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torakris

Japanese School lunches

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not all places have those options, it depends on where you live. Currently in Yokohama no jr. high schools offer hot lunches they are all bring your own bento, hopefully this will change by the time my daughter hits jr.high in 4 years! :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

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<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I loved school lunch...except for the disgusting milk.

I never felt the milk served at school lunch to be disgusting. It was our understanding that the milk was watered down. I'm not sure whether it was really watered down. Proccessed milk tastes different, doesn't it?

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Today, I asked my son what he thought about the school lunch. He says that the only thing that he dislikes about the school lunch is that the lunch period is too short for him to finish. He says he needs 30 minutes to finish his plate. He is really a slow eater, even at home.

The lunch period at my son's elementary school is 45 minutes from 12:10 to 12:55, but the actual eating period is 25 minutes:

- Preparations: 15 minutes from 12:10 to 12:25

- Start of eating (say "Itadakimasu") to end (say "Gochisousama"): 25 minutes from 12:25 to 12:50

- Toothbrushing and clearance: 5 minutes from 12:50 to 12:55

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History of school lunch in Japan:

In 1889, school lunch was first served for those pupils who could not take their lunches to school because of poverty in a private school in Yamagata prefecture.

http://www.nikonet.or.jp/~kana55go/rekisi/nirekisi.html

(Japanese only)

Rice balls, broiled fish, and tsukemono (pickles) were served at that time.

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In Japan, there are two types of school lunch systems:

自校方式 Jiko system (Lunch is made at the school)

センター方式 Center system (Lunch is made at a "center" and delivered to the school and other schools as well)

It's hard to say which is better, but I prefer the former. Shiozawa town, where I live, adopts the former system, but it may be replaced by the center system in the future. A special committee is currently discussing this matter.

An explanation of school lunch systems:

http://www1.jca.apc.org/kyusyoku/system/data1.html

(Japanese only)

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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?


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

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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.

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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.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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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.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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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:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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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.

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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?


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

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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.

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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

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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.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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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.

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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.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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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.

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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-nippo.co.jp/112/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.

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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.

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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.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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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 (log)

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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.

i5765.jpg

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.

i5769.jpg

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.

i5770.jpg

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....

i5767.jpg

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.

i5768.jpg

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.

i5771.jpg

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.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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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.

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