Milk to drink, a nice, big serving of rice, grilled or broiled fish a vinegary beansprout and vegetable salad, and another miso and veggie soup dish.

Kyuushoku (給食) – School Lunch

People seem fairly interested in the school lunches here when I post those photos on Facebook, so I thought I’d go ahead and make a full blog post about it. I have to say, I was a little worried about the school lunches before arriving in Kamiyama. Things I had read about Japanese school lunches on the internet made me unsure of how I’d react when I had to actually eat them. But now that I’m here and I’ve been eating at the various schools for a few months, I definitely enjoy them…most days.

It took me long enough, but I think I’ve sort of figured out the school lunch schedule here. On Mondays, I eat at one of the two kindergartens and I bring my own rice from home to go with lunch. Tuesdays and Thursdays are bread days at my two junior highs, and Wednesdays and Fridays are rice days at my two elementary schools. There is generally a main meat dish and one or more side dishes along with the rice or bread. Since the weather has started getting colder there are a lot more soups and stews…naturally.

As for the food itself, I am pretty open about what I’ll try. I like Japanese food quite a bit, but many of the dishes that I’ve eaten here I’d never seen or heard of in America. Many of the ingredients used are ones I really like, many I’ll tolerate, and a few I really just don’t like at all. High on my “don’t like” list is mushrooms, and unfortunately mushrooms are very popular here. I keep trying them and I keep not liking them. Oh well. Before coming here, I really wasn’t a fan of cabbage either, but that has changed significantly now. There is cabbage in some form in most of the school lunches, many of the meals at restaurants, and I’ve started liking it so much that we buy cabbage regularly to use at home. I think part of my problem with it was that when I was growing up, cabbage meant sauerkraut…and sauerkraut is pretty gross. But used fresh or in stir-fry or soup, it’s kind of delicious!

I haven’t remembered to take photos of lunch very often, but here are the ones I could find. I’ll probably take more photos in the future and will do a follow-up post when I have enough worth sharing. I hope you enjoy the food tour!

So yeah, that’s lunch. Not too bad at all and most meals are really tasty! I’m definitely eating lots of things I’ve never had before, learning new uses for foods I already liked, and learning to like things that I didn’t really care for before.

3 thoughts on “Kyuushoku (給食) – School Lunch”

  1. I don’t understand how this works. Do you just drop in and eat with the kids or is there a teacher/guest menu that is available to townspeople for purchase?

    Looks good.

    1. Brandon’s already gone to bed for the night, but I think I can answer. He is required to eat lunch with the students at the schools where he works. He eats the same things the students eat everyday. In Kamiyama, they have a central kitchen that cooks lunch and delivers it to the schools, so the menu is the same at all schools.

  2. Yep, like Becky said, all of the teachers eat with the students (in elementary school) or in the teachers’ office (in junior high). We get the same lunch that the students eat. So it’s just a little slice of Kamiyama life.

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