Soy milk!!!

February 19th, Tuesday:
  • Cream Stew (Chicken, Potatoes, Carrot, Onion, Trumpet Mushroom, Parsley)
  • Pork Chop (Pork, Onion, Shiitake Mushroom, Carrot)
  • Sweet Potato
  • Top Slit Bread
  • Soymilk
  • Kcal: 859

Today, I was thinking about the wasted food of school lunch left overs. At my small schools, the schools really make an effort to eat all of the food given. At the big schools, although there are campaigns to encourage students to eat everything on their plate, there is a fair amount of food that either remains unserved or is put back uneaten. The main issue I think is serving the correct amount of food to each school. I guess this is so difficult because the ‘correct’ amount varied depending on the person. I often feel there is too much food served but another foreigner I work with feels there is not enough food served food. I have heard wildly varying opinions from Japanese teachers too. In the end though, I really feel like there should be a scientific way of resolving  this problem. But we will never be able to make everyone satisfied.

  • クリームシチュー
  • ポークチャップ
  • スイートポテト
  • 背割りパン
  • 豆ぴよ

Chicken Curry Rice

November 19th, Wednesday:


  • Chicken Curry Rice (Chicken, Potato, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Dressed Tuna with Broccoli (Broccoli, Tuna)
  • Sweet Sticks


Broccoli is an unusual vegetable in both the stalk and flower buds are eaten. It is very nutritious and has many vitamins that help prevent colds.

Dressed Broccoli is amazingly tasty. I really wonder how they make it.

At the bottom of this month’s lunch menu:

Let’s eat anything, which being picky! Five points for overcoming picky eating:

  1. First just try a single mouthful.
  2. Eat [the same things] together with everyone else
  3. Try growing your own vegetables and cooking them up.
  4. Eat seasonal foods.
  5. Become hungry [by being active] and then eat.
  • チキンカレーライス
  • 牛乳
  • ブロッコリーのツナ和え
  • おさつスティック

Baked Chestnut Croquette

November 29th, Thursday:

  • Veggie Shoyu Ramen (Pork, Bean Sprout, Chinese Cabbage, Bamboo Shoot, Green Onion, Carrot)
  • Milk
  • Baked Chestnut Croquette
  • Japanese Pear Jelly
  • Kcal: 791

The chestnut croquette was made using chestnuts, which are a symbol of Autumn. Besides sweet chestnuts, we used potatoes and sweet potatoes  to give it a slightly sweet taste. Also, since it is shaped like a chestnut, it makes  a very cute croquette.

I think I have talked about this before, but Japanese pears and western pears (La France Pears) are very different, the former somewhat resembling an apple in taste and appearance. But they are still delicious.

  • しょうゆ野菜ラーメン
  • 牛乳
  • 焼き栗コロッケ
  • 和なしゼリー

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

Autumn Full Stew

November 13th, Tuesday:

  • Autumn Full Stew (Salmon, Chestnut, Shimeji Mushroom, Sweet Potato, Carrot, Parsley)
  • German Potato (Potato, Bacon)
  • Breaded Sausage
  • Top Sliced Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 820

Today’s stew uses Autumn ingredients. Everyone, when you hear of Autumn ingredients, what do you think of? Modern times are when foods are plentiful and we can get any food regardless of the season. This extravagance is also saddening.

This time of year, the market I always go is selling many delicious and very inexpensive vegetables grown in my town. Indeed, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the wonderful of this. When I notice all this abundance of the Autumn, I also think of the amazing extravagance that characterizes modern times. Even in the middle of winter, I can eat papaya and pineapples. Even in the middle of summer, I can indulge in as much shave ice as I want. This makes life so easy to live, but it has become easy to lose the seasonal awareness and gratitude that plays an important part in making us correct persons. So as our school lunch menu reminds us: Food is plentiful, but the extravagance is also saddening. So let’s make an effort of eat seasonal and local foods!

That said, today’s Autumn stew was really tasty!! Yum! Yum!


Baked Potato

September 5th, Wednesday:

  • Chicken`n`Egg Rice Bowl (Chicken, Egg, Onion, Green Onion, Shimeji Mushroom)
  • Milk
  • Miso Soup (Wakame Seaweed, Daikon Radish, Carrot)
  • Baked Potato
  • Kcal: 847

Satsuma (sweet) potato is one of the 60 kinds registered with the Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture, but there are likely many other kinds as well. It resembles the Jakarta potato.

I like baked sweet potatoes so much!

In Japanese, the word potato (imo) denotes a large variety of tubers, not just the white potato as in English. The Satsuma imo (薩摩芋), Satsuma referring to the same famous province of Old Japan as the Satsuma orange, is a sweet moist very delicious orange potato, especially when baked. Due to their wonderful combination of sweetness and health, my mother likes to poke holes in them with a fork and then just microwave them for a quick snack. Some other imo include the Jakarta potato (じゃが芋), the white potato which was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese as a vegetable from Jakarta and is now quite popular in curry rice and beef stew, and the Long potato(長芋), which is a long tuber that gains a sticky texture when grated and is popularly eaten with shoyu as a breakfast food. The Country potato (里芋) is usually called a taro in English, and is generally eaten simmered or in soup in Japan.

