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Japanese School lunches


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#31 hillvalley

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 12:07 PM

I want to teach in Japan


I wonder how feasible it would be to run a lunch service like this in a US school. If it was cost efficient I could see a charter or private school trying it.

Do the schools receive any funding from the government?
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#32 Hiroyuki

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 02:13 PM

Shiozawa town elementary schools receive a total of 6 million yen as a subsidy for rice from JA (Japan Agriculture) Shiozawa and Shiozawa town. I don't know whether they receive any subsidy from the government. I'll post more specific data later.

#33 torakris

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 03:49 PM

HHmmmm...
I am not sure about if there is government funding or not. :blink:

I pay 3700yen ($34) per child a month and I am not sure if that is all food costs or aloso goes to pay the 4 women responsible for making all the food. Our food is all made in house for just under 1000 kids.

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#34 Pan

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 03:55 PM

That price is really very little, just a little over $1/day. I'll bet you'd pay more for the ingredients in a lunch you made yourself.

#35 torakris

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:04 PM

Hiroyuki,
Looking back at your menu I noticed that you have rice almost everyday, is this the average? At our school is set up to have bread 3 times a week and rice only twice.
Most of the rice is either haiga gohan (rice with the germ still attached) or mugi gohan (barley rice), this month they have only one day of "white" rice and then one day with bamboo shoot (takenoko) rice.

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#36 torakris

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:08 PM

That price is really very little, just a little over $1/day. I'll bet you'd pay more for the ingredients in a lunch you made yourself.

especially preparing a Japanese bento.....

This is really a great help to mothers and my kids love the food. My super picky oldest daughter has also learned to love natto, she still won't eat it at home but she eats all of it at school. :blink:

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#37 Hiroyuki

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:26 PM

That price is really very little, just a little over $1/day. I'll bet you'd pay more for the ingredients in a lunch you made yourself.

No, no. The school lunch at my son's school costs 254 yen per meal. As for Torakris's child, it is 220 yen, according to Torakris's previous post.

#38 hillvalley

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:27 PM

That price is really very little, just a little over $1/day. I'll bet you'd pay more for the ingredients in a lunch you made yourself.

especially preparing a Japanese bento.....

This is really a great help to mothers and my kids love the food. My super picky oldest daughter has also learned to love natto, she still won't eat it at home but she eats all of it at school. :blink:

They get natto at school!!!! How? That's so cool.

Please tell me they do not have to open enough small containers to get natto for 1000 kids. Does it come in big quantities?
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#39 Hiroyuki

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:34 PM

Looking back at your menu I noticed that you have rice almost everyday, is this the average?

A good question. Yes. In April, a total of 17 meals are served, of which:

Rice: 13
Udon (Japanese wheat noodles): 1
Bread: 2
Chinese noodles: 1

At my son's school, school lunch began in 1962. "Rice school lunch" (米飯給食)began in 1979. And, finally, Koshihikari rice school lunch began in April 1992. The Lunch Room was built in November 1992.

#40 hillvalley

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:36 PM

Are rice school lunches uncommon? I am surprised so much bread is eaten at your school torakris.

Does the quality of lunch vary from the area to area?
Are the lunches better in some areas because they are wealtheir?
Do you try to get into a school because they are known for the lunches?
True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.
It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,
but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

#41 torakris

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:37 PM

That price is really very little, just a little over $1/day. I'll bet you'd pay more for the ingredients in a lunch you made yourself.

No, no. The school lunch at my son's school costs 254 yen per meal. As for Torakris's child, it is 220 yen, according to Torakris's previous post.

sorry I should also have mentioned that we pay the same amount every month regardless of how many lunches are eaten that month, so the $34 is probably the average taken from over the year. They did tell us the exact amount per lunch but I have forgotten, I will find out again when I go to sample the lunch next month, because the mothers have to pay for the food the day that we eat it.

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#42 helenjp

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 04:40 PM

Hmmm...I tossed out last year's school payment schedule and have not got the new one yet, but I remember being told something like 300-350 yen per child per meal, and that that was a "cost-only" price...and that's roughly what I recall the monthly fees to be. I have yet to see what we need to pay for middle school lunches :sad:

Our local elementary has roughly 2 rice meals for every bread/noodles meal averaged out over the month.

#43 torakris

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 05:08 PM

Are rice school lunches uncommon? I am surprised so much bread is eaten at your school torakris.

Does the quality of lunch vary from the area to area?
Are the lunches better in some areas because they are wealtheir?
Do you try to get into a school because they are known for the lunches?

