Little Lunches

The elementary school I work at here in Tokyo has a cafeteria. That’s a bit of a rarity as many schools just have their lunches in the classroom.

Sometimes I bring my own lunch and eat in the staff room, but most days I opt for the school lunch. I’m not a fan of all the menus, and there is only one option a day. But it is safe to say that it is better tasting, and healthier, than the school lunches I had growing up.

After getting my lunch, the question is always where to sit. I try to sit with the kids and there are extra stools for this purpose. But there is always the question of which group to sit with.

I don’t want to play favorites and try to sit with a different group every time, but it can be hard to remember. Also, as I walk through the rows of tables kids will call out for me to sit with them. Especially the younger kids.

I’ve cone to the conclusion that this is kind of a status thing, not necessarily a driving urge to to chat. I’ve sat with groups that summoned me that, after sitting, barely engage.

Today was a little different. I sat at a table of third graders. I mentioned I like the rice. It was yukari gohan which is rice with bits of plum and shiso in it. One of the girls also liked it. This started an almost ten minute conversation of different spices we both lined, and other foods that our family liked. Just a relaxed chat.

So many times sitting with the kids does feel like I’m developing performance art. But today just felt like natural chit chat about foods. It was relaxing. And for the end of a hectic week, it was a nice change of pace.

Thanks for the chat, kid. I appreciate it.


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