Grape Juice

June 12th, Tuesday:

  • Minestrone (Spaghetti, Cabbage, Carrot, Onion, Potato, Bacon, Tomato, Green Bean)
  • Pumpkin Salad (Pumpkin, Soy Bean, Ham)
  • Rolled Egg Topped with Bacon
  • Side-sliced Bread
  • Grape Juice

Kabocha pumpkins originally come from the country of Cambodia. Because the Portuguese introduced them to Japan as a Cambodian plant, they were originally called “Cambodian squash (kabocha uri)”.

In Japan, the word “pumpkin” does not refer to an american pumpkin of the jack o’lantern or pumpkin pie variety. Rather, it refers to the kabocha squash. The kabocha has a yellow flesh with green skin, and it’s texture resembles a potato. Nor does it taste at all like an american pumpkin. Thus the “pumpkin pie” made by students in English class is still very tasty, but not really pumpkin pie.

I once read in an etiquette book that you should follow your own culture’s customs, rather than offer your guests a poor imitation of their own. I think this is overall good advice. But it is difficult to follow if you come from a mixed culture. Personally, sitting on the floor has been a well-ingrained habit of mine since childhood. But as a white person, shouldn’t I offer my guests a chair?

But then again, “郷に入っては郷に従え”

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Kenchin Udon

June 7th, Thursday:

  • Kenchin Udon (Udon Noodle, Bamboo Shoot, Spinach, Shimeiji Mushroom, Bean Curd, Carrot, Daikon Radish, Green Onion, Plum Gluten, Konnyaku)
  • Milk
  • Pumpkin Mochi
  • Tangerine Jelly

Konnyaku is made by solidifying mannan found in the Devil’s Tongue plant. It possesses continuing popularity as a health food due to being high in fiber and low in calories.

An essential item that few in Japan go without is a handkerchief. Most westerners associate the word “handkerchief” with a thin white square cloth used by high-class, snotty people. (I feel so Heian, using puns!)

My own introduction to the handkerchief in intermediate school when I went through a head-kerchief wearing phase. This was followed by a phase during which I wrapped a kerchief around my arm as an armband. I can’t clearly remember, but this may have been a symbol of the Elven tree gang I helped found.

Anyway, a Japanese handkerchief is usually a patterned square of thin cloth. Fine handkerchiefs, of the type usually carried by kimono dressed women, might contain embroidery or consist of two loosely woven sheets bound together at the edges. Sporty women more often carry a handkerchief of terry cloth, that might be more accurately described as a washcloth. The chief purpose of the handkerchief is to dry your hands after washing them. This is both hygienic and eco, two thing for which Japan is known. It can also be used for covering your mouth to prevent breathing in smoke in event of a fire, and probably has many other uses as well. In any case, students at school are taught that a handkerchief is an essential item to carry everyday.

Miso Simmered Mackerel

April 18th, Wednesday:

  • Pumpkin Dumpling Soup (Pumpkin, Bean Curd, Tsuto Surimi, Burdock, Daikon Radish, Hijiki Seaweed, Satsuma-age, Carrot, Green Beans, Cut Konnyaku, Soy Beans)
  • Simmered Soy Beans and Laver
  • Miso Simmered Mackerel
  • Rice
  • Milk

Notes: Soy Beans include a good balance of protein that feeds your body. It’s a food that has full nutritional value with lots of vitamins and minerals. In America, they were called “Gold of the Earth”.