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Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/17 11:20
Hello. I am not sure what to think of this, although as a parent who cares deeply about the well-being of my children, my gut reaction is not so positive. But maybe there is some positive thing about it? If there is, I don't know what it is. So I would like to get some thoughts or opinions about it.

My children (elementary and middle public school) have told me that they are sometimes hungry because the school lunch is not enough. If there happens to be extra, the kids must Jan Ken Pon for it. Of course, as it is a game of luck, I'm sure that half the time they are not lucky and lose. My kids have silently endured this from the beginning of elementary school until I found out by chance several years later about this system when they finally told me about it. Now that my son is in middle school, he wanted me to talk to the teacher about it, so I did. His teacher reassured me it'll be okay. But my son says nothing has really changed.

Is this typical for all the public schools in Japan or regional or just the schools in my area? Any ideas?

Thank you.
by Menj (guest)  

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/17 14:50
Your kids aren't only pupils who want okawari. When food isn't left enough, not all pupils can have it. Then if your kid insists to have it saying I am hungry and can't endure, it is selfish because all pupils are equal. So teacher lets pupils do janken or amidakuji to make it fair. I remember it is the same when they need to choose one pupil for something mission such as cleaning. You should tell school if school meal isn't enough for your kids and it seriously influences their health.
by anti monpe (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/17 15:57
Take some extra food.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/17 21:35
I don't mean to imply that other kids are not equal and thus not worthy also. I think it's unfair to assume then that my kids are selfish as if they want it at the expense of their classmates. My kids don't want their classmates to suffer either. They just wish the lunch amount was more filling on a regular basis for themselves so that the school doesn't have to do this divvying up the remaining food so often. And my kids are average sized with average appetites, not voracious eaters. And like I said, yes, we already did address it and the teacher reassured us, but to no effect.

Okay, nevermind about my children's situation. Maybe a discussion about that will get me on the defensive, so I'll just ask about the cultural aspect of this. Do Japanese public schools really tend to serve a tad bit too little of school lunches for any particular reason? Is it to avoid waste? Is it to prevent kids from getting sleepy after the meal? Is it to prevent kids from getting overweight? Is it for financial reasons? Or as I asked in the beginning, is it just our particular school and not a widespread thing?
by Menj (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/17 21:49
Your kids or you don't like Japan culture or are not happy with Japanese custom, then you have an option to send your kids to the international school or the private school which students talk own lunch box. Remember, school lunches are provided using tax not only fees that you pay.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/17 22:02
because you want to feed extra food "preferentially" for your children, the solution is only one.
you let them go to school with some foods. don't eat at school and, after school is over, they eat it outside of school. in general, it is not a good manner, but you think it is necessary for them, anyway.

when teachers don't allow that students bring foods to school, your children can buy some foods and eat it during going back to home. again, it is not a good manner. but you think it is necessary.

are your children big eaters ?
I can explain the concept of "fairness" in Japan. it means all are treated equally. your opinion seems that big eaters should be fed more than small eaters.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/17 22:23
No, I do not want my kids to have preferential treatment. In fact, quite the opposite. Read my first paragraph in my second post. Maybe you replied before reading my second post.

Also, there is no store they can stop off to buy food before coming home. They are also not allowed to bring food.

One concern is that, being hungry enough, instead of making them sit up and concentrate more on their lessons, it might have the opposite effect and make them uncomfortable to lose focus in class.
by Menj (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/18 00:01
nutritionists calculate nutrition all school lunch dishes. it should be enough for the average Japanese.
if your opinion is correct, there should be the same ones from other parents. are there ?
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/29 22:45
While some kids feel that lunch is not enough, there are many other kids who feel too much. I am sorry your kids are always hungry but things can't be organized only by your view point.

Maybe you are from a country where 'providing (offering) food as much as possible' and 'leaving food it on the plate' are good, like my country. However, we are not in own country, you should aware that things can be different countries.

Serving a lot and letting those who feel too much leave food isn't Japanese way, because leaving food is not good idea in Japan. Basically 'eat everything appreciating' is Japan culture.

Serving minimum quantity or average quantity then letting those who feel not enough have extra is more practiced these years especially due to food waste issue. It is same in buffet restaurants, it is same in the other countries.

If you think your kids cannot concentrate on study, how about giving breakfast which stays in stomach longer?
by mamoru (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2021/12/31 17:04
I have to say that your question title was a bit misleading. I gather that the you're questioning the contents of school lunches, not the jan-ken part.

