Depending on the kindergarten, school lunch either comes pre-packed in a small plastic box, or is scooped out by the teachers from big communal bowls. Lunch last Monday came with an unusual treat -- dessert! Monday's dessert was a "shoe cream," which in Japan, naturally, is a flaky pastry filled with sweet custard. Although for the four-year old girl seated across me, dessert was a flaky pastry filled with a lion. She told me so herself.
"I can do magic," said the little girl. "Oh, yeah, like what?" I more or less asked her in Japanese.
"I can turn my shoe cream into a lion," she told me in that peculiar matter-of-fact tone only four-year olds can muster. "OK. Please do," I answered hopefully.
She shook her shoe cream vigorously, bits of custard filling flying out of the place where she had already bitten into it. "See?" she gestured. I didn't see.
"Where is it?" I asked her, her own confidence half-assuring me I might really see the lion.
"Inside!" She held out the shoe cream patiently for me to see. Before I could get a really good look at the lion though, she took another big bite.
"You ate the lion?!" "Yep!" she grinned, and pointed at her stomach. "And now I'm full!"
I'd really wanted to see that lion, too.