Japan’s School System Is More Equitable—and Less Costly

KAWAMATA, Japan—In many countries, the United States included, students’ economic backgrounds often determine the quality of the education they receive. Richer students tend to go to schools funded by high property taxes, with top-notch facilities and staff that help them succeed. In districts where poorer students live, students often get shoddy facilities, out-of-date textbooks, and fewer guidance counselors. Not in Japan. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of 35 wealthy countries, Japan ranks highly among its peers in providing its rich and poor students with…

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HOW TO MAKE OMURICE, JAPAN’S OOZY EXPLODING OMELET

Do you remember that scene in Tampopo with the omelet? The one that sits on top of the dish of fried rice and unfurls with custardy egg like a popped balloon when split open? That’s omurice. (Sound it out and you’ll get the cognate.) And it’s a delightful example of home-cooked yōshoku cuisine. Yōshoku—literally “Western food”—is a subset of Japanese cooking that originated at the turn of the 20th century. During the Meiji period, as Japan increased its global presence, Western ingredients and cooking techniques became fashionable, and yōshoku cuisine…

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