I guess the amount of rice served depends on the area? The lunch my children eat is what is served at every public elementary school in the city of Yokohama. The menu is decided by nutrionists for the city and all the schools serve the same food.

When my husband when to school in Tokyo in the mid '70's he said it was almost entirely bread, the only time rice was served was when they had curry rice.

Your school is decided by the district you live in, it is almost impossible (at least in my area) to get into a different public school. One thing I really like about Japan is you don't really have the "good" neighborhoods and "bad" neighborhoods like you see in the US. Here it is actually quite common to see a $3 million house standing right next to a very old apartment building though most tends to be quite middle class.
Many of the richer kids will go into private schools which despite their incredibly high tuition serves no hot lunches, almost all private schools are bentos daily.

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#44 Hiroyuki

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 05:49 AM

My super picky oldest daughter has also learned to love natto:

Oh, yes. That's the miracle of school lunch. This happens to my son and daughter, too. Eating in a group has such a miracluous effect on most children. Yet, there are always all those picky boys and girls... Well, that's another matter. We shouldn't "force" them to eat what they don't like. They should be given freedom of choice. I really think so. This is exactly what is lacking in school lunch systems in Japan.

#45 Hiroyuki

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 02:07 PM

Shiozawa town elementary schools receive a total of 6 million yen as a subsidy for rice from JA (Japan Agriculture) Shiozawa and Shiozawa town.  I don't know whether they receive any subsidy from the government.  I'll post more specific data later.

Under the School Lunch Law, enacted in 1954, the government may subsidize part of the expense of the facilities required to establish a school lunch system in a public or private school for compulsory education. For example, subsidies are provided to those schools wishing to switch from a "jiko" system to a "center" system, and there was a 10% subsidy for toh-itsu-mai (統一米), literally, unified rice, until 1999, when it was abolished.

School Lunch Law:
http://www.houko.com/00/01/S29/160.HTM
(Japanese only)
Related story (2nd story):
http://www.niigata-n...2/sasakami.html
(Japanese only)

Shiozawa town stopped the use of unified rice in 1992, switching to Koshihikari rice produced in that town. Shiozawa town and the Shiozawa Agricultural Cooperative (JA Shiozawa) equally make up the difference between unified rice and Shiozawa-produced Koshihikari rice, which amounts to 6,564,710 yen in 2003. Considering the number of elementary and junior high school students, 1,333 + 659 = 1992 (in 2002), this translates into 3,295 yen per student.

#46 Kim WB

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 02:32 PM

I wonder how feasible it would be to run a lunch service like this in a US school. If it was cost efficient I could see a charter or private school trying it.

Certainly the food selections are different, but the schools in my area, public and private. offer simialir variety: today Private HS'er had bagel with PB, chix parmigiana, and watermelon. He always has avail a potato bar, salad bar, stir fry bar, and rice or plain pasta. Public Jr High had "hot" lunch choice, which was rigatoni with meatballs, salad and bread pudding, or "cold" which was turkey on pita with cukes,carrots and ranch dressing, plus pinneaple...and then there is always chef's salad, PBJ, bagels and CC and ham sandwiches. I think these choices are prevelant in many suburban areas of the scountry.

#47 torakris

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 10:07 PM

My daughter came home from school today with an paper detailing all the yearly expenses at school, the school lunch fee was listed as 230yen ($2.12) per meal.

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#48 Hiroyuki

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:42 AM

Last week's menu at my daughter's public nursery school (April 12 to 16):

Mon: Grilled meat (pork?) with sesame seed sauce, wakame (type of sea plant) soup, vegetables marinated in Japanese style, iyokan (orange-like fruit);
Oyatsu (snack served at about 3 o'clock): Corn flakes
Tues: Ha-ppoh-sai (Chinese stir-fry vegetables), vegetables marinated in miso and sesame seeds, boiled beans, strawberries;
Oyatsu: Hand-made jerry
Weds: Pork bowl, spinach miso soup, macedoine (diced vegetable?) salad, banana;
Oyatsu: Milk, jam bread
Thurs: Ma bo dofu, sarusame (bean-starch vermicelli) salad, floury potatoes, strawberries;
Oyatsu: Milk, ajiro-yaki (rice crackers shaped like fish, peculiar to Niigata)
Fri: Hand-made satsumaage (fried fish ball), daikon soup, cabbage marinated with sesame seeds, iyokan (orange-like fruit);
Oyatsu: Milk, hot cake (pan cake)

I don't know the cost per meal.

What do you think?

***
No rice is served, except for classes for children less than three years old. Children in other classes must take a lunch box containing only rice with them.

