Awww, look - even elementary students can do it!
I’m guessing this has some sort of sanitary purpose, but really I think they’re going for style points. Some students get the lunch, and set it up; others serve the lunch to their peers. This is particularly entertaining at the elementary school level. All students eat school lunch – no brown bagging here! Students wait until everyone has been served, say Itadakimasu! (roughly: I’ll start!), then all begin to eat together. I travel around and go to a new classroom everyday… some classes remain in the rows and are pretty quiet, while others group into fours and fives and are loud and obnoxious (good for them!). There is also classical or Disney music playing the whole time. I’ve heard that at other schools there is rock n roll music playing during lunch. We got jipped. At the end of lunch, everyone brings up their own tray and cleans and separates it all. Garbage disposal in Japan is so intense it necessitates its own blog, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.
Here are some pics of school lunches. Now granted, the school lunch menu in the US has changed a great deal since MANY of ya’ll were in elementary and middle school, but especially within the past 5 to 10 years, I believe there has been a really positive change to make school lunches more well balanced and less preserved. It’s tough to do when you have to balance not only a well rounded meal with all the food groups, but also steer clear of preservatives and uber- (trans)fatty foods, while maintaining taste for the kiddos, not to mention keep costs reasonable for students of all demographics! Props to all school nutritionists world-wide for their efforts! That being said, I think Maebashi is doing a pretty great job with their menu. There’s even a poster in the hall proving that eating good foods make you smart!
So without further adieu; school lunches in Gunma:-3.7% milk comes with every meal.