Here I will touch briefly on some of the issues related to food; in the coming weeks, I will bring a camera to dinner and take some pictures of the various beautiful little dining items that can be found everywhere.
So, for my own part I have been eating out twice almost every day for lunch and dinner. For breakfast I have cereal (corn flakes) and milk, which is basically the same as in the US except that the milk isn't pasteurized and the cereal box is a little smaller (about five bowls per box) and a little cheaper (about $1.75).
For lunch, I stop at a convenience store. They are everywhere in Japan. They stock various lunches which are sort of made fresh every day, and you can usually choose from something like: hamburger with rice, fish with rice, spaghetti, Japanese noodles, etc. They aren't the tastiest in the world but they are reasonably healthy (though thoroughly washed in preservatives and completely fruit-celibate) and very cheap (between $3-5). If you are going to eat it right there, they will even heat it up for you in about twenty seconds.
You can also get little lunch boxes from the grocery, which are a little cheaper, have a little more, and are generally a bit healthier.
Thankfully, I was told today I would be spared having to make a run every day to pick up the lunch, and instead would be able to order with all of the other teachers who do not bring their lunch to school. Since the kids all bring their lunch, and eat in their homerooms, there is no school cafeteria, so restaurants cater for the teachers. Thankfully, this only costs me 450 yen (~115/$1) each day, so I am excited.
Finally, dinner. The question is: why am I not cooking dinner? Well, there are two equally great reasons. One, the food is reasonably cheap, and if I don't order a drink and imbibe only the provided tea and water, I can eat at many restaurants for between 600-1000 yen. It is very hard to cook for the low end of that price, and at the high end you have to factor in the trouble of preparing it, cleaning up, trying not to waste all the extra crap I bought, etc.
Also, I have been spending my evenings when I get home from school studying. I am trying to memorize about 6000 words in one month, and to do that seems to be taking a fair bit of effort. So, since I can't really memorize anything after dinner for about an hour or so, I delay dinner until I get it done, but by the time I get done, I am too hungry to cook.
My favorite restaurant that I have discovered in the last month is Kappa Sushi (Turtle Sushi), which is a conveyor-belt style sushi restaurant where two pieces of sushi costs 105 yen (about eighty cents). So, the little sushi plates circle around the restaurant, and every time you see one you like, you grab it and pay eighty cents. It is much more fun than it sounds. And it tastes delicious. I have been there about twelve times in thirty days. Unfortunately, although many restaurants like it have a point card (for discounts), it's too cheap to have