Thursday, October 29, 2009

sexy body

It just doesn't get better than that. A fat, bespectacled little 9 year old boy standing on his desk next to mine, pulling off his shirt (that lands in my soup), rubbing his belly asking me "sexy body?!!" Only, it sounds like "se-ku-shee boo-dee?" The perfect lunch time entertainment.

How do you answer that question anyway? If you say yes, you're obviously a creepy pervert, but no just lowers this poor fat boy's self-esteem further.

Such kōans you'll find only here on According to Wikipedia, "English-speaking non-Zen practitioners sometimes use kōan to refer to an unanswerable question or a meaningless statement. However, in Zen practice, a kōan is not meaningless, and teachers often do expect students to present an appropriate response when asked about a kōan."


In the meantime, please vicariously enjoy this food I had today. It was PTA day so they made it extra nutritious and Japanese to impress the parents, I think. It was tasty.

[clockwise from rice]

- rice (gohan ご飯)
- miso soup (sumashi jiru すまし汁)
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- grilled mackerel & japanese vegetables
(saba no misodarekake さばのみそだれかけ)

And yesterday's:

[clockwise from stew]

- "autumn" stew (aki no shichū のシチュー)
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- seaweed salad
(kaisou iri sarada 海草 入りサラダ)
- wheat germ toast (haiga tōsuto 胚芽トースト)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Hey there, fancy kyuushoku fans! Sorry, I've been real busy and haven't been able to upload new photos. So here are SEVEN new lunches. Unfortunately this month the schools have slacked off and not given me a copy of the menus, therefore the photos are unlabeled. If you are dying to know what something is, just ask ;-)

I'll spare you the witty commentary for now, things have been business as usual. I am still being asked very hilarious and strange and beautiful questions from children, such as "Have you seen a rocket," "Do you masturbate," "What's your favorite shape," "Do you like the Tokyo Tower," "What sort of thing makes you feel good," "How much can you eat," "What do you look for in women," and it's opposite, "Are you divorced" . . . I'm also compiling a list of awkward English words on t-shirts, it seems the younger the child, the more nonsensical the English. Then again, living here is certainly deteriorating my Engrish ;-(

As for the delicious school lunch, here goes:

Monday, October 5, 2009

west meets east

These three lunches are good examples of how Japanese cooking has assimilated other cultures' food throughout history:

We start with Japanese style "curry rice," which has its curious origins in the British navy, who of course got it from India. Apparently the Japanese navy adopted it from the British navy in the late 1800s. Huh. It's much thicker and sweeter than the Indian version, and also is served with sticky Japanese rice--not basmati--often with pickles and a cutlet on top. Different, but very, very delicious. In fact, curry rice is consistently picked as the favorite kyuushoku when I poll kids about it. (Normally the curry and the rice are separated half/half on the plate, but they just piled it on top here.) It's a lot healthier with all the vegetables too...

[clockwise from curry-rice]

- curry rice
(karē raisu カレーライス)
- orange jelly (orenji zeri オレンジゼリ)
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- "cheese" salad
(chiizu iri sarada チーズ入りサラダ)


In that fried fish below, we have an example of tempura, which was adopted in the mid 1500s (!) from Portuguese Catholic missionaries. By now of course it's become Japanese, but still people often refer to it as "yoshoku," or foreign cuisine.

[clockwise from rice]

- rice (gohan ご飯)
- boiled vegetables (yude yasai ゆで野菜)
- ?? tempura (?? てんぷら)
- milk
(gyuunuu 牛乳)
- meat and potato stew (niku jaga じゃが)


And finally the beloved thick (Texas) style toast. I don't know where this is supposed to be from. America? I've seen it covered with sesame butter, cheese, tuna-mayonnaise , and now pizza-esque toppings! It was so home-style and delicious! (Although it looks pretty horrible ;-)). Served with a simple (mostly cabbage) vegetable soup, and fresh pear. Oishii!

[clockwise from pizza-toast]

- pizza toast
(piza tōsuto ピザトースト)
- pear
(nashi 梨)
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- vegetable soup
(yasai no sūpu 野菜のスープ)