|Business & Economy||Science & Technology||Education & Society||Sports & Fashion||Arts & Entertainment|
|Top Picks||Back Numbers||Search|
BACK TO SCHOOL:
Grown-Ups' Nostalgia Puts School Food Back on Menu
November 8, 2000
Gakko ni Iko! (Let's Go to School!), a tavern in Shizuoka Prefecture, features desks, chairs, floorboards, and a blackboard that were actually used in an elementary school, giving the interior an authentic school-like feel. The tavern does, of course, serve alcohol. With a glass in one hand, the customers, who are naturally all former elementary and middle schoolers, tuck into the school-style food while eagerly chatting about their school days.
The tavern's most popular set dish is soft udon noodles with either curry or meat sauce, which costs 400 yen (3.60 U.S. dollars at 110 yen to the dollar). These soft noodles are ready-boiled and come in a sealed bag. They are eaten by tearing the bag open, emptying the noodles onto the plate, and pouring over the curry or meat sauce. It is a dish that used to be popular in schools, and one 25-year-old woman admits, "When I see that soft-noodle set on the same kind of plates and with the same kind of cutlery I used in school, it makes my heart pound with excitement."
Taverns like this one that offer kyushoku-style dishes are proving popular as venues for class reunions.
No Takers for School Milk
School lunches in Japan have a long history and have changed with the times. In 1947, just after the end of World War II, food was extremely scarce. School lunches at this time often consisted of little else than milk, and not even fresh milk but skimmed milk powder provided as part of aid by UNICEF, then known as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. The powder was mixed with hot water to make the milk. Even the underfed children of the time thought the milk tasted terrible, however. The tavern Gakko ni Iko! tried offering a flavor-enhanced version of this milk to customers, but it seems childhood memories of the milk die hard; almost without exception they declined the offer.
Copyright (c) 2000 Japan Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.