As a person who got through elementary and middle school with the school-provided lunch, the words 『school cafeteria』 and 『school store』 simultaneously evoked both feelings of yearning and awe in me.
I imagined all sorts of useless things about what I would do after entering high school, such as scrambling to get bread at the school store, or asking for a larger serving at the school cafeteria while being scolded by the old lady in charge.
However, once I actually entered high school, what I saw before me was truly anticlimactic.
A meal-ticket based system that left no room for argument about the selection or quantity of food.
All the popular items on the menu would be sold out because of the students who came early to school for club practice.
There was no separate school store, and the place that sold bread was treated as part of the school cafeteria, so all the students satisfied their need for bread by solemnly standing in well-ordered lines at the downtown McDona**s.
And more than anything, what left me crestfallen was the fact that everything was quite expensive.
It was certainly less expensive than wandering into some restaurant in the town to eat, but paying 480 Yen for shoyu ramen or 400 Yen for curry every day was simply too high a threshold for a highschool student who did not have a part-time job.
As for bread, the yakisoba sandwich that often appears in stories set in high schools was actually priced over 200 Yen. What’s more, they were so small that you would need at least three of them to fill your stomach.
No matter how you looked at it, it was not a price that would prompt students from all over the school to compete fiercely for their share.
Of course, there was no way that my mother would allow me to spend nearly 500 Yen everyday to eat things like curry and ramen, so I was fortunate enough to receive a bento from her almost everyday for three years that was far more filling and had more variety than any single item from the school cafeteria.
It has been a while. This is Wagahara, whose biggest regret is not being able to eat the katsu curry that was the most popular item on the school menu.
In the end, the first time Wagahara was able to decide what to eat on his own was after entering college.
As for being able to properly cook on my own, it was only after the late age of twenty five.
I think that deciding what to eat on your own is an essential step to becoming an independent adult.
In order to make decisions on what, when, where, and how to eat something, it is necessary to have a suitable level of economic freedom, ability to take action, ability to discern the quality of food, and the ability to act without the oversight of guardians.
On the other hand, it is probably only after one gains all these requisite abilities and becomes an adult who does not rely on anyone for their food, that they start to realize how lucky they were to experience a time when they could completely depend on someone else for their bountiful meals, the so-called 『mother’s cooking』.
By the way, I am sure that most adults have some fond memories of their『mother’s cooking』, but the phrase『father’s cooking』 doesn’t pop up very often.
However, these days, it has become quite normal for fathers to participate in taking care of children as well.
Maybe once the children from this generation grow up, they will feel nostalgic while saying things like 『My father made this particular dish for me when I was a child』.
By the way, my experience of an unforgettable 『father’s cooking』 is the roasted pacific saury that my father would quietly leave next to my keyboard as I sat in front of my PC while drinking coffee.
Around two-thirty in the afternoon. Coffee and pacific saury would be waiting on the PC desk.
My father was always a little crazy when it came to fish, but I still have no idea why he would choose that sort of time to roast pacific saury.
This book is about the children who are still not able to choose the contents of their own meals, but who are growing without realizing it into people who will be able to make those choices someday.
Unlike a certain Demon King and his friends, they are still incapable of securing their own meals unless they are under someone’s protection, but it would be nice if we could see them grow just a little closer to adulthood in the next volume as well.
Well then, let us meet again in the next volume!!
– Wagahara Satoshi.
『Wagahara’s friend watching in shock as he sticks his head into a box』
Friend: What on earth are you doing?
Wagahara: Pacific saury in a box.
Friend: You’ve been strange since a while back, what happened?
Wagahara: Perhaps I have lost confidence in myself.
Friend: Should I pack some in a box and ship it to you?
Illustrations: 029 (oniku)
I have become addicted to ramen lately. I want to eat some tasty shoyu ramen made with chicken stock….