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interioround
January 13th, 2015, 16:57
My cholesterol and weight have shot up since coming to Japan a year and a half ago.
I asked my manager to let me stop school lunches as I've gotten advice from my family who are mostly doctors to regulate my own meals. My manager is not hearing it though.
I am leaving this year and wondering if I should just say fuck it and not participate in the meals and then not pay for it either (have to pay in cash by the end of the month).

Just some extra details:
My manager said to just try and cut down the meals which I've tried to do but not only am I paying to give away food but I'm also paying for many meals that I'd rather not eat. I'm also used to not having a big appetite at lunch so it's been hard to have these huge school lunches at a time where I don't feel hungry (I get hungry at night).

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 13th, 2015, 16:59
My cholesterol and weight have shot up since coming to Japan a year and a half ago.
I asked my manager to let me stop as I've gotten advice from my family who are m

... there are just so many things that 'm' could be...

Jiggit
January 13th, 2015, 16:59
orbidly obese?

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 17:03
Sorry. I'm posting on mobile and accidentally hit save changes in the middle of typing(>_<)

coop52
January 13th, 2015, 17:07
Compromise and see if you can stop in April when the new school year starts. It's actually pretty hard to change the number of lunches in the middle of the year.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 13th, 2015, 17:09
Well, I wouldn't have guessed the answer would be 'mostly doctors'.

Ugh... Have you tried actually telling them that you will not eat the food, nor will you pay for it? Rather than asking?

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 17:14
Hehe, yeah. I was in America for Christmas break and messaged my manager that I didn't want to participate anymore. I explained my reason and she wrote back saying that it wasn't a good enough reason. I told her even if I went to school I wouldn't eat the lunches.

She wrote back saying that I was speaking to directly(in Japanese) and that we should stop messaging each other or else we would fight... So in short that didn't go over well.

Jiggit
January 13th, 2015, 17:14
I'm gonna be that guy but there's a difference between not wanting to eat your lunch because you don't like it and claiming that it's making you fat. Are the rest of the school's teachers who have to eat it fat?

Ini
January 13th, 2015, 17:17
Do you eat with the students? if not you could just accept the fact you are going to end up paying for lunch but in the interest of your health not eat it and bring a lunch in. Wasting 5000yen a month is better than dying from a heart attack.

Although to be fair I cant imagine the 700-1000 calorie lunch is the exclusive cause of your problems.... maybe cut out the milk, have a half portion of rice and then work on keeping your meals outside of school under control.

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 17:28
There have been other teachers who have complained of portion size and who give away a lot of their meal. I just have a problem with giving away my money to things I'm not eating anyway. I could probably eat cheaper and healthier if I could buy my own food and eat when I am actually hungry...

coop52
January 13th, 2015, 17:32
You can always only eat the stuff you want and put everything else back. They'll look at you funny but whatever.

uthinkimlost?
January 13th, 2015, 17:32
There have been other teachers who have complained of portion size and who give away a lot of their meal. I just have a problem with giving away my money to things I'm not eating anyway. I could probably eat cheaper and healthier if I could buy my own food and eat when I am actually hungry...

Consider it donating to the hungry. Just like in America, for some of these kids it is the only decent meal they get in a day.

Bring your own food in and eat it while passing out your food to the hungriest-looking kids you see.

Ini
January 13th, 2015, 17:36
if you are worried about your health then paying a few hundred yen a day on food you're not eating isn't a big deal. cheaper than a gym membership

word
January 13th, 2015, 17:43
Just do like I did--bring a tupperware or some saran wrap to school and package the foods you can't eat (go for the high-cal/high-carb garbage like the mounds of white rice) and save it for later!

The rice can even be stored temporarily (frozen if long-term storage is needed) and used to cook other, moar appetizing dishes.

Let's keep it real, though--Japanese school lunches are pretty healthy, if a bit high in calories due to the rice. They're also ridiculously cheap in comparison to almost any other option. If I could go back to eating JHS lunches, I would in a heartbeat! Even if you don't eat everything, it's a worthwhile deal. To "save face," just act like you're keeping all the food for later consumption. MG can't eat all of her lunches, either, but whatever she brings back, she just feeds to the chickens! They love it!

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 13th, 2015, 18:06
So... Buy chickens? That's pretty good advice, chickens are cool.

Zolrak 22
January 13th, 2015, 18:08
So... Buy chickens? That's pretty good advice, chickens are cool.
And delicious.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 13th, 2015, 18:11
Cannibal.

Zolrak 22
January 13th, 2015, 18:16
Cannibal.
I'm higher in the pecking order.

Gods need their sacrifices/offerings.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 13th, 2015, 18:18
True.

So, OP. Do you want to give us a timeline of these events?

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 18:42
True.

So, OP. Do you want to give us a timeline of these events?

November is when I found out my cholesterol had gone up. I had wanted to cut out of lunch for a while at that time and the cholesterol solidified that for me.
I decided I would tell my BOE during winter break so I didn't have to eat the next year. I thought that would make it easier on them...hah.
So I told my manager by text during the break and she flipped her shit.
Seriously guys though. What if I just go to all my schools (I have ten) and tell them I'm cutting myself out this year? What's the worst my BOE will do? They're already not recontracting me. What's the harm they can do me?

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 13th, 2015, 18:46
Depends on the BOE, but generally not much.

Jiggit
January 13th, 2015, 19:04
They're already not recontracting me. What's the harm they can do me?

