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.



February 27th, Wednesday:


  • Bean Curry Rice (Soybeans, Garbanzo Beans, Pork, Carrot, Onion, Mushrooms)
  • Milk
  • Acerola Julee and Milk Jelly (Acerola Julee, Milk Jelly)
  • Neatly Simmered Drumette
  • Kcal: 1042

Chickpeas (Garbanzo) are delicious is simmered dishes and salads too. The word garbanzo is what they are called in Spanish. What a powerful sounding name!

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are called hiyoko-mame in Japanese. This literally means “chick peas”, which makes me think the the name was likely just literally translated into Japanese when they were first introduced into Japan. The name “chick peas” itself is a sort of amalgam between exactly what it sounds like and the Latin term for the plant “cicer”.


Baked Pudding Tart

February 21st, Thursday:
  • 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.


Furano Omucurry

December 30th, Wednesday:


  • 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!


Cabbage and Bacon Soup

November 20th, Tuesday:

  • Cabbage and Bacon Soup (Cabbage, Bacon, Tomato)
  • Meatsauce Dressed Spaghetti (Spaghetti, Pork, Onion, Green Bean)
  • Baked Cream Croquette
  • Milk Bread
  • Grape Juice
  • Kcal: 681

The meatsauce used in school lunch, due to coming in a can, is premixed with the spaghetti. Enjoy the slighlty different taste as compared to Napoliton.

Today’s soup had a stronger than usual taste of bacon, I thought. But I have a soft spot in my heart for cabbage soup, so I thought it was good. The croquette was just that: a croquette of a thick cream. It sort of reminded me of like condensed cream of mushroom soup. Speaking of cream of mushroom soup, here is an amusing anecdote. When I was child, I didn’t like mushrooms because they looked weird. I mean seriously, my grandfather kept a jar of dried shiitake mushrooms on top of the refrigerator and do they not look weird?! But this led to me refusing to eat mushrooms of any variety, to the point I would pick out even the tiniest squares of mushroom out of cream of mushroom soup. Actually, that anecdote wasn’t that amusing, and really only served to show what a picky and selfish child I was. (-_-;)

Back to school lunch. I am not overly fond of spaghetti nor meatsauce/spaghetti sauce.  That said, I liked today’s spaghetti dish better than the spaghetti napolitan. The term used for today’s dish is actually rather interesting. Literally, it reads: Spaghetti Meatsauce Ae.  “Ae” is a type of preparation, usually meaning rather than cooking the dish it is “dressed” with a sauce like vinegar, or ground sesame, or mayonnaise. It’s really more like a salad than it is a pasta.

Oh, and yay for grape juice!


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.


Chow Mein

November 1st, Thursday:

  • Chow Mein (Pork, Sausage, Carrot, Cabbage, Onion, Bean Sprout)
  • Milk
  • Potato Wrap
  • Custard Pudding
  • Kcal: 775

School lunch noodles come from two manufacturers: Sasaki Noodle Company and Sugawara Noodle Company. You can taste the subtle difference between the two. Noodle making is a complex art.

I have never tried tasting the two kines of noodles side by side to see if the tasted different. Actually, I didn’t know two different companies made the noodles until now. That said, Sasaki Noodle Company also makes Hokkaido ramen you can order off the internet. I’m not really sure about Sugawara Company. The potato wrap looks like a potato cake, but is stuffed with a soft filling of vegetables, which I think is pretty tasty. I can’t eat pudding, but it looked tasty. The student sitting next to me ate three of them.

I was reading a book yesterday about learning English as a second language. One of the confusing things about English, of course, is that one word is used to refer to an animal living and an entirely different word is used to refer to the animal when we eat it. However, this book presented a theory on why. It explained that English is a mix of Germanic and Latinian influences. The Germanic influence comes from the conquered servant class, the sort of people who worked raising animals.  But the Latinian influences came from the conquering French class, who ate the meat of the animals the Germanic servants raised. Thus German-English words refer to the living animal: 「calf」「swine」and 「ox」, while the French-English words refer to only the meat of the animal: 「veal」「pork」 and 「beef」. I thought this was interesting.

Somewhat unrelated to noodles, my Taisho period writing desk was formerly owned by a noodle maker in Otaru. Isn’t it beautiful!!

  • 焼きそば
  • 牛乳
  • ポテト包み
  • プリン