Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Jun 24, 2009

Lunch With Jade

Posted by Amami Superman

Today was a special day at my daughter's school. All the 2nd graders' parents were invited to go and eat lunch with their kids. My wife and I both went. Last year we weren't able to go for work reasons so we asked Jade's grandmother, Kaoru, to go. This was my first time and I was kind of excited.

At first they had all the parents gather in one big room to explain what rooms we were supposed to separate into. They then asked 20 of us to help bring the food from the kitchen. The menu for today was dry curry, naan, vegetable soup, milk and pumpkin pudding. I was one of the people who volunteered to go pick up the food from the kitchen and this is how they bring it to the individual rooms.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 280 -- EXIF
Food by the Buckets

I remember in school they wheeled in lunch carts that kept the food warm. Those were the lunch lady days. It reminds me of the song by Adam Sandler, Lunch Lady Land. This lunch line was just a bit shabby, though. I've never been in the service or prison, but would it be something like this? LOL, I don't know.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Don't forget your plastic gloves.

One of the cool things I like about the schools in Japan is they make the students do most of the work. From serving lunch to cleaning, they have the students take turns doing the work. I don't even think they have janitors at my daughter's school.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 -- EXIF
No Chocolate Milk?

I remember they gave us the choice between regular milk or chocolate in elementary school. I don't remember if it was everyday, but I remember they had chocolate milk and sometimes cinnamon squares if we were lucky.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Jade and Her Lunch

All the 6th graders are on a field trip to Kagoshima so we got to use their rooms on the 3rd floor to eat in. Jade's classroom was on the second floor so I went downstairs to see her. It wasn't until afterward that I noticed her shirt collar all messed up.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/60 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200 -- EXIF
Jade and Her Classmates

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 400 -- EXIF
The Parents' Lunch Line

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 400 -- EXIF

"Itadakemasu" directly translates to "I humbly partake." If you say, "It's a dirty mouse." fast enough, it sounds like you're saying "itadakemasu".

The man sitting next to Jade is Hikari's cousin, Chikara. The lady and boy on the other side of the table is Chikara's wife and son, Etsuko and Naoki. Naoki was born three days before Jade and my wife and Etsuko shared the same room when they were in the hospital together. Jade was actually 10 days late and Naoki was a few days early if I remember correctly.

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 400 -- EXIF

Here it is. I've heard of dry curry plenty of times, but I'm not exactly sure what it is. Is it curry that isn't as soupy as regular curry?

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/30 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250 -- EXIF
Yesterday's meatloaf is today's...

The food and utensils really made it feel like a prison meal. I've never had one, but if I had to imagine one, this is what I would imagine.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 -- EXIF
Get Bent

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 400 -- EXIF
Taking Her Sweet Time

Jade is nutorious for taking her time eating lunch. No matter how much we get after her, it still takes her forever. I really don't think it's because she doesn't like the food, she just eats slow.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 -- EXIF
Waiting for Jade to finish...

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/100 sec, f/2.2, ISO 400 -- EXIF
"gochisousama deshita"

When you finish your food and leave the table you say "gochisousama deshita". I'm not exactly sure how to directly translate it to English, but a nuance of it would be "Thanks for all the delicious food."

After that, Jade had to go back to her classroom so we helped clean up a little then headed home. Today reminded me a bunch of when I went to elementary school. What I wouldn't give for some macaroni & cheese with little smokies in it. Mmmmmm smokies...


Jeffrey Friedl said...

I just love this kind of post, sharing a glimpse of family life in a place far away!

My Dad visited Japan in the 70s, and remembered "itadakimasu" as "Eat the Docky Moss". He can still remember it that way.

The shot of all the kids is just wonderful, and about her collar... well, there will be a time when she cares way too much about those things, so enjoy the care-free time now. (my Anthony, one year behind her, doesn't really care whether a shirt is inside out or backwards, but has some strong sense that some clothes are or aren't "cool", so we butt heads on that sometimes.)

In my experience with my extended family here in Japan, after eating out, "gochisousama deshita" seems to mean "thank you for treating us!", because last person left not having said it gets stuck with the bill.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what you're talking about. The food looks good!

I love how they educate kids in Japan. American kids could use some of these lessons for sure.

Anonymous said...

Wow, they provided Indian naan and curry to kids in Japan. This is amazing example of globalization! Kids should taste and try different foods that's my thought. Thanks for sharing this!

optimaforever said...

doumo arigatou for sharing this experience, earnest.
the pics are talking by themselves, and the general mood is stressfree, so the photographer must be good at making people comfortable.
I live in Belgium but here preschools aren't that organized. very cute, your daughter btw ;-)

Anonymous said...

Globalization? Japanese have been doing kareraisu (Curry rice) seems I can't even remember and I'm in my late 30s... I would say at least a 100 years they do it! My mum and grand mother were doing it in their youth!

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