Yeah they basically have as low an opinion as they could have of you, might as well.

coop52
January 13th, 2015, 20:00
Like I said, it'd be easier if you quit in April. School lunch prices are basically set by how many portions (there's usually enough in each class for an extra, plus one for the test meal and another to freeze) divided by the number of kids and teachers who are eating it. There's a little more to it when you start getting into looking at money for kids who can't afford it or whatever. Quitting in the middle of the year like that fucks with the prices for everyone in the school. Since you have so many schools, they might not even be at all the same lunch center, so your supervisor would have to deal with all of them. At the very earliest, if your supervisor calls and cancels lunch for you tomorrow, it wouldn't take effect until February or maybe March if they've already done the lunch count for February. Because it's so late in the year, it isn't worth going through all that trouble.

Why didn't you wait and talk to your supervisor about this in person? That would have gone over a lot better.

word
January 13th, 2015, 20:02
I'm kinda curious about the actual dialog that took place via text message. What did you say to her that got her so upset?

johnny
January 13th, 2015, 20:22
I work at three schools and I just ask the teacher who doles out the rice to give me half the rice because I'm dieting. All of them have been super supportive. At one school the gym teacher overhead my request and said "good". :lol:

Word incarnate!

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 20:30
I'm kinda curious about the actual dialog that took place via text message. What did you say to her that got her so upset?

I'll translate what I said into English, so it may have a different nuance in Japanese:

Me: Merry Christmas!
Sorry to e-mail you out of the blue. I'm messaging you because there was something I wanted to talk to you about last year.
Next year, I would like to not partake in the school lunch anymore. Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu.
See you next year.

Manager: Why won't you eat the lunches?

Me: I'm a bit worried about my health. At the health checkup, my weight and cholesterol had gone up. Also, there's not a lot of places to exercise in [my town].
The portions for the school lunch are too big for me. Please let me not partake in the school lunches anymore. Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu.

Manager: If that's the reason, it's muzukashii to cancel your lunch. Let's talk about a solution when you get back.

*I read this and I knew this was a "No. You will eat kyuushoku no matter what", so I was frustrated and angry that my health reason was not good enough for her.*

Me: The reason I don't want to participate anymore is because of my health so it is muzukashii for me to keep participating. The situation will become so that I will not eat lunch even if I go to school. I know I'm causing a lot of trouble (meiwaku wo kaketeiru to omoimasu ga) but I really don't want to participate anymore. Shitsurei shimasu.

Manager: In any case, let's stop messaging each other. I know you're writing to me in Japanese for my sake, but the nuance in e-mail is hard to convey and and you're speaking pretty directly, so I think this could turn into a fight.

Me: I had no intention of starting a fight. Sorry for writing anything rude. I will talk to you later (de wa mata).


Very annoying...

word
January 13th, 2015, 20:42
Okay yeah I understand why she got upset.

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 20:57
Okay yeah I understand why she got upset.

And am I not allowed to be upset?
I'm paying for it, and it's my body!:mad:

Jiggit
January 13th, 2015, 21:00
And am I not allowed to be upset?

Should have stayed at college in America if you wanted anyone to care about that.

Zolrak 22
January 13th, 2015, 21:03
Might have been a language problem/barrier?

Thought I'd recommend speaking to her directly about these matters.

It's hard to translate mood in texts, even more so if it's not your native language.

If it was during holiday break, you probably caught her at a bad time.

How would you react if you were called/messaged about something school related in your off time?

On the subject at hand, I know it's a hard pill to swallow, but this probably falls under cultural differences.

This has to do with the well being of the group, you'd be inconveniencing others by forcing everyone else to pay for your meals.

I know this is not your intent, but there's probably food contracts and such involved.



(Someone else can pitch in if I'm speaking out of my **** and all I'm saying is wrong)

johnny
January 13th, 2015, 21:03
You can be upset. It's certainly your prerogative. You're not unique in this either. Employees often get pissed off at their employers.

If you work for others though, a big part of life is eating shit. If you can't learn to eat shit, you're going to run into problems anywhere you work.

Gizmotech
January 13th, 2015, 21:05
You are paying for it and it's your body but it's also your job and expected of you.

I wonder if maybe your Japanese might have contained slightly different nuances than your English? Also, like coop said, your lunges might not be coming from the same place and that can cause problems. (I had this problem in my first year, where I was expected to buy a lunch every day I was scheduled at spec Ed, and I told em to go to hell).

Either way like coop said, stopping now is a pain, just pay the price until April. Frankly if it's that big of a deal, quit your job and go home to save your health. Obstinate bureaucracy doesn't change.

word
January 13th, 2015, 21:06
And am I not allowed to be upset?
I'm paying for it, and it's my body!:mad:

Imagine you're on vacation, having lunch with your SO, when suddenly, you get a text message from one of your coworkers:

"I have an issue about a thing that you can't do anything about right now. I need you to find a way to resolve this situation."

You reply: "Um, okay, let's talk about it when our mutual vacation ends and we go back to work."

"No! I want you to tell me what I want to hear right now! You don't have a choice, anyway. I'm gonna do what I want!"

You don't wanna deal with this right now. You reply: "Look, now's not a good time. Let's just talk about it when we go back to work."




You're "allowed" to be upset, but it's pretty foolish of you, in my opinion. You contacted your supervisor--while she was on vacation--regarding a situation about which she could do nothing immediately. You jumped to a conclusion that may or may not have been accurate based on her justifiable brush-off response. You threw her response back in her face and demanded an immediate and uncompromising resolution to your problem. She didn't want to deal with you (and couldn't, anyway), and ended the conversation. I'd be annoyed if I were her, too.

