I’m being completely honest when I say that lunch time is my favourite part of the day. That’s partly because I get to spend 30 minutes looking at Newfoundland news websites “guilt”-free, but it’s mostly because I get to eat the school lunch.
My non-Japanese/non-JET friends may be thinking, ‘eww, school lunch? Isn’t that, like, inedible mush?’
Nope! Not in Japan!
The whole process behind the school lunch is pretty intense. Our school has a school nutritionist who plans each and every meal. She counts the calories, protein, and fat, and puts together a monthly menu of what we’ll have each day. Every day is different and there are no main entree repeats within a single month.
Our school has a large kitchen. Every day before 8am, the kitchen staff are already busy at work, handmaking each meal for all 500+ students and staff at my school.
The meals tend to be Japanese-style, and definitely not Western-style. We always either have a side of bread or rice. There is usually a miso soup or some other kind of soup. The main entree is usually a meat, and sometimes we’ll have a side of sauteed vegetables. Sometimes we’ll even get a little pudding for dessert! (Those are the best days.) And the milk – oh man, I’ve never drank anything like it before. I actually start to crave it! It’s not regular milk; it’s almost sweeter? Soooo gooooood. Too bad it has 8g of fat in that tiny 200g carton, though!
No matter what we have, the lunches are always delicious! It’s a lot of food, but I always clean my plates down to the last grain of rice.
I have yet to have something that I haven’t been able to eat, which is saying something for me because I’m not the most adventurous when it comes to food. That’ll tell you how good they are!
On the downside, the school lunches are not free – we do have to pay ¥320 ($3.20 CDN) for each meal. However, considering the size of the meal, how delicious they are, and the convenience of not having to make my own lunch every morning, it’s totally worth the ¥320!