Today, I ate lunch with first year students, and asked them all about their lunches, even though I really did know what most of the foods were. About half of the kids were unable to identify at least one item in their lunch boxes, and it was clear that this had never even occurred to them before (and this conversation was largely in their own language, so it wasn't simply that they didn't know the English word for XXXXX). Tonight, at the enkai, I asked what one hunk o' fish was, prompting quite a long reply from the truant officer, who is a retired JHS principal, about the life cycle of the buri, and how sushi from this fish is called different names depending on what stage of its life it is caught at (this was one of two conversations I pretty much understood among the fifty or so of the evening). For some reason, everybody at the table got excited about explaining this to me, though there were a couple of dissenters from the buri theory. One of the latter asked the waitress, who then asked the chef and reported back that it was in fact a completely different fish.
As long as I'm sure it's not Japanese milk, I'll consume something without much worry--the hygeine standards for everything except the Upton-Sinclair dairy products are quite high, so there's nothing to fear (though it did take me about half a pint of beer to wash down just one weird snail tonight).
O genki de