Yukkuri Countdown JAPAN
Sunday, January 30, 2005

Last Monday, January 24, I decided to try the teachers' bento at visit school. I knew I was gonna try the students' school lunch on Friday, so I wanted to give the teachers' food a taste first. See, if I ended up liking the gakushoku enough I might never have another chance to try the teachers' bento.

I asked one of the JTEs how to order myself a bento for the day. She gave me an envelope to write my name on and put 400yen in. She showed me where the box for money envelopes was, and where to mark a little circle next to my name on the list of teachers. I didn't have exactly 400yen so I also wrote the amount I gave next to my name.

bundled in furoshiki
I've seen who I thought were the cafeteria ladies come into the staff room during the morning to collect the orders, then before lunchtime carry in these large bundles of bento boxes as well as the metal miso soup container. When all is delivered, they also return the stack of envelopes with any change due.

two parts bento
Not holding back, I went and opened up the furoshiki to get my bento before anyone else! I ladled some miso soup into my mug but was afraid to take too much even though everyday I see the last bit of miso soup left in the pot and eventually poured down the sink. There were a few types of flower designs to choose from but haibisukasu was quickly recognizable to me. I thought the writing in romaji was cute!

main bento
Here we are, marinated fish on shredded cabbage topped with ginger, mostly onion tempura, marinated diakon?, potato salad, nori?-battered deep-fried gyoza, ume? flavored pickled daikon. I'm not big on fish but I ate it and it tasted good. The fried tempura and gyoza were cold, as is expected in bento, but they were also very very oily. The gyoza had a lot of meaty filling but it didn't exactly taste good. The potato salad and side vegetables were good.

bento, rice and miso soup
The rice was hot. Those are black sesame seeds on top. It seemed like a lot of rice when I was eating it.

When you are finished eating, you put your bento boxes outside the door. I often see neat stacks of them against the wall on the ground. At some point they get picked up to be washed and used again. I had assumed that these bento were made in the school cafeteria but after eating in the cafeteria I thought I was wrong because this food was higher quality. After eating in the school cafeteria again and noticing the bento boxes, maybe they do make these bento there!
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Seize the food, for Japan is time-service only! In other words, this blog is to preserve, share, and make the most of my six months left living in Japan. Yes, I am obsessed with food. Cheap food!

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Location: Tokyo/Saitama, Japan

Life is short so I eat fast, lest it get cold or disappear. I'm currently teaching English in Japan for two years. I was born and raised in California, and will be returning there in Summer 2005. I was ovo-lacto-vegetarian for about seven years but decided to let it go during second year in Japan!

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