Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lunch at a Japanese School

So, I teach at a local Japanese elementary school, duh! Last week I took some pictures of the kids eating lunch. Japanese lunchtime is much, much different than American lunch time. Here are the differences:

1. No cafeteria or lunch room in the school; instead, the students eat in their homeroom classroom. They push their desks together to create 2 long cafeteria tables. And, they cover their desks with cloth napkins, so they don't make a mess.

2. No cafeteria workers in the school; instead, the food is prepared at a main cooking facility and then shipped to the schools. Then, the children are responsible for serving the food and returning the dishes back to the cooking facility.

3. No junk food and no choices; instead, all the kids are given the same, free, wholesome meal with milk.

4. No paper products are used; instead, students bring their own hand towel, and table cloth. At the end of lunch, there is no trash. The milk bottles are cleaned, sanitized, and used again for the next day. (I personally think this is freaking awesome! Can you imagine if American school stopped using paper napkins?! Think of all the money and trees this would save!)

In Japan, the children are responsible for almost everything in the school. In a school with 800 students, there are only about 20 faculty members. There are no hall monitors, no P.E. teachers, no cafeteria workers, and no custodians. The children are expected to behave, serve their classmates lunch, and clean up after themselves. It's amazing what children can do, when it is expected!
Students happily eating their lunch.
A typical Japanese school lunch: rice, Japanese curry, tempura potato, sausage with egg, and milk.

Japanese students serving lunch to their classmates. (They are required to wear the white hats and uniforms.)
I think the Japanese school system is awesome! Children are expected to do a lot, but, in return, they learn a lot. They learn how to help one another, how to clean up, how to maintain their own school, how to get along, and how to get things done on their own.
I think it's a great system, and I'm happy I get to be a part of it!


Anonymous said...

I think it's great, but it can only occur there because of a culture hundreds of years in the making.
It would never work here because of spoiled rotten children and stupid enabling parents who put their childrens " feelings " ahead of preparation for life.

Big D

Weenie said...

Amen to that!