Friday’s lunch! Starch, starch starch. This is why I’m fat. This right here. A heaping bowl of potatoes and a heaping bowl of rice right next to it with two square inches of fish and two cherry tomatoes as though that makes a difference. I drank the milk, ate the potatoes, ate the tomatoes, and discreetly covered everything else with my flattened, empty milk carton. When the girl to my left asked about it I simply said, “I’m on a diet.” Yep. Even a 12 year old can see I really, really need one these days. No one challenged me after that.
Conversation was had, but most of it was over my phone. I carry to lunch it in my pocket, and take it out when I sit down. Usually, it ends up working as a visual aid in lunch conversation when I can’t explain something or want to show a photo of someone or something in my life. Many a cat photo has been ogled on my phone during school lunch. But, on this day the girls at the table instantly asked if they could fiddle with it and flipped through until they found the game screen. Lots of squeals were had when they saw Nameko Saibai on my phone. And, not just one but three whole versions of it! I was turned on to this game by elementary school kids at another school, but apparently it’s universal. Every kid seems to play on mom or dad’s phone or tablet. And, every kid wants a smartphone or tablet because of this and a handful of other obscenely popular games.
Nameko Saibai, or Mushroom Garden, is so simple it’s astonishing how popular it really is here. The game features a fixed screen with a log, warmer, heat lamp, and moisture source. Sprinkle the log with “food” and nameko mushrooms start to grow. Harvest by tapping the screen. The end. Oh, you get points for each mushroom and can use them to upgrade the four items on the screen. And, rare, comical cartoon characters mushrooms occasionally pop up but that’s all there is. The end. The entire table was fascinated and traded off being allowed to tap the mushrooms to pick them the entire meal. They were so into it they completely blew past the English screens that normally intimidate kids trying to play with my phone. They played nice and racked up a few points so I have no complaints.