You're right, though. It's your hot body; you do what you want.

uthinkimlost?
January 13th, 2015, 21:11
I'll translate what I said into English, so it may have a different nuance in Japanese:

Me: Merry Christmas!
Sorry to e-mail you out of the blue. I'm messaging you because there was something I wanted to talk to you about last year.
Next year, I would like to not partake in the school lunch anymore. Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu.
See you next year.

Manager: Why won't you eat the lunches?

Me: I'm a bit worried about my health. At the health checkup, my weight and cholesterol had gone up. Also, there's not a lot of places to exercise in [my town].
The portions for the school lunch are too big for me. Please let me not partake in the school lunches anymore. Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu.

Manager: If that's the reason, it's muzukashii to cancel your lunch. Let's talk about a solution when you get back.

*I read this and I knew this was a "No. You will eat kyuushoku no matter what", so I was frustrated and angry that my health reason was not good enough for her.*

Me: The reason I don't want to participate anymore is because of my health so it is muzukashii for me to keep participating. The situation will become so that I will not eat lunch even if I go to school. I know I'm causing a lot of trouble (meiwaku wo kaketeiru to omoimasu ga) but I really don't want to participate anymore. Shitsurei shimasu.

Manager: In any case, let's stop messaging each other. I know you're writing to me in Japanese for my sake, but the nuance in e-mail is hard to convey and and you're speaking pretty directly, so I think this could turn into a fight.

Me: I had no intention of starting a fight. Sorry for writing anything rude. I will talk to you later (de wa mata).


Very annoying...

Hey, Bunky!

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 21:11
Imagine you're on vacation, having lunch with your SO, when suddenly, you get a text message from one of your coworkers:

"I have an issue about a thing that you can't do anything about right now. I need you to find a way to resolve this situation."

You reply: "Um, okay, let's talk about it when our mutual vacation ends and we go back to work."

"No! I want you to tell me what I want to hear right now! You don't have a choice, anyway. I'm gonna do what I want!"

You don't wanna deal with this right now. You reply: "Look, now's not a good time. Let's just talk about it when we go back to work."




You're "allowed" to be upset, but it's pretty foolish of you, in my opinion. You contacted your supervisor--while she was on vacation--regarding a situation about which she could do nothing immediately. You jumped to a conclusion that may or may not have been accurate based on her justifiable brush-off response. You threw her response back in her face and demanded an immediate and uncompromising resolution to your problem. She didn't want to deal with you (and couldn't, anyway), and ended the conversation. I'd be annoyed if I were her, too.

You're right, though. It's your hot body, and you do what you want.


To be fair, I did want to talk about it before I went back, and checking the date in which we had these conversations, I wrote her when she was back at work. :/

Talking to her today, there was no compromise on their part (which I expected). The answer was
"eat the school lunch, you're on your own on reducing the portion. We want you there talking with the students in English, too. Your lunch is not a break."

word
January 13th, 2015, 21:18
To be fair, I did want to talk about it before I went back, and checking the date in which we had these conversations, I wrote her when she was back at work. :/But YOU weren't there. That's not very fair, is it? "Let's talk about this--oh, except I deliberately avoided bringing it up until it was very difficult to discuss it." You had no way of knowing how busy she was (given that it was days before the winter vacation, I suspect she was pretty busy) or what she was doing at the time you messaged her.


Talking to her today, there was no compromise on their part (which I expected).I've noticed that people often seem to find the fight they expect.


The answer was "eat the school lunch, you're on your own on reducing the portion. We want you there talking with the students in English, too. Your lunch is not a break."If that's actually the case, then that seems pretty fair, doesn't it? They've left you the option of reducing your portions. Try the take-home option that I suggested, or the put-back option that someone else recommended. One of those should work, shouldn't it?

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 21:22
But YOU weren't there. That's not very fair, is it? "Let's talk about this--oh, except I deliberately avoided bringing it up until it was very difficult to discuss it." You had no way of knowing how busy she was (given that it was days before the winter vacation, I suspect she was pretty busy) or what she was doing at the time you messaged her.

I've noticed that people often seem to find the fight they expect.

If that's actually the case, then that seems pretty fair, doesn't it? They've left you the option of reducing your portions. Try the take-home option that I suggested, or the put-back option that someone else recommended. One of those should work, shouldn't it?

Yeah, I'd like to do the take-home option, but that's frowned-upon, too.
I also would rather use the 5,000 yen on my own food budget/savings, but I see I'm probably not going to get anywhere with that.

johnny
January 13th, 2015, 21:26
Yeah, just accept that there is nothing you can do. Once you do that you can move on.

word
January 13th, 2015, 21:26
Yeah, I'd like to do the take-home option, but that's frowned-upon, too.Is it? Did you ask? Did you try it?

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 21:29
Is it? Did you ask? Did you try it?

Yes, my managers said not to do it, but maybe that'll be the compromise on my side. They're very strict.
The other JETs also complained about the portions and were told they could not do "takeout".

Zolrak 22
January 13th, 2015, 21:33
Aren't you guys paying for it?

If you bring a bento or something, you can always store the food when no one is looking.

I doubt they'll check your belongings when leaving.

If worse comes to worse, you can chalk it up to another cultural misunderstanding.

This is a way to go around the problem if you are left with no choice.

I'm not endorsing going against your boss, but it's you choice in the end.

coop52
January 13th, 2015, 21:45
It'll be obvious if she is eating with the kids. Just put the stuff back and ignore it if there's complaints.

