Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Visit to Ishibashi Elementary School

Today I spent at a local elementary school, Ishibashi, in Shimotsuke City, Toghigi prefecture. A prefecture is like a state. We were welcomed with an elaborate assembly where the children in grades 1-6 sang songs for us in English, showed us some Kendo moves, and taught us a game. Later we met with teachers and parents, attended three classes, and ate lunch in the classrooms with students. Here are some facts you might find interesting I learned while eating lunch in a fourth grade classroom:

1. Students eat in their classrooms. Food is prepared in a kitchen at school and brought to the classrooms. Students serve wearing masks and aprons. I've attached a photo of my lunch, which included: egg, rice, seaweed wrap (what sushi is wrapped in), tuna fish in mayonnaise, milk, and miso soup. It was quite good and I ate every bit.

2. No one eats until everyone is not only served but sitting down.

3.. Students clean up everything. They even open up and flatten out their milk cartons to be recycled.

4. Everyone eats hot lunch. No one brings cold lunch.

5. School starts at 8:00 (or 7:50, I'm not exactly sure), lunch is served at 12:20, and students get no snack in between. I asked them what they would do if they got hungry. They told me they would have to be patient. Snack is never an option.

6. Teachers eat the same lunch with their students.

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