Kyushoku, or elementary school lunch, is a cherished tradition that embodies values central to Japanese culture: gratitude, cooperation, courtesy, cleanliness, reverence for nature, and pride of place. Much more than a meal, it’s a critical learning period at the heart of the school day. You’ll find it depicted in loving detail in a wildly popular short film by today’s guest, Atsuko Quirk. Americans might take away many lessons from what they see there, she says. But the Japanese, as they confront need and hunger in a shifting socioeconomic landscape, have much to learn from us in turn.
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