Edited by Hiroyuki, 20 April 2004 - 02:46 PM.


#49 hillvalley

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 03:31 PM

I finally remembered to take my camera to school for lunch today. Of the seven students I have 5 lunches. My gourmet lunch kid, (who always has a small, beautiful salad, some kind of fruit, and a healthy sweet) had a wrap and I forgot to take a pic. The other student had a hot dog heated in the microwave and a juice box. He has had this lunch every day for about 3 months. Before that is was turkey on white with no condiments.

At my school the students have to bring their own lunch every day. Free milk is provided through some govt. program. I have one kid who drinks it. Twice a week the high school sell pizza and once a week one of the middle school classes sells nachos. At least 1/3 of my class (9 students) always buys pizza a nachos.

This week and next week we have two class birthdays and their parents are having pizza delivered for lunch. That means some kids will have pizza for lunch three days out of five.


Posted Image

The evil Lunchable. Prepackaged chemicals for lunch in a box. This one makes pizza, but there are others with lunch meats and cheese or tuna fish. I use the word food very loosely with these things. They always come with a fruit flavored juice and a dessert.

I have one student (Eric) who has this every single day. About once every few months he will buy nachos. Twice he has had leftover chicken fingers from Bob Evans (a chain restaurant). Otherwise it is an off brand version. Compared to Eric's lunchable, this one is gourmet.

Posted Image

This is the evil Lunchable. The pizza "dough" is on the right. There are three circles, smaller than a CD, that are similar to dried out white bread. The tomato sauce is next to the dough, in the top right corner. On the bottom right corner is dessert, a mini Nestle's Crunch bar. On the left side there are two types of cheese (that's why it's gourmet). Yellowish white and orange. I assume it's mozzerrella and cheddar. In the upper left corner is the drink. I think it is a fruit punch Capri-sun (a pouch drink that is about twice the size of a juice box).

The generic lunchable doesn't even come with real cheese. Instead the cheese is in a pouch. It reminds me of nacho cheese. The cheeze is squirted onto the tomoto sauce.


Posted Image

Sprry about this shot, but the light in my room is awful and I was shooting white food on a white plate. That's the pizza made. Ewww

Onto the rest of the lunches....

Posted Image

Frozen fried chicken TV dinner with the BIG Capri-sun, mashed potatoes and corn. Next to the Capri-Sun is a cup of cheese balls (he did't get snack). Last is an applesauce cup, brought from home. The kid also brought a honey bun for dessert. By the end of lunch he was pissed at me because I made him eat all his corn before the honey bun. It was less than a 1/4.

Posted Image

This kid's parent are from a warm tropical country and his lunches usually reflect that. Lots of leftovers from dinner the night before. Or pizza. This is chicken in some kind of gravy over rice with a small ear of frozen corn. He also had a banana.

Posted Image

Last but not least.....the "I forgot my lunch at home" lunch. The one day, all school year, that Eric forgets his Lunchable and it's today. So he got melted cheddar in pita. He was lucky there was cheese in the classroom fridge (not common in America) left over from making Quesadillas in cooking. The pita came from a co-teacher, but I think she has a bag of it in the fridge (and it's not on her no carb diet :wink: ) He also got carrott sticks, a container of apple sauce and a fruit roll up. There were lots of jealous ooohhhhhhs when he got the fruit roll up.

I jokingly gave Eric a hard time for forgetting his lunch on today of all days. He is one of the few kids in my class who understands teasing and joking, so he gets a lot of it. Anyway, when I came around to his plate he had made his lunch into a smile :smile:

By they way, my lunch was an Honest Tea and a bag of french fries. My kids begged all of lunch for them, but I wasn't in a sharing mood :raz:
True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.
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#50 mags

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 04:01 PM

Hillvalley,

Meaning no disrespect to you or your kids at all, those lunches really trouble me, and are a pretty solid indication of why the Japanese lunches sound so appealing. The lunches you describe are based on large quantities of sugar and starch, with very little (if any) solid protein and virtually no fresh fruits or vegetables. I don't want to embark on a flame war with anyone, but I can't see that it's healthy for kids -- or for their future waistlines and blood-sugar counts -- to be eating lunches of processed cheese, honey buns, canned corn, white bread, and "fruit-flavored" drinks. Actually, I think it's a disaster.