That text was definitely not the way to go, Japanese or not. And your supervisor has a right to be at least a little irritated for being put in that situation. That kind of issue is one you should take of face to face.

interioround
January 13th, 2015, 21:45
Aren't you guys paying for it?

If you bring a bento or something, you can always store the food when no one is looking.

I doubt they'll check your belongings when leaving.

If worse comes to worse, you can chalk it up to another cultural misunderstanding.

This is a way to go around the problem if you are left with no choice.

I'm not endorsing going against your boss, but it's you choice in the end.


Yes, I think I will just try and do this. It is breaking the rules, but I don't know how else to compromise.

mothy
January 14th, 2015, 04:48
As long as it's not in my contract that I need to buy my lunch from them, I just would refuse. It's my salary and any forced payment would equal a non contract authorized cut in pay. This isn't some sort of bondage system. You teach sixth graders and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don't you call me because I can't go. I owe my soul to the shokudo.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 14th, 2015, 06:00
You teach sixth graders and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don't you call me because I can't go. I owe my soul to the shokudo.

Pure brilliance.

ambrosse
January 14th, 2015, 06:39
I'd just do "take out" regardless. You technically paid for the food. No use force feeding yourself an entire meal if you can't.

johnny's comment about hint hinting or just plain asking to get half a serving of rice, or whatever, due to "dieting" might be worth a try :)

interioround
January 14th, 2015, 07:19
As long as it's not in my contract that I need to buy my lunch from them, I just would refuse. It's my salary and any forced payment would equal a non contract authorized cut in pay. This isn't some sort of bondage system. You teach sixth graders and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don't you call me because I can't go. I owe my soul to the shokudo.

This is really what I want to do. I mean, this would step on a lot of toes, but at the same time I'm already hated for bringing up things like this and having it blow up in my face.

I really don't have a lot to lose here. There's nothing to do in my town, my BOE hates me, I'm not recontracting/They're not recontracting me, and at this point I'm so tired of this shitty placement that I'm ready to go home. The only reason why I'm considering the takeout option is because I really do love sitting with (most of) the kids.

I have a lot of leverage because they have 10 schools they send me to. The other JET that they adore is breaking contract and leaving in April, so I'll be all they have left. They told me to "motto ganbare" since I'll be on my own... My BOE sucks hairy donkey balls.

Gizmotech
January 14th, 2015, 08:02
Quick q. Are you working 830-430 with an hour break or something else?

uthinkimlost?
January 14th, 2015, 08:04
Pure brilliance.

word

Ini
January 14th, 2015, 08:10
How exactly are the school lunches causing you massive weight gain and sending your cholesterol through the roof? Could you give us an idea of what you eat over the course of an average day?

interioround
January 14th, 2015, 08:29
Quick q. Are you working 830-430 with an hour break or something else?

8:30-4:15. Break time not stipulated.

word
January 14th, 2015, 09:12
How exactly are the school lunches causing you massive weight gain and sending your cholesterol through the roof? Could you give us an idea of what you eat over the course of an average day?
C'mon, man; you're not going to get an honest answer to this question, and you know it. Most people can't even be honest with themselves about what they eat over the course of an average day. Studies have shown that people invariably overestimate the amount of calories they burn and significantly underestimate the amount of calories they consume, anyway; I'm sure OP is perfectly innocent and is totally not shoveling down 3000+kcalorie McMeals every night or anything, but it seems pretty likely that s/he's consuming more than is ideal if boiled vegetables and white rice have put his/her weight/cholesterol "through the roof."

Ini
January 14th, 2015, 09:28
shouldn't jump to conclusions young word!

saying that..... a big mac has 85mg of cholesterol and a bowl of white rice has 0mg

mothy
January 14th, 2015, 09:42
And that's not even counting the dental material!

interioround
January 14th, 2015, 09:47
C'mon, man; you're not going to get an honest answer to this question, and you know it. Most people can't even be honest with themselves about what they eat over the course of an average day. Studies have shown that people invariably overestimate the amount of calories they burn and significantly underestimate the amount of calories they consume, anyway; I'm sure OP is perfectly innocent and is totally not shoveling down 3000+kcalorie McMeals every night or anything, but it seems pretty likely that s/he's consuming more than is ideal if boiled vegetables and white rice have put his/her weight/cholesterol "through the roof."

Bu that's not the question. If I'm paying for it why isn't it my choice?

FYI, I live in the boonies so the closest mcds is about 40 minutes away so I guess it would have to be the unhealthy version of whatever they eat in the sticks...fried tanuki?

Gizmotech
January 14th, 2015, 09:48
8:30-4:15. Break time not stipulated.

Your contract says nothing about your hour break? When do you normally get that hour?

uthinkimlost?
January 14th, 2015, 09:57
I live in the boonies so the closest mcds is about 40 minutes away

That is not the boonies.

If no one likes you, maybe it is you.

Just go home now. You obviously don't care about your schools, your students' education, or the real root of your health issues.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 14th, 2015, 09:57
I'm totally going to mcDonalds today now I've read this.


That is not the boonies.

If no one likes you, maybe it is you.

Just go home now. You obviously don't care about your schools, your students' education, or the real root of your health issues.

If the conversation continues in this vein I will move it to the Lounge, no problem. The tone is wrong for this part of the site, but at the same time I would rather not lose this discussion.

word
January 14th, 2015, 10:02
Bu that's not the question.Of course it's not.


If I'm paying for it why isn't it my choice?It is, but you're not thinking about this situation in a very culturally-sensitive way. That's fine, I guess; I sometimes think we filthy gaijin should be moar obnoxious about demonstrating our own cultural norms, rather than adapting to Japanese norms. Still, I think you're looking at this situation from a rather biased point of view and not even bothering to consider theirs.

