School Lunch in Ashoro Japan, July 2020. Photo by Hannah Ballhorn.

Back to school in Ashoro, Japan

Be a host family for the 2021 student delegation!

With school being back in and at full capacity this means that the school lunch center in Ashoro is as busy as ever! Many people may not know that in Japan it is extremely common that communities have school lunch centers that provide for the local schools and preschool/daycare centers. Everyday each child here is guaranteed a delicious and filling lunch. Ashoro’s school lunch center does an amazing job!

They source food locally from farmers around Tokachi and use many fresh local ingredients. Each day’s lunch is scheduled months in advance. Mondays are fish, Tuesday is bread, Wednesday is noodles, Thursday is bread, and Friday is rice day! Every meal comes with 4 main components – meat, salad, soup, and milk – and on special occasions a dessert such as cake, pudding, or fruit salad. Some of my favourites are ramen, curry and rice, and spare ribs.

In 2017 Ashoro’s lunch center won an award for best lunch center in ALL of Japan! Their award-winning dish consisted of ingredients all grown in Ashoro. We are very lucky here to have such a great lunch program!

On another note, due to COVID-19 the Ashoro High School has had to cancel their delegation trip to Wetaskiwin in September 2020. However, with hopes to allow these students an opportunity they are planning on sending over two delegations next year, one in September 2021 and one in October 2021.

This means that there will be about 120 Japanese students coming to Wetaskiwin over the two month period. The Wetaskiwin Ashoro Friendship Society is looking for homestay families to house the students for 4 days during each visit. We are very fortunate to already have many amazing families who have welcomed this unique experience! However, we will be needing more for 2021!

The students from Ashoro love to meet local families in Wetaskiwin and the homestay is always their favourite part of the trip! If you are interested in being a homestay for one weekend in either September or October 2021, please contact the Wetaskiwin Ashoro Friendship Society at or message them on their Facebook page! This is an amazing opportunity for these students to experience Canadian family life and make new connections!

-Hannah Ballhorn

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