In my tropical homeland, the current staple food is steam rice, similar to Japan. But before we were “discovered” by the world, the staple food was a type of Country potato, cooked and pounded to make a somewhat sticky paste. It is still a popular food at parties, but I have to admit, I adore the sweetness of rice and much prefer it.

  • 親子丼
  • 牛乳
  • みそ汁
  • 焼きいも


Eel Saury

June 25th, Monday:

  • Midakusan Soup (Sweet Potato, Tofu, Sliced Konnyaku, Carrot, Onion, Burdock)
  • Simmered Minced Meat and Daikon (Daikon Radish, Pork, Edamame)
  • Eel-Style Simmered Saury
  • Rice
  • Milk

The saury catch increases in Autumn. The saury we use in this season are frozen. It is an easy to use ingredient due to it’s stable price. It was cooked kabayaki(eel)-style with a sauce made of shoyu and mirin.

I can’t say that the daikon soboro is my favourite. It isn’t bad, but neither is it very good, in my ignorant opinion. There are fish I like more than saury, but today’s eel-style cooked saury was pretty popular among the boys in my class today. Thus soup (unsurpisingly) was my favorite dish today, although it was strangly onion-y.

A year or so ago, one of my teacher’s gave the students some free time–like five or ten minutes–at the end of class. They could work on homework or even talk with their friends, but she said they shouldn’t read in class. This struck me as peculiar.
When I was in school, students failing to read was considered a problem. Thus we had lots of programs put in place in order to encourage kids to read more. The one I most fondly recall was where you got stickers for reading a certain amount and when you collected enough stickers, you could get a free personal pizza. Going out to eat was something reserved for special occasions, so going out for pizza merely for reading was pretty awesome. But my point is, that I was raised with the idea that any form of reading ought to be encouraged, but here in Japan I was encountering the idea that reading is a frivilous activtiy not always allowed. (To be fair, the lack of children reading is becoming more of a problem now in Japan, and very few teachers are strict about not reading during down time in class.)
Why is there the idea that reading is frivilous in Japan? I can think of two reasons. The first is that reading is still fun for most Japanese children. There are a wide variety of books: manga, illustrated novels, sports-based novels, etc. that lower the barrier to reading for lower-level students. The second reason is historically Japan has distinguished between frivilous reading (ie: worthless novels &c.) and serious reading (ie: the classics, moral biographies &c.)

Speaking of historical Japan and reading, Edo period Japan had a higher literacy rate than the Western nations. Thus it is interesting that all the Edo/Meiji period novels I own (which is several), are written largely in kanji all accompanied by furigana. These are popular novels: tales of the supernatural, or tales of love and revenge. Equivalent modern books rarely use furigana and use hiragana rather than the more difficult kanji. I think this is a shame. Not only does a fully glossed text allow the less educated to enjoy reading the book, but it adds a fuller meaning to the text. 握飯 (nigirimeshi) alone only means some rice in a ball. For example, お握飯 glossed as “omusubi” gives it a fuller meaning: more colloquial, slightly soft feeling. And there were many such instances as this. I feel this kanji with furigana glosses method allows the text to be read at two levels: both meaning and phonetically. (If you aren’t convinced, consider how Motowori glossed the Kojiki. Definitely two levels.) It is a shame it is hardly used any more.

  • みだくさん汁
  • 大根のそぼろ煮
  • さんまの蒲焼風煮
  • ごはん
  • 牛乳

Miso Soup

June 18th, Monday:

  • Miso Soup (Carrot, Chinese Cabbage, Burdock)
  • Simmered Sweet Potato and Chopped Konbu Seaweed (Hijiki Surimi, Sweet Potato, Konbu, Konnyaku)
  • Teriyaki Simmered Mackerel
  • Rice
  • Milk

The miso used in school lunch is made from only daizu, rice yeast, and salt from Hokkaido, without any additives. We use pure water that pours from springs in the mountains. Our miso is safe and without bitterness.

Today was an open English class, so I ate lunch at home. That means that, as usual, I ate furikake rice and a daifuku, followed by soy milk. But actually today was a little special in that I ate a hard boiled egg too. Since I didn’t eat school lunch, I couldn’t take a picture of it. I am sorry.
It was interesting to read the above about miso (the part in italics is always translated from the school lunch menu, BTW) and I highly approve. I can’t really be a very good judge, because I didn’t really eat miso much as a child, but I would say that I quite like the miso soup in school lunch (assuming it is still hot).

  • みそ汁
  • さつま芋と切り昆布の煮物
  • さばの照り煮
  • ごはん
  • 牛乳

Fried Udon?

June 14th, Thursday:

  • Fried Udon (Udon Noodle, Pork, Squid, Shrimp, Cabbage, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Steamed Dumpling
  • Sweet Potato Sticks

One of the promises of good table manners is to not chew with your mouth open, because the very unpleasant “kuchakucha” sound. On the internet, this sound is described as “kucharaa”.

Today, I didn’t have school lunch, so I made a bento instead. What is pictured is  the steam rice and takuan pickles that I packed. As okazu (side dishes) I packed last night’s chikuwa-jaga, ie: potatoes and chikuwa simmered in shoyu and mirin, and a daifuku mochi. I love daifuku mochi. They were on sale last night, so a package of eight cost a little about 60 yen. So cheap!

  • 焼うどん
  • 牛乳
  • しゅうまい
  • おさつスティック