In Japan, life is all about the group, the team, the collective--especially in school. Everybody eats the school lunch because that's what everybody does. It's healthy, it's good for you, and it's a way of showing your solidarity and comaraderie. All good teachers, according to Japanese standards, will eat lunch with the students, setting a good example and demonstrating compliance with the decisions made by the school nutritionist and food preparation staff.

You rejected that. It's your right, but it's very "un-Japanese" of you and is inevitably going to be viewed as downright rude.

Now, add the fact that you decided to "discuss" this matter with your supervisor when you were thousands of miles away, as well as the fact that you refuse to acknowledge that they are perfectly justified in their actions and responses (according to their norms) and you've got the recipe for a very frustrated and annoyed supervisor.

The JET experience is all about international exchange. Usually, that means learning and growing together, making compromises, figuring out where and when it's appropriate to make a stand, etc. Sometimes it's more a situation in which people are being obstinate and stubborn, refusing to see any side other than their own and revealing a childish sense of entitlement and cultural superiority.

It's at least partially up to you to decide which sort of experience you're going to have in this situation.


FYI, I live in the boonies so the closest mcds is about 40 minutes away so I guess it would have to be the unhealthy version of whatever they eat in the sticks...fried tanuki?Fried everything. There is no shortage of unhealthy food in Japan... but there's also no shortage of healthy food.

Jiggit
January 14th, 2015, 10:02
Bu that's not the question. If I'm paying for it why isn't it my choice?

FYI, I live in the boonies so the closest mcds is about 40 minutes away so I guess it would have to be the unhealthy version of whatever they eat in the sticks...fried tanuki?

Do you really not understand? I figured it was obvious but now I'm wondering if you genuinely don't understand.

Japan is the country of getting along with everyone else. Of not sticking out from the crowd. You are supposed to persevere through your personal difficulties to maintain the social harmony. This is the first thing you should have learned and made your peace with before even coming here. Arguments like "I'm paying for it, isn't it my choice?" don't make any sense to Japanese people.

In this situation, they want teachers to eat the same lunch with the kids to set an example. You think the majority of teachers wouldn't prefer to bring a lunchbox from home? Probably 2/3rd of the Japanese teachers you work with would love to ditch school lunches if it were possible. But for a Japanese teacher to do so would be unthinkable. Teachers are meant to show the students that eating their lunch is important and that they aren't being asked to do anything unreasonable. It's about showing solidarity with your coworkers and the students in your care.

So every single teacher and student in the school is able to eat school lunch without issue. Then the one foreigner (who already sticks out and probably gets a ton of leeway on other responsibilities) demands that they not have to eat lunches. Literally every other teacher manages to put aside their personal distaste and recognise the importance of their eating school lunch. But for some reason the one foreigner has a unique reason they can't eat lunch. And now your supervisor has to deal with how she's going to explain this to students who wonder why foreigner-sensei doesn't have to eat school lunch. Not to mention the resentment from all your other coworkers who would love dearly to ditch the lunches. The only way they are going to view this is as selfishness and childishness on your part.

word
January 14th, 2015, 10:11
Do you really not understand? I figured it was obvious but now I'm wondering if you genuinely don't understand.

Japan is the country of getting along with everyone else. Of not sticking out from the crowd. You are supposed to persevere through your personal difficulties to maintain the social harmony. This is the first thing you should have learned and made your peace with before even coming here. Arguments like "I'm paying for it, isn't it my choice?" don't make any sense to Japanese people.

In this situation, they want teachers to eat the same lunch with the kids to set an example. You think the majority of teachers wouldn't prefer to bring a lunchbox from home? Probably 2/3rd of the Japanese teachers you work with would love to ditch school lunches if it were possible. But for a Japanese teacher to do so would be unthinkable. Teachers are meant to show the students that eating their lunch is important and that they aren't being asked to do anything unreasonable. It's about showing solidarity with your coworkers and the students in your care.

So every single teacher and student in the school is able to eat school lunch without issue. Then the one foreigner (who already sticks out and probably gets a ton of leeway on other responsibilities) demands that they not have to eat lunches. Literally every other teacher manages to put aside their personal distaste and recognise the importance of their eating school lunch. But for some reason the one foreigner has a unique reason they can't eat lunch. And now your supervisor has to deal with how she's going to explain this to students who wonder why foreigner-sensei doesn't have to eat school lunch. Not to mention the resentment from all your other coworkers who would love dearly to ditch the lunches. The only way they are going to view this is as selfishness and childishness on your part.Great minds and all.

OP, don't think I'm just preaching from a high horse or anything--I've made this same mistake and been chastised for it here on popular bodybuilding enthusiast site ithinkimlost.com. I ultimately swallowed my pride and considered things from a different point of view, and I' d like to think I emerged from the whole experience a bit wiser. This whole thing is not an easy experience, but that's kinda what it's all about, is it not?

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 14th, 2015, 10:19
Back in safe territory. Isn't it nice when we all play nice?

interioround
January 14th, 2015, 10:47
Alright. Message is loud and clear.
It was nice to vent about it and get advice. Thank you.

mothy
January 14th, 2015, 11:04
It seems to me that you want it both ways with your BoE. You want to go against the norm without having to deal with the consequences of it. Just eat the lunches or don't. There's no way to make everyone happy with you doing your own thing.

Gizmotech
January 14th, 2015, 11:48
Alright. Message is loud and clear.
It was nice to vent about it and get advice. Thank you.

