Thursday, November 19, 2009

it's official

Hello there friends. I had quite an exciting week in kyushoku land--on Monday one of my schools was chosen as the site of an English workshop for an entire ward of Tokyo. So that meant one of my music-filled English classes was on display for about 100 Japanese and foreign teachers and a panel from the Japanese Board of Education. Imagine my heartburn. The class itself went pretty well, I didn't scream at or throttle any of the children. Victory! The "workshop" afterward was more harrowing, basically all the teachers and experts then dissected my class and teaching style. All the while I had to sit at the front table next to all the Bigwig Public School Directors and I even had a little name card and had to make an impromptu speech ENTIRELY IN JAPANESE. It's kind of funny how that happened, because I a) have no experience teaching in Japan and b) cannot give formal speeches in Japanese. Somehow we all got through it, and as a reward I got a very nice kyuushoku (see Monday). Boiled gyoza with a nice daikon radish salad!

Since I'm very tired now, I'll spare the details and just post photos. That's what we all want to see anyway, right?





Wednesday, November 11, 2009

fried wonders!

Below you see the kids made me a fancy sign yesterday to go with my delicious lunch. "Youkoso" (ようこそ) means "welcome." Aww shucks. Actually the table I sat at was a group of sophisticated girls who needed to know every breathless detail about my love life. In contrast, today a different class spent the entire lunch period showing me all the weird/gross shit they could do, mostly bending their fingers all crazy-like and flipping back their eyelids. I have to say both groups were equally charming.

As for the food, it was a delicious week: Fried fish! Fried noodles and fried egg! Fried croquettes! Fried anything is so undeniably good. And in Japan it's done nice and light, not oily or anything.

[clockwise from rice]

- rice (gohan ごはん)
- potato stew (jagaimo no nimono じゃがいもの煮物)
- fried fish (tatsutaage たつたあげ)
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- miso soup
(miso shiru 味噌汁)

[clockwise from noodles]

- fried noodles (yakisoba 焼きそば)
- apple (ringo りんご)
- fried egg (tamagoyaki
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- seaweed soup (wakame sūpu わかめ スープ)

[clockwise from rice]

- rice (gohan ごはん)
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- sauteed cabbage
(kyabetsu sotē キャベツソテー )
- croquette (bīnzu korokke ビーンズコロッケ )
- egg drop soup (tamago sūpu スープ)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

school assembly magic

For some reason I was made to perform for the school assembly today. The principal just kind of told me when I showed up in the morning. I think they must have run out of assembly ideas. So to spite them I played some real crazy free improv, like hitting the keys with my elbows and screaming into the strings of the piano, etc. Nice! I wish I could have gotten a video of that. Needless to say I got absolutely zero reaction from the teachers and children afterward. Let's see if I get fired. Well, at least the food was good...

[clockwise from the toast]

- almond toast
(āmondo tōsuto アーモンドトースト)
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- corn salad
(kōn iri sarada コーン入りサラダ)
- pork 'n beans (pōku bīnzu ポークビーンズ)

[clockwise from rice]

- rice (gohan ごはん)
- orange (mikan みかん)
- tofu hamburg (tofu hanbāgu 豆腐ハンバーグ)
- boiled butter potatoes (jagaimo no batāniじゃがいものバター煮)
- milk (gyuunuu 牛乳)
- miso soup
(miso shiru 味噌汁)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Q-shoku reading

For any kyuushoku fans wondering what kyuushoku is exactly (not just the food but the cultural issues surrounding it) -- here is a great article I found in the Japan Times by Roger Pulvers. It gives probably the best description of kyuushoku I've found to date, as well as a passionate and enthusiastic defense.

In fact, the Japan Times carried a few other great articles as well, a basic Q&A, as well as a fascinating one by Alice Gordenker. Here's just a small sample of what she had to say regarding the pedagogical aspects of kyuushoku:

This meal is the basis for lunchtime instruction, which is why Japanese educators sometimes speak of school lunch as "a living textbook." The teacher stays with the class and eats the same lunch, talking to the children about nutrition, good eating habits and the foods in that day's meal. The lunchtime lesson is called kyushoku shido and is part of the school curriculum.

Although that's the ideal, I've found the wholesome lessons of school lunch vary by teacher and by grade (younger ones tend to get more instruction in this regard). But all and all, something worth considering!