Dec 6

Justin’s Japan: ‘Nourishing Japan’ Documentary Launches Kickstarter Campaign

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

For Americans who have lived in Japan, some cultural experiences have a wonderful way of returning with us on the journey home.

Alexis Agliano Sanborn is a Harvard grad who spent two years teaching in rural Shimane Prefecture on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. As a Japan specialist, writer and filmmaker, her exposure to school lunch in Shimane served as the inspiration for a new project: “Nourishing Japan,” a documentary film currently in development about food education in Japan that aims to change how we look at what we eat.

“My specific goal is to create a documentary about how the food education workforce in Japan is changing the world for good,” Sanborn said. “We’re looking for supporters who believe learning about food is important, and are excited to support the creation of a film which has the power to change the world for the better.”

What’s so special about school lunches in Japan? Simple: The food is made from scratch. A 2013 Washington Post article explains: “Schools in Japan give their students the sort of food they’d get at home—not at a stadium, as in the United States….They’re balanced but hearty, heavy on rice and vegetables, fish and soups, and they haven’t changed much in four decades.”

Next year, Sanborn will return to Japan to begin a second round of filming. On January 5th, the “Nourishing Japan” project will launch a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help share the project with the world. With more than 160 likes currently on Facebook, the team is looking to double that number in December. For more information and to view the Kickstarter teaser video, visit

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