Japan has granted me the opportunity to experience school lunch in a third country, on a third continent (depending on how you classify The Americas, that is).
Weekdays in Japan I eat lunch at one of two junior high schools – the Japanese know this lunch as kyushoku (給食).
I eat alongside Japanese students who are required to eat all of their lunch (literally, all of it), and drink a small bottle of milk (the penalty for not finishing your food is still a mystery, but my money is on a stern yelling at).
That being said, I too am expected to eat every last dried fish or mystery pickled vegetable on my plate(s).
I choose my lunches a month in advance (there are four options per day), and due to my poor Japanese, what I can expect for lunch is always a mystery (basically the same feeling you get when you order something at McDonald’s).
When I show up outside the lunchroom, 90% of the students will be in line for one of the lunch options – this is how I know whether or not I have chosen the correct lunch each day (I have yet to get a student to trade with me post-lunch-retrieval).
So what are the children of Japan (or more specifically the children of Fukui) being fed on a daily basis?
If you guessed, “Japanese food”, you aren’t racist, you’re correct!
See if you can figure out what everything (anything) is – I usually can’t (even after eating it), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t (sometimes) delicious.