It was supposed to be a normal lunch session at my junior high school. I’m not someone who eats a lot of food at once; I eat small portions often. Needless to say the speed eating coupled with large portions of food served for lunch is an almost daily struggle. Thankfully it is very tasty (most days), and the kids and teachers understand my hatred of natto and devour it for me when its served one or twice per month. Though I have slayed the natto demon its the rice god and its worshipers that strike fear into my heart daily.

Nurse: *looks at my rice bowl with a few rice grains left after eating*; Oh ma gersh you didn’t eat all your rice!
Me: sure I did, see *holds up “empty” bowl*. There is nothing left!
Nurse: there is enough there to feed a small army!

I laughed if off and thought I had escaped, but she pounced on me and requested that I eat all the grains. Of course I’ve never seen her so militant and at this point I was literally in my second week of regular school so I obliged. Then there was that kid who entered the conversation while I was fighting with my chopsticks to grab every last grain of rice for fear of being piledrived by a 5 foot tall butterfly.

3rd Year Kid: Yea sensei – eat rice, ebery one is Japanese spirit
Nurse: Also people cleaning plates will be bery angry!
Me: I’m sorry, please don’t sacrifice me to the rice gods

I dont mean to make fun of the interaction but that one kid almost never talks in my classes but was so animated, giggling and SPEAKING ENGLISH while defending the rice gods. I also never seen my school nurse so passionate; she insisted in teaching me a lesson and I wasn’t going to resist! Needless to say by the time I got back to the staff room every staff member had heard of the exchange.

Typical middle school lunch (きゅうしょく) served at my school

About a week later after perfecting my chopstick no jitsu and rice god worship/murder, I knelt before the school nurse after finishing my meal, held my bowl up and said in Japanese “I finished eating nurse-sama, every single grain!“. Bad idea, two months later I am still trying to repair our work relationship.

There is an awesome Facebook page that is updated daily with the school lunch served on my island – Check it out

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