I have a suggestion (which is why I was asking questions). If not eating lunch, or eating a reduced lunch, or eating your own lunch is a problem, why not suggest to the school that you would like your hour break during lunch and that you'll be in the staff room or leave school property. You're entitled to that hour break, by law you have to have it. If they insist that you aren't work during that lunch and that it is your break, then yes you can leave. If they insist that you are working during lunch, where is your hour break going? (like do you get to leave every day at 3:15?)

I know one girl who went for a walk for 2 years at lunch because she didn't want to eat the school lunch (and she wasn't that great with the young kids either).

interioround
January 14th, 2015, 14:06
I have a suggestion (which is why I was asking questions). If not eating lunch, or eating a reduced lunch, or eating your own lunch is a problem, why not suggest to the school that you would like your hour break during lunch and that you'll be in the staff room or leave school property. You're entitled to that hour break, by law you have to have it. If they insist that you aren't work during that lunch and that it is your break, then yes you can leave. If they insist that you are working during lunch, where is your hour break going? (like do you get to leave every day at 3:15?)

I know one girl who went for a walk for 2 years at lunch because she didn't want to eat the school lunch (and she wasn't that great with the young kids either).

Just about any answer that doesn`t involve me sitting with the students eating school lunch will not be well met.
There is not much room to compromise unfortunately...

par92186
January 14th, 2015, 14:23
Hehe, yeah. I was in America for Christmas break and messaged my manager that I didn't want to participate anymore. I explained my reason and she wrote back saying that it wasn't a good enough reason.

HUNGER STRIKE.

Gizmotech
January 14th, 2015, 15:41
Just about any answer that doesn`t involve me sitting with the students eating school lunch will not be well met.
There is not much room to compromise unfortunately...

In this case I'm not talking about compromise, I'm talking about holding them to the letter of your contract. Negotiate when your lunch hour occurs, and put your foot down. If they insist that you cannot take your hour break during lunch, ensure it's at some other valid point in the day (the last hour doesn't actually count in most legal systems as it's mean to interrupt the flow of work, not reduce an 8 hour shift to 7).

I mean they're not going to be happy, but you're leaving anyways so what does it matter.

Ini
January 14th, 2015, 15:47
if you are working 8:30-4:15 I would guess you have 45min for lunch then a 15min "break" from 4:15 to the end of your contracted time (4:30)

Gizmotech
January 14th, 2015, 15:51
if you are working 8:30-4:15 I would guess you have 45min for lunch then a 15min "break" from 4:15 to the end of your contracted time (4:30)

If that's the case for the guy, they have no right to ask them to stay there for lunch then as the time is considered a break under law, meaning free from work requirements.

arcthemonkey
January 15th, 2015, 02:38
I don't know man, I know the crux of your argument is that you don't or shouldn't have to eat it, but really? You have to. Even if you don't have to. You know what I mean. Everyone eats school lunch. You mentioned that there are other teachers who complain about the portion size, but they still eat it. You don't have to eat it all. You don't have to put on a show about packing it up to pretend to take it home. Mostly importantly, though, it's not to blame for your weight gain and cholesterol. Look around you. You aren't surrounded by fat people with cholesterol problems. The cause of your health problems lies somewhere else, and I think you know that.

I don't want to be an ass, and I know it's been implied by others, but I am suspicious this isn't the first time you've made waves like this. I don't know anyone who wasn't asked to recontract. Don't say "Fuck it, I'm leaving and they hate me anyway" and start flashing gang signs at everyone. You're still a JET. Don't make JETs and foreigners look bad by throwing a fit over your kimpira gobo and whole milk. Looks bad, man, no matter how rational your argument may or may not be.

I don't like to be harsh, but I feel like if you know enough Japanese to have had the conversation you did, you should know enough about the culture to have seen this coming a mile away.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 15th, 2015, 08:29
Snow approves of the preceding message.

greyjoy
January 15th, 2015, 08:52
I don't know man, I know the crux of your argument is that you don't or shouldn't have to eat it, but really? You have to. Even if you don't have to. You know what I mean. Everyone eats school lunch. You mentioned that there are other teachers who complain about the portion size, but they still eat it. You don't have to eat it all. You don't have to put on a show about packing it up to pretend to take it home. Mostly importantly, though, it's not to blame for your weight gain and cholesterol. Look around you. You aren't surrounded by fat people with cholesterol problems. The cause of your health problems lies somewhere else, and I think you know that.

I don't want to be an ass, and I know it's been implied by others, but I am suspicious this isn't the first time you've made waves like this. I don't know anyone who wasn't asked to recontract. Don't say "Fuck it, I'm leaving and they hate me anyway" and start flashing gang signs at everyone. You're still a JET. Don't make JETs and foreigners look bad by throwing a fit over your kimpira gobo and whole milk. Looks bad, man, no matter how rational your argument may or may not be.

I don't like to be harsh, but I feel like if you know enough Japanese to have had the conversation you did, you should know enough about the culture to have seen this coming a mile away.

Hey, I currently show over 60 unread threads on my feed. Can you go ahead and summarize everyone else's posts in those threads like you did here so that I don't have to wade through them all? Thanks.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 15th, 2015, 09:05
Hey, I currently show over 60 unread threads on my feed. Can you go ahead and summarize everyone else's posts in those threads like you did here so that I don't have to wade through them all? Thanks.

Greyjoy, always here to offer a heartfelt compliment. If you want to be an arse take it to the lounge or PM the guy - this thread has done a miraculous job of staying on topic and in the right tone so far.

greyjoy
January 15th, 2015, 09:55
御免, 雪さん.