#51 hillvalley

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 04:21 PM

Hillvalley,

Meaning no disrespect to you or your kids at all, those lunches really trouble me, and are a pretty solid indication of why the Japanese lunches sound so appealing. The lunches you describe are based on large quantities of sugar and starch, with very little (if any) solid protein and virtually no fresh fruits or vegetables. I don't want to embark on a flame war with anyone, but I can't see that it's healthy for kids -- or for their future waistlines and blood-sugar counts -- to be eating lunches of processed cheese, honey buns, canned corn, white bread, and "fruit-flavored" drinks. Actually, I think it's a disaster.

mags, no offense taken at all. I completely agree with you. My students eat more processed or refined "food" than you can imagine. With a couple of exceptions, the lunches my students eat make me very sad. There is no food in their food.

What's worse, we have proven this year that if you introduce kids to real, good food they will eat it. This year my students have tried cucumber sushi, nori, pomegranite, charoset, Nuttella, dulce de leche and kimchi. Most were huge hits. They now beg and plead for sushi. On all star days they get Nuttella on saltines.

Unfortunately these kids come from backgrounds where the processed junk is king. It's cheap, lasts longer and takes little effort. But that's another thread.
True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.
It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,
but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

#52 Hiroyuki

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 05:12 PM

I finally remembered to take my camera to school for lunch today.

First of all, thank you SO MUCH for taking all those pictures.

I'd like to make a comment later.

Today, I'd like to post this one:

***
In Shiozawa town, like many other local governments throughout Japan, efforts are under way to provide school students with "safe" farm products grown locally, that is, right here in Shiozawa town, with minimum amounts of agricultural chemicals.
The following lists the farm and other products used in school lunches in Shiozawa town that come from farmers and producers in Shiozawa town:

Rice (Shiozawa-produced Koshihikari rice), negi (leek), spinach, komatsuna (type of green leaves), asparagus, edible wild plant (kogome, kinome, and fukinoto), potato, satoimo (aroid?), corn, soy bean, eggplant, aona (type of green leaves, 青菜), onion, daikon (Japanese radish), pumpkin, mushroom (shimeji, maitake, and enoki), namasu uri (Spaghetti squash), miso (fermented soybean paste), namban miso (spicy miso)
***

Seven students?? :blink:

Edited by Hiroyuki, 21 April 2004 - 05:13 PM.


#53 torakris

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 02:43 PM

My 3 year old son has just started kyushoku (school lunch) at his preschool/kindergarten. This is a private school and the hot lunch is brought to the school just before serving and it is served in the same style as the elementary schools with the kids donning white smocks and hats and dishing it out to each other.

The kids at this school eat a school lunch 3 times a week, take a bento from home one day a week, and have a half every Weds so they leave at 11:30 and eat lunch at home. I am not sure of the price per meal here, I think it is higher than the elementary school, from this year we will start paying for the meals separately (before it was included in the tuition) so I guess I will find out soon.

Here is the first week of meal at his school:

onigiri, chicken karaage (fried chicken), salad, greens with sesame sauce, tomato, jello like dessert

napolitan spaghetti, sausages, salad, fruit, more of the jellied stuff

inarizushi, futomaki,, simmered satstumaimo (Japanese sweet potato), greens with sesame sauce, chicken nugget, more jellied stuff

sandwiches (cheese, egg, jam--not all together!), vegetable soup, daigaku-imo (deep fried Japanese sweet potatoes coated with a sugar sryup) chicken nuggets, fruit

bamboo shoot rice, ebi-furai (breaded deep fried shrimp), tuna salad, ohitashi of greens, fruit

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#54 Hiroyuki

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 05:52 PM

hillvally,

Most of the lunches shown in your photos are much more like "oyatsu" in Japanese, snack given to children around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, kinds of food that Japanese parents will not allow their children to eat as meals.
Isn't the TV dinner in the fourth photo too much for a child of eight to ten years old?
I think that the lunch in the fifth photo is the best of all, but I don't like its appearance. They could make it look more appetizing, don't you think? Or, am I mistaken? It may have been beautifully decorated at first.
Any Japanese parent would be inclined to question the kid's parents, starting with "How dare you?". I guess that Japanese parents (usually mothers) would get up 20 or 30 minutes earlier than usual to make an acceptable lunch for their children rather than to have them eat junk food for lunch.

I thought about those lunches on and off all day yesterday. What I came to my head was:
1) In Japan, kyushoku 給食, the school lunch system, is considered part of education. Do you have that notion in your country?
2) I hate the all-embracing term "junk food". There are many bad junk foods but that there are some very good ones, too.
For instance, I like the various types of snack produced by Calbee in Japan
http://www.yasai-sna...ducts/index.htm
because they contain several types of vegetables.
I wonder if you could talk the kids' parents into switching to such "healthier" junk foods.
3) I wonder if you can introduce a rice cooker into your classroom and have your students cook rice, say, once a week, twice a week, to teach them how to take a meal the Japanese way: eating cooked rice, "okazu" (side dish), and soup in a BALANCED MANNER.

