I signed up to be a sort of cultural ambassador, so periodically I’m called on to visit a school and talk about America. I figure it’s good for kids to learn about other countries, and also I pick up a little pocket money. Today I went to a nearby elementary school to talk to the sixth graders. In preparation for the visit, I looked up my elementary school on the Internet. I also looked up some school lunch menus and was appalled to find that everything I learned from “Supersize Me” was true – at one school, the menu features pizza, chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers over and over again. There is no miso soup! Hardly any vegetables! No fish! I’m so glad my kids eat lunch in Japan! Anyway, I packed a lunch in order to show the kids what American kids eat for lunch. I’m guessing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are still popular.
They had so many questions! Do Americans think that matsutake (expensive and rare wild Japanese mushrooms) smell like dirty socks? How do you say ‘war’ in English? What is America’s biggest problem? Do Americans like anime? I was heartened to meet with such curious children.
Just before I left, they gave me gifts – a head of lettuce, a daikon radish, and a bag of citrus fruit.