OP, you should know better than to blame the school lunch for your weight problem. Everyone else eats the school lunch and they're not fat, are they? Japanese society frowns upon people who don't conform to societal norms, I would think you would know that by now.

Jiggit
January 15th, 2015, 09:57
御免, 雪さん.

OP, you should know better than to blame the school lunch for your weight problem. Everyone else eats the school lunch and they're not fat, are they? Japanese society frowns upon people who don't conform to societal norms, I would think you would know that by now.

Hey greyjoy way to summarize what I already said already.

greyjoy
January 15th, 2015, 10:10
Hey greyjoy way to summarize what I already said already.

I'm sorry, I'm too busy telling all the people who got interviews to wear suits and not mention their Naruto slash fiction to read this post. Can you give me the gist of it?

Aethel
January 17th, 2015, 16:39
I see where you're coming from. I gained weight when I first got here, even though Im usually pretty careful about what I eat. I felt like I had to eat everything they gave me at lunch. My situation is pretty similar. I have to eat kyuushoku because they want me to talk to the kids at lunch. If I had any severe dietary restrictions, that would be the only way they would let me bring a lunch, and I would have to eat in the staff room alone. I don't, so I had to go the kyuushoku route.

Im not going to tell you what to do, I'll just tell you what I did. After talking to some of the teachers, I found out that many of them don't eat all of the lunch. I asked, and they said it's fine to put back parts of my lunch once everyone's been served and we've done the "itadakimasu" together. So usually I get up and put back the milk, half of the rice, and sometimes some of the entree. Usually it's grabbed by one the boys fighting for seconds. Sometimes I bring small healthy snacks, like a little fruit, and eat a little between classes. I've now lost the weight and I'm lower than before I arrived.

No one really seemed to care about me actually eating all of kyuushoku and only kyuushoku. I just can't be there with the kids during lunch if I'm not involved in the lunch system. And I want to be. Paying ¥4800 a month to get to hang out with my kids for 20 minutes doesn't seem like a lot to me. I factor it in with the fact that I had to buy a car in order to get to work. And work clothes. And school supplies. Sometimes jobs also comes with expenses. But I also really enjoy eating with my students, so my situation may be different.

For those of you talking about breaks, I have no iidea what you're talking about. Maybe I don't work long enough? I work 8:00-3:45. No break. But also no one cares what I'm doing if there's no classes, so I have some downtime every day.

WishfulDreamer
January 18th, 2015, 05:02
I see where you're coming from. I gained weight when I first got here, even though Im usually pretty careful about what I eat. I felt like I had to eat everything they gave me at lunch. My situation is pretty similar. I have to eat kyuushoku because they want me to talk to the kids at lunch. If I had any severe dietary restrictions, that would be the only way they would let me bring a lunch, and I would have to eat in the staff room alone. I don't, so I had to go the kyuushoku route.

Im not going to tell you what to do, I'll just tell you what I did. After talking to some of the teachers, I found out that many of them don't eat all of the lunch. I asked, and they said it's fine to put back parts of my lunch once everyone's been served and we've done the "itadakimasu" together. So usually I get up and put back the milk, half of the rice, and sometimes some of the entree. Usually it's grabbed by one the boys fighting for seconds. Sometimes I bring small healthy snacks, like a little fruit, and eat a little between classes. I've now lost the weight and I'm lower than before I arrived.

No one really seemed to care about me actually eating all of kyuushoku and only kyuushoku. I just can't be there with the kids during lunch if I'm not involved in the lunch system. And I want to be. Paying ¥4800 a month to get to hang out with my kids for 20 minutes doesn't seem like a lot to me.

I had a similar experience, but my problem wasn't about weight. I'm going to admit it, most of the time I detested school lunch. But I stuck with it so I could keep eating with the kids. I definitely think your method is the best way to go about it. Put back some food before "Itadakimasu" if the portion is too big for you. My base school would give me HUGE portions no matter how many times I requested otherwise. But they were content for me to put back food before we ate so that others could benefit off my unwanted food. And they didn't have a big problem with me putting back what I couldn't finish in the bucket at the end of of lunchtime. My schools were also nice enough to understand the food I just could not eat (in my case, shishamo). So I would eat with the kids 99% of the time, but on shishamo day, I would give the shishamo to the kyoto-sensei (who was very happy with the arrangement) and enjoy eating with the staff in the office on a rare occasion.

Believe me, OP, there were times when I wanted to straight up quit school lunch. Like Aethel, I'm not going to tell you what to do, that's up to you. I just recommend, since you have a problem with portion and the type of food, see if putting some food back is okay. Aethel's idea for a healthy snack is also a good one.

starfish
January 19th, 2015, 11:53
My cholesterol and weight have shot up since coming to Japan a year and a half ago.

...

(I get hungry at night).

It seems like you're having a lot of personal problems that go beyond your diet.


Quit eating at night. Your metabolism slows down with lack of physical activity, and sleep slows it even further.
You've already admitted you don't exercise...lack of access to a gym is no excuse.

You insist on eating only once your metabolism has completely shut down and you're not exercising at all to stimulate it again? Of course you're gaining weight. You're acting like a fat person. JET or not, if you don't change your behavior, heart disease is going to follow you right back home, and given what I've seen of you you'll still be blaming the BoE the whole way there.