#55 Sleepy_Dragon

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 06:59 PM

I wish we could have gotten lunches like these. They sound delicious.

I'm a child of the New York City school lunch program, and that was pretty bad not just because of the constant hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets (though they at least tried to give us one small apple or orange with each meal, but sometimes that was a syrupy canned fruit snack instead) but I was also a student during the NYC school lunch scandal years, where tons of food up to 5 years past its expiration date was used for student lunches. Posted Image

Anyway, no, it's not good for kids in the US to be eating that kind of processed food, not with their taste buds developing. It makes them accustomed to refined and processed things, and when they get older, I think they will lose most desire to eat anything else, to the detriment of everyone, not just themselves.

Pat
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#56 therese

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 08:32 PM

The hideously bad food served in American schools is a reflection of the hideously bad food that is consumed by the majority of American adults. Poor choices by the parents, but the combination of advertising directed at kids (even my daughter coveted Lunchables---I got one for her to try and she found it disgusting), the ready availability of poor quality processed food (I can barely stand to shop at usual grocery stores here---aisle after aisle of inedible crap), and the relative difficulty of sourcing high quality food yields the present state of affairs.

There's also the distinct possibility that some of these mothers work outside the home, making shopping and meal preparation that much more problematic.

My kids do eat the school lunches (we live in Atlanta)---I'll see if I can track down this week's menu.
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#57 therese

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 08:42 PM

Tomorrow's menu for middle schools in Dekalb County, GA:

Choose one:

Fish nuggets/cornbread (this fish is fried)
Barbecue on bun (shredded pork in a spicy tomato sauce)
Grilled cheese sandwich

Choose three:

Potato wedges
Vegetable soup
Fruit cocktail
Creamy coleslaw
Fresh fruit

With:

Mini ice cream treat
Choice of milk (so chocolate milk is presumably an option, though I don't know for sure)

There are also "grab and go" options of char-broiled chicken chef salad or turkey and cheese chef salad (these are large salads that serve as the entire meal).

Virtually none of this food is truly prepared on site---it all arrives either frozen or canned. It costs $1.55/day. You get what you pay for.
Can you pee in the ocean?

#58 Berlinsbreads

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 10:12 PM

I just ran across this thread and found it fascinating. I am constantly disgusted and truly worried when I read or hear about what our youth are eating for their daily lunches in the US.

Those Japanese lunches sound wonderful---not only for the food content but because of the what I think might be the philosophy about the lunches and food.
Someone in the thread said that school lunches in Japan are considered part of the curriculum and therefore they are respected. In some ways I think that in the US we find whatever "food" is the most cost effective that will "fill the void" of children's hunger. The pictures of the lunchables, etc, from the US teacher are a very familiar site for US lunches.

I work at a private, parent-run school in the US and one of the big reasons I work so hard for my children to attend this school is because of the philosophies surrounding the children's food and lunches. Children there are happy to find sushi or nori in their lunch or other healthy foods rather than passing around cheetos or bragging about what prize or treat they have in their Lunchables or guzzling soda. Yes, we do have a few Lunchables that show up but for the most part that's not the norm. It's a very important topic for me.

#59 Sleepy_Dragon

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 10:20 PM

Yeah, it is important, and I also like how the kids in Japan take turns serving the lunches too, rather than thinking they are above such work. And therefore, above the people who do it.

I'm sure that's all rather idealistic of me, and the reality is not like that 100% of the time, but still, it seems like a good start, social contract and everything.

Pat
"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

#60 Hiroyuki

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 12:10 AM

I know no systems are perfect, but I think the school lunch systems in Japan are among the best that you can think of, especially those in rural areas like my town, where locally grown safe farm products are used whenever possible. (This is rather off-topic, but a lot of efforts are being made in Japan these days toward "jisan jisho" 地産地消, or "local production for local consumption", and these efforts are compatible with the need for safe farm products for use in school lunches.)

Sadly, though, the exemplary school lunch system in Shiozawa town is threatened--as I briefly mentioned in my previous post, a special committee is discussing a switch from the existing "jiko" system to a "center" system. According to a town councilor, the committee is split into two: those in favor of privatization, placing priority to cost reduction and efficiency, and those placing priority to food safety and "shokuiku" 食育 (literally, "education in eating") plus those promoting "jisan jisho" of farm products. The committee is scheduled to release a report in late April. I'd like to post a summary of the report when it is released.