Long story short, if this is about several students as opposed to just your own kids, you should be discussing it with the parents of those students in issue instead of asking this forum. Have you talked about it at a "hogosha-kai" (parents' meetings at school)? You should be sharing this issue with the other parents, in front of the teacher.

Either way, as another poster mentioned, public school lunches are supposed to be based on recipes supervised by professional nutritionists. In other words, as long as kids are eating school lunches, they're not supposed to starve to death or suffer from malnutrition. In fact, eating too much could even lead to over-eating. Also, the lunches need to maintain a certain budget which is coming from everybody's taxes.

That said, I've had my fair share of observing school lunches (while raising a child years ago), and, like many other parents, don't necessarily feel that they all seem like balanced meals. Even on days that parents get to go to school to try their lunches, there would obviously be too much carb (I've once had a meal mainly containing, white sauce, potatoes and bread. I'm not sure I got enough protein and vitamins.

But then, one of our school principals once said, "Please don't rely solely on school lunches." I guess she was delivering a message implying that those lunches are pretty much flawed.

Let's get back to the topic. You said you talked to the teacher. Are you sure the teacher understood that it's about nutrition and calories, instead of fairness and satisfaction? If so, and if the teacher said they'll do something about it, then they should be.

I wonder what the teacher meant by "it'll be okay". You need to get specific answers on what they're going to do about it. For example, are the going to improve the contents of the meals? If so, this is going to take a great amount of time, since it involves not only our taxes but the big organization called the school lunch center. Or maybe, the school is going to allow kids to bring snacks. This may take time, too, since it's a public school, and therefore they would need to talk to the board of ed. Or maybe the teacher is thinking about having a good talk with the students in issue, on a spiritual level. Anyway, you should ask specific questions to the teacher/school in order to get specific answers.

But I have to say that I did raise a boy with an ordinary appetite and never really had that problem. Kids just took it for granted that school lunches suck (as they do in various other parts of the world), and they'd come home expecting snacks. Once they get to middle school, they'd cheat by discretely eating before lunch time. In senior high school, this becomes the norm: Students would use recess time to eat the lunch they brought from home, then go to the cafeteria at lunch time, and then go to the cafeteria again after school (or go over the fence to cheat and eat).

I'm sorry for writing too much, but what I wanted to say are just two simple things: (A) People have been complaining about school lunches ever since it was invented, but it doesn't improve overnight. (B) What did your son's teacher mean by "it'll be okay"?

I hope you find a good solution. Have a wonderful New Year's Eve.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2022/1/1 00:47
Although I think it is impossible to be satisfying for everybody (as people are all different) and I personally don't expect it to be nutritionally perfect (because of budget), I still think something could be changed, regarding diversity, like school rules (kousoku). I have heard that school lunches are actually one of the factors making some students not happy with going school (futoko) as well as bullying. Indeed it can't be changed one night though. On the other hand, I think we can do something. Nowadays, more and more schools accept bringing own lunch instead of eating school lunch if it is reasonable (e.g. allergy) . My teacher didn't punished me when she saw me eating a chocolate having broken rules , she even advised me 'banana is healther', having said 'children should not reduce eating' in smile.
by Ex Hayaben Expert (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Jan Ken Pon school lunch 2022/1/7 20:08
OK... So the issue is you're not clear if the kids are getting fed well enough. I thought there was some sort of abuse going on and they have to play jan ken pon to eat, lol. Have you asked the other kids if they ate enough, or talked to other parents? Could be hard to ask some random parents, I guess. Your kids have friends? Ask their friends if they feel the same way.

The temporary solution is to let your kids eat something before they go to school, or sneak in some sort of snacks to eat during break time. They have breakfast before going to school? Ask the teacher for permission to bring in extra food if possible. How much do the kids weight? Not sure if the school has some fund issue, but if it did, surely other parents would complain, too. What area is this in? From what you said, the other kids who lost jan ken pon must have complained to their parents as well.

It seems that some of the posters might have reacted a bit harsh. It doesn't sound like it's the culture that OP is having issue with, but how much the kids are being fed. If the kids aren't eating enough, then it's surely gonna affect their concentration. I've seen videos of how school lunches in some Japanese schools look like, and the portion size looks good to me, and I'm a grown man. Maybe the kids have bigger body, or maybe this school has some problems. Can't say for sure.
by High School Detective (guest) rate this post as useful

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