But you won't take responsibility for your actions, so you're causing trouble for everybody around you. Quit blaming your supervisor/BoE, rural life and school lunches for your unhealthy lifestyle. You're an adult college graduate who should understand basic nutrition by now. Given the general tone around here I'm a little surprised that I'm the first one to call you out on this.

mothy
January 19th, 2015, 11:59
Uhh... I think nearly everyone pointed that out. And since the question wasn't, what can I do to have a healthy lifestyle? The people who didn't were just answering the OPs question.

webstaa
January 19th, 2015, 12:14
I foist off almost all fish/seafood off on the other kids (returning it at the start of lunch) or give it to one of my JTEs who is a bottomless pit. He appreciates it, I think. Then just don't eat all the rice. Easy way to cut 200-300 calories off the meal by not eating more than half the rice (especially when the lunch lady gives you enough for 2-3 people because your 'special' or only come around once every 2-3 weeks or whatever.)

I was really up on turning myself around when I came to Japan for JET. I had been lifting weights and lost 30lbs in the 7 months before. Then I lost it all and became a sedentary blob. But 20 lbs or so back on. Felt like crap. Started biking to school (its pretty close) and getting some other excercise. Now if don't head out to get some exercise I get really sleepy around 4 PM or so. Walk around for a while before dinner/actually exercise, feel much better.

starfish
January 19th, 2015, 12:23
Uhh... I think nearly everyone pointed that out. And since the question wasn't, what can I do to have a healthy lifestyle? The people who didn't were just answering the OPs question.

Fair enough, but OP is fishing for answers to the wrong question.

uthinkimlost?
January 19th, 2015, 12:32
Fair enough, but OP is fishing for answers to the wrong question.

Welcome to the magical world of Gaijin!

mothy
January 19th, 2015, 12:34
I've spent my entire life looking for answers to the wrong question.

Jiggit
January 19th, 2015, 12:49
Fair enough, but OP is fishing for answers to the wrong question.

^ I love this guy!

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 19th, 2015, 13:27
Given the general tone around here I'm a little surprised that I'm the first one to call you out on this.

The lounge is the place for harsh words and call-outs, generally. This section is a little... gentler.

That said, I don't disagree with much of what you're saying.

johnny
January 19th, 2015, 13:43
Yeah, I think so long as the comments aren't overly harsh or mean-spirited, they're okay. I wouldn't consider Starfish's comment to be too bad according to those criteria.

starfish
January 19th, 2015, 14:13
Yeah, I think so long as the comments aren't overly harsh or mean-spirited, they're okay. I wouldn't consider Starfish's comment to be too bad according to those criteria.

Re-reading my own comment even I think it's a bit harsh. I'm not normally so abrasive.

Honestly I wish the best for OP, but believe they're barking up the wrong tree with this blame-the-BoE thing.

Ini
January 19th, 2015, 14:15
now you're calling her a dog as well as fat? Jeez, tone it down a little

azguitarist
January 19th, 2015, 14:42
Quit eating at night. Your metabolism slows down with lack of physical activity, and sleep slows it even further.
You've already admitted you don't exercise...lack of access to a gym is no excuse.



I have to point out that based on my research and personal experience as a bodybuilder, eating at night DOES NOT make a difference. Regardless to whether you eat 3000 calories in the morning or at night, the extra calories will get stored as fat either way. Metabolism has no say in the matter.
I realize that it' s a practical strategy for many people but that's only because it generally reduces their calorie intake. Timing doesn't matter.

Source (http://rippedbody.jp/nutritional-hierarchy-importance-4-meal-timing-frequency-macro-cycling/)

johnny
January 19th, 2015, 14:51
Re-reading my own comment even I think it's a bit harsh. I'm not normally so abrasive.

Honestly I wish the best for OP, but believe they're barking up the wrong tree with this blame-the-BoE thing.

After rereading my post, I'm amazed that anyone understood it. I really need to stop posting when I'm in a rush, but I digress.

Out of context your posts could be seen to be a tad harsh, but within the context of this thread I don't think they're too bad. Sometimes it helps when you're frank with people, even if your comments take a while to sink in.

I still sympathize with Interioraround and I know how she feels, but her solution was not going to result in the outcomes she wanted.

Ini
January 19th, 2015, 14:56
I know how she feels

clammy?

starfish
January 19th, 2015, 16:16
I have to point out that based on my research and personal experience as a bodybuilder, eating at night DOES NOT make a difference. Regardless to whether you eat 3000 calories in the morning or at night, the extra calories will get stored as fat either way. Metabolism has no say in the matter.
I realize that it' s a practical strategy for many people but that's only because it generally reduces their calorie intake. Timing doesn't matter.

Source (http://rippedbody.jp/nutritional-hierarchy-importance-4-meal-timing-frequency-macro-cycling/)

You're a bodybuilder, in peak physical condition. Eat what you want, when you want-- you're going to burn it off during your next workout anyway, so your personal experience is not going to yield the same results as someone who is sedentary.

And yes, "metabolism slowing down at night" is not literally true, as it is a gross oversimplification of a much more complicated topic (ketosis). The end result is the same but for different reasons, which is why that's been a commonly-held belief for so long.

sourdoughsushi
January 19th, 2015, 16:30
You're a bodybuilder, in peak physical condition. Eat what you want, when you want-- you're going to burn it off during your next workout anyway, so your personal experience is not going to yield the same results as someone who is sedentary.

And yes, "metabolism slowing down at night" is not literally true, as it is a gross oversimplification of a much more complicated topic (ketosis). The end result is the same but for different reasons, which is why that's been a commonly-held belief for so long.

The case of someone that's sedentary simplifies it, really. Eat less than you put out. Time is of little relation when simple math is such a large part of the issue.