I remember when I was a college student, our dorm’s dining area has all you can eat salad bars, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, occasional Asian food, steak, etc. Well, how do university students in other countries eat?

Since I am visiting someone in Japan and stayed in a Japanese university, I had the pleasure to experience dorm food in another country.

(Photo Above: Cafeteria at this particular university in Japan I am visiting)

I have to note first, I was at a private university in Japan for a short visit, which may not reflect all Japanese universities here. Unlike schools in USA, there is no all-you-can-eat services here in the school, they sell dorm food by sets/meal combos. Each meal is $250 Yen, which is about $3 or $4 USD, can you believe that?!!

I also like to mention that because Japanese is a collective society, meaning they like to social and travel in groups, there are many unspoken rules when eating with other Japanese students (does not apply to foreigners XD phew~). Meal time is when people gather and social, and often represents your “social status” with other students.

1. If you eat before your friends way too often, those people might think you found a new group of people to hang out with, and talk to you less.

2.Often times everyone prefers to order the same thing, so it makes your group look more “together” or “closer.”

3. Upperclassmen are absolute rules in school, meaning they can determine whether you are an outcast in school, or become an “in-group.”  If an upperclassman invite you to eat with them, it is almost impossible to reject that because that would seem disrespectful, and you may lose their favor.

4. When eating with upperclassman or teachers, you have to watch out where you sit. Like if you are the youngest, you better sit near the entrance way or one edge of the table (important seats are the middle or the inside ones). If you piss off an upperclassmen or disobey one, trust me hell will be waiting in school and not even teachers can help you. (Honestly, I am glad I am not a student there…)

After we understand the rules, now we can eat! Thats look at the choices we have below:

(Set 1. Photo Above: Roasted Beef Stew, Rice, Shumai, Seaweed Soup, tea and Tiramisu. Tiramisu melted my heart, it was the best! )

(Set 2. Photo Above: Tempura, Soba, Rice, Potato Salad, Miso Soup and tea. I always welcome tempura in my plate ^_^)

(Set 3. Photo Above: Tonkatsu, salad, egg, miso soup, rice, and tea. My favorite is the fried pork cutlet, I had a good piece with no weird parts)

(Set 4. Photo Above: Soba, Oyakodon, Tempura, and string beans)

(Set 5. Photo Above: Beef Curry,salad, soup, and tea. I think this is one of the lowest point of my cafeteria days in Japan)

(Set 6. Photo Above: Gyudon//beef onion rice, salad, soup, takoyaki, onsen egg, and tea)

I will be fair. There are days during the week when I was like…..what the hell is this? (points at the spaghetti they had in the cafeteria that was mixed with miso sauce ~ x_X that was the weirdest combo I had). I also noticed, they love their carb. Often times I was presented with noodles and rice together in one set. Not to mention, almost every meal there is something fried unless you order a curry or ramen from the cafeteria. Is it healthy? I am not sure. Is it good tasting? 75% of the time yes! Is it what I would eat everyday? I do wish there is more variety, like real spaghetti or pizza or something (those are served in another section in cafeteria, and apparently costs 5x more). After all, I think I am spoiled by the food variety we have in America XD

But they have good food every couple days and on important days (like orientation day they had steak O_O). If they can already do this with $250 yen/about $3-4 USD a meal, I wonder what will they can serve if they charge the price to normal USA food price around $8-$15 dollars.

Which set do you like? =D