Published: October 4th 2008October 4th 2008
Classic school lunch
Here we have your bowl of rice, salmon, veggies that tasted like freshly cut grass, something else, and milk
One of the best parts about living in Japan is that I can eat Japanese food everyday and not feel like I’m destroying my wallet or trying to impress a girl on a date. While the food remains “exotic”, it’s certainly not as “sexy” as it is in the US. And with a dearth of “ethnic” restaurants around, it’s clear that eating in Japan cannot be called “eating Japanese food”, because it’s all you’ve got.
Yes, Japanese people love their Japanese food. I’ve already told you about the Udon obsession in Kagawa, but when I’ve talked to Japanese people who have traveled abroad, most have said that they hated the food everywhere they’ve gone, and that it made their trip less enjoyable! I was shocked to hear this because, like other Americans, I love the food from other countries! Hell, that practically is the definition of American food! Of course, after being here for two months, it’s not hard to see why Japanese food is so beloved.
Even though my small apartment has a stovetop and refrigerator, I have yet to cook a meal (The main reason is because grocery shopping can get kind of frustrating when you can’t
More school lunch
I got a respite from rice and fish...Bread with jelly, soup du-jour, Japanese pickles, frozen dessert, and milk
read labels). I am lucky that as a teacher, I get the pleasure of eating school lunch (kyushoku) everyday, which provides me not only with a substantial and well-balanced meal for cheap, but also countless hilarious images and oddities that are imbedded in the school day. Here’s what school lunch looks like: a huge bowl of rice, some kind of fish (either baked, fried, pregnant, whole, dried), a poor attempt at veggies, soup du-jour, and a nice glass of whole-fat milk. It’s actually quite tasty (for school lunch) and very filling. The best part is watching the students serve the food to their classmates, saying “Itadakimassu!” (I’ll start) before eating and “Gochisosama deshita!” (It was a feast) when finished, and eating in complete silence.
For dinner, as I am eating by myself, I will usually stick to what’s cheap and convenient. This means that I head down to the local grocery store and pick up a box of sushi for about $4. I do this about 3 times a week. Jealous?
Now, for the sad part - there are days when I come home and I just can’t eat any more fish and rice. I can’t exactly bring
These are students, wearing surgical masks, caps, and aprons.
myself to buy groceries and cook a “comfort food” meal for myself. Sometimes, all I want is a burger and fries. And then…the unthinkable happens…and I find myself eating…
Yes, I am blessed and cursed with having a Golden Arches right next to my grocery store less than 2 minutes from my apartment. Before coming to Japan, I could probably count the number of times I’ve eaten McDonald’s over the past 5 years on one hand. I’ll admit that I’ve eaten more McDonald’s in the past 2 months than I have in the past 5 years. I know, I know. I’M IN JAPAN! JAPANESE FOOD!! I’m shocked with this too! But sometimes it’s the only thing that can satisfy a non-Japanese food craving. And, in case you’re wondering, it tastes exactly like McDonald’s back home.
I’ll conclude that so far the food here has been next to amazing! I really can’t think of a time when I’ve had a bad meal. Even the times when I had no idea what I was ordering, it has ended up being really tasty.
I guess that why the Japanese don’t like eating anything else!
There are more photos below