• Lunch gives Richmond students a taste of Japan

    Español| Tiếng Việt| 中文| Soomaali| Русский

    Richmond Elementary School students enjoyed a lunch of curry with rice, cucumber and cabbage salads, mandarin oranges and apple slices. Photograph by Mike Tokito

    Richmond is PPS’s Japanese dual-language elementary school, and students are immersed daily in all things Japan. On Friday, they went an extra step, getting a literal taste of the culture.

    The school held its third Japanese Lunch Day, with kids dining on a Japanese chicken-and-vegetable curry served over rice, with cucumber and Asian cabbage salads, mandarin oranges and fresh apple slices. The menu was put together by parent Andrea Obana in cooperation with PPS’s Nutrition Services.

    Students were encouraged to say, “Itadakimasu,” a traditional Japanese phrase said before meals that is often translated to mean “I humbly receive,” but is said with a tone of, “Let’s eat.”

    Chopsticks were available for students to use, and most did, with varying degrees of skill. The students who ate the curry were given stickers to put on the elementary school version of Yelp: a board with three categories: “Didn’t like it,” “It was OK” and “I loved it!!” The majority chose “I loved it!!”

    The lunch wasn’t just a nice, hot meal. It also helped students get acclimated to food they might eat during the annual parents-sponsored fifth-graders’ trip to Japan. Eighth-graders at Mt. Tabor Middle School, where the Japanese immersion program continues (concluding at Cleveland High School), take a school-sponsored trip to Japan each year.

    Asta Garman, Nutrition Services’ Program Manager, said the district will also hold a Chinese Lunch Day in February, and Richmond plans another Japanese Lunch Day in the spring, with a yakisoba noodle dish.

    See also: more photos from the lunch.

    -Photo and story by Mike Tokito; video by Dan Green