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A Pointless School Lunch Story

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Consumerism and concrete have taken the edge of the weirdness in Japan.  A concrete hulk of a shopping complex is a hulk of a shopping complex anywhere you find it the world.  The price tags and descriptions may be in different languages and currencies but the concept is universal, you want stuff, you buy stuff.  I wonder what it would behave been like to have visited Japan before the American cultural invasion, before concrete and Miss Kitty.  
How can we go there, how can we go where we've once been?  The past is not a foreign country, it is lunch time in Japan, of this I am sure.  Thursdays I take luncheon with a disparate group physically and educationally challenged students and teachers (I am not being facetious, I work at a special needs school).  Something always challenges me, from Japanese language failure, the whole fish on a stick I am expected to eat, to the slurping sounds and table manners of 13 year olds.  Today I was half way through lunch with no incident, then I absent mindedly pulled out my little pot of Vaseline for my sore lips.  It blew minds.  'Wasiline' as they called it passed round and inspected.  I was asked what it taste like.  I invited them to try it.  Dollops of Vaseline were eaten, heads shaken and then as quickly as it began, it ended.  The little blue and white tin pot was passed back to me and the meal continued,  chopsticks began bulldozing rice into mouths soup slurped and seconds fetched.  That was that.  The lunch of Vasaline ended.  It was a little like going back in time, the science of Vaseilne was too much for my students, what a silly colonial I am.

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