who actually went and watch theatre wasn’t that high, the amount of people who read books and papers about actors and theatre life was very great. As someone who has no interest in celebreties (theatre or otherwise), I thought that contrast was interesting.

みそ汁
さつま揚げの卵とじ
つぼ鯛の塩焼き
わかめごはん
牛乳

Kenchin Soup

November 18th, Wednesday:

  • Kenchin Soup (Tofu, Carrot, Burdock, Shimeji Mushroom, Daikon Radish, Shiitake Mushroom)
  • Simmered Sweet Potatoes and Cut Konbu Seaweed (Sweet Potato, Konnyaku, Konbu Seaweed, Satsumaage)
  • Salt Culture Broiled Mackerel
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 733

The salt culture broiled mackerel was introduced in August. It is favoured for delicious moist taste. It is a dish we hope even those who don’t like fish will eat.

Kenchin soup is of course delicious, and as the school lunch menu above states, the Okhostk Atka mackerel had a mild taste and divided easily, making it easy to eat with chopsticks. In the past, I have felt the sweet potatoes and konbu are a little too strongly flavoured like konbu, but I didn’t feel that way today at all. It was quite good.

  • けんちん汁
  • さつま芋と切り昆布の煮物
  • ほっけ塩麹焼き
  • ごはん
  • 牛乳

Tatsuta Marlin

November 26th, Monday:

  • Miso Soup (Cabbage, Carrot, Tamogi Mushroom)
  • Simmered Pork and Daikon (Pork, Daikon, Konnyaku, Shiitake Mushroom)
  • Tatsuta Marlin
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 852

Marlin appeared in the American novelist Earnest Hemingway’s book “The Old Man and the Sea”. With lots of calcium, it helps our bodies get rid of excess sodium.

I feel so tired. I want to stop being ill. Anyway, today’s lunch was better than I expected. Tatsuta is way of frying fish after flavouring it with shoyu and coating it in starch. I think you can catch marlin in my hometown, but only by going out on a boat, so my family didn’t eat it so much. I think the name tatsuta comes from a certain harvest goddess, but I am not sure.

I wanted to mention that last week, I brought pictures of “Three Great Beauties of the World” to show my students. I asked them to vote on who they felt was most beautiful (not based on the pictures I brought, but on their own conception). Cleopatra won majority of votes, followed by the Japanese beauty Ono no Komachi with about 30%. The poor Chinese beauty, Yang Guifei, didn’t get any votes in either of my classes. It wasn’t what I expected, so I was surprised.

I was re-watching Ryoma-den the other night and one episode is called “Oni no Komachi”, which I missed last time. Oni means “ogre” and referred to the beautiful but harsh woman who was an expert at kendo named Chiba Sana (千葉佐那).