Today was a good old holiday, and at work we ate Tanabata school lunch. It’s the same thing as every year, but this is the first year where I’m imminently leaving my job while eating it. So it’s a lot more memorable than usual.
I haven’t posted a lot about my job on my blog. Until now, it’s mostly just been when I travel to weird places in Japan. Part of that is for privacy reasons, both for myself and of course for my workplaces. I’ll post a little bit more after I’m well and moved, but for now, we can have a tantalizing glimpse of my job through the lens of Tanabata school lunch.
What is Tanabata? It’s some Japanese holiday. I dunno, look it up yourself. One year, one of my schools did a silly school play where all the 5th graders reenacted the story for the rest of the school and did extremely hammy performances. And every year, people put up those dang wishes up everywhere. It’s not a day off and there aren’t any big festivals, in my city at least, but it’s still a pretty memorable day.
And what better way to celebrate a holiday than to have some Tanabata school lunch?
Tanabata School Lunch
You’ve got all the Japanese school lunch classics. A bowl of plain white rice, cold. (Sigh.) Then a carton of milk. A soup, a “salad,” and a main food. A bonus dessert, too. Only this time, it’s star-themed!
The soup is mostly mushroom and carrots, but it’s got some star-shaped mochi inside (sadly I forgot to take a picture). The salad thing is mostly leafy greens, bean sprouts, and a little tofu thing, or is it cheese, I dunno I just eat it. Then a mashed potato-filled croquet, in the shape of a star!
Not my favorite school lunch by any stretch (mine is those very rare Hayashi Stew days), but it’s still good, and way better than anything you get in America. It’s like restaurant food! But really cheap!
Then, of course, that final jelly (jello, more like), coming on right up.
It’s star-shaped, too, but it’s also divided up into layers. The flavor? Kinda… citrus-y, I guess? Hard to pin down when it was too small to soak in for long. Also, the paper spoons we use somehow reduce my tasting ability by at least 15%. We should really just use actual spoons…
Anyway, it was real nice. I’m glad I got to enjoy one last Tanabata school lunch with my students, and hopefully I’ll have it again somewhere else in the future.