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!

キャベツとベーコンのスープ
スパゲッティメートソース和え
焼きクリームコロッケ
ミルクパン
ぶどうジュース

Minestrone

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

Furano Omcurry

October 10th, Wednesday:

 

  • Furano Omcurry (Pork, Potato, Carrot, Onion)
  • Furano Milk
  • Ohnishi Family’s Cherry Egg Omelet
  • Mini Tomato
  • Kcal: 927

Today’s was the next lunch as a part of “Furusato Kyuushoku”. I’ve talked about how Omcurry is a specialty of Furano, so I won’t go into it again today. However, please note the miniature flag implanted in the omelet. It is hard to see but it says “Welcome to Furano” in English and then “Welcome to Navel Town, Furano Omcurry” in Japanese. The Indian style curry dish is somewhat deceptive, since I have never seen omcurry served in such a dish, but it is at least always eaten with a spoon.

About today’s food itself, the curry was on the spicy side for school curry. Mine was sadly lacking in potatoes, but that might just be how it was dished out. The tomatoes had a tart crisp taste that complemented the curry well. The omelet pretty thick and fluffy. Speaking of cherry eggs (sakura tamago), I believe they are a variety of eggs, specifically a variety whose shell has a deep tint similar to cherry blossoms. They are supposed to be full of nutrients and have a long storage life. The milk is whole unpasteurized milk that is very popular among students. However, most foreigners cannot drink it without being sick afterwards. It does come in a charming glass bottle though, compleat with a milk cap (pogs anyone?).

Today, during fifth period, we had an earthquake drill. About 10 minutes into class, an announcement came on telling the students to get under their desks. The teacher opened the windows and crouched in the doorway. After a short time like that, a notice that all was clear was given and all the students lined up in the hallway, girls on one side and boys on the other. Then the class monitors took a head count of their own gender, respectively. Once all students were accounted for, students returned to class. Their homeroom teacher then took over, having them watch a video which I didn’t see (probably about disaster safety but it could have been about prevent bullying or something). The most impressive thing was that even the normally noisy class that I was in was completely silent through the whole thing. No talking or unnecessary sounds. I feel like the Japanese people when acting together as directed by a will above is truly a formidable thing. I think Lafcadio Hearn said something like that.

  • 富良野オムカレーライス
  • ふらの牛乳
  • 大西さん家のさくら卵オムレツ
  • ミニトマト

Onaorai

September 18th, Tuesday:

  • Cabbage and Ham Soup (Cabbage, Pork, Tomato)
  • Cod Roe Spaghetti (Spaghetti Noodle, Cod Roe, Shrimp, Bell Pepper)
  • Pork Sausage
  • Top Slit Bread
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 763

My school had its school festival this weekend, so in exchange they don’t have any class today. As I didn’t eat school lunch for that reason, I thought I would tell you about the very lovely onaorai I had yesterday at Shibetsu Shrine.

Monday was Keirou no Hi, or Grandparent’s Day, which was a national holiday. There also was a kyudo (Japanese archery) competition at Shibetsu Shrine to celebrate the 80th year anniversary, so that is what I did. It was quite an event. It lasted all day and about 150 archers participated. The location was Shibetsu Shrine, which is set in the beautiful forest covering  Mt. Tsukumo and dedicated to the kamisama (deity) Amaterasu-Omikami. Events began with a short service to the kamisama and included the main 8 arrow competition plus an ema plaque contest and a gold target contest. Anyway, half way through the competition they kindly served lunch to everyone. As you can see in my picture above, there were individual boxes of sekihan (adzuki rice) along with hot ozoni (a soup with mochi, chicken, and vegetables in it), tsukemono pickles, and soba tea. It was really tasty and more than I could finish. When we received the rice, it was wrapped in this paper:

In the center it says “onaorai”. To the right is a poem by the great Shinto theologian Motowori Norinaga, which basically gives thanks to Amaterasu and Toyouke (another deity) for the blessing of food. To the left reads an explanation of what “onaorai” means. It says:

The spirit of the deity fills the food offerings that were raised up to Her. In order to firmly take the holy spirit into ourselves, there is the “onaorai”, where we eat the leftover food and drink together with the deity. Let us receive with a grateful and joyful heart and partake in the bounty of the kamisama.

Eating with the gods is a fairly common part of a Shinto, and I think it is very interesting. In (Orthodox) Christianity, we have of course the Eucharist, in which the holy spirit is called down and then the bread and wine is considered the actually body of Christ. And many Christian churches have a “coffee hour” after the service at which everyone shares just normal food and drink. So it seems to me that onaori is a little like a combination of those. Of course, I am not Japanese, so I could be wrong. Either way, it was very nice.

During lunch, I sat near a kyudo teacher who complimented my correct handling of the soup bowl with chopsticks, but then scolded me for placing them on my rice container as they are in the picture above. They should be placed on the table, using folded paper as a chopstick rest. I was quite happy that he noticed, and was even more excited when we could share a mutual love for the above mentioned Motowori Norinaga.

Last, I wanted to mention the Lion Dance at the school festival was really amazing. Though I couldn’t get any good pictures…

  • キャベツとハムのスープ
  • たらこスパゲッティ
  • ポークウインナー
  • 背割りパン
  • 牛乳

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”

Bacon Cabbage Soup

May 1st, Tuesday:

  • Bacon Cabbage Soup (Cabbage, Bacon, Tomato)
  • Vermicelli Stir Fry (Rice Vermicelli, Pork, Onion, Carrot, Shimeji Mushroom, Bamboo Sprouts, Green Peppers)
  • Laver Chicken
  • Side-cut Bread
  • Milk

Note: Cabbage has plenty of vitamin C. When putting it in soup, both the flavour and the vitamin dissolves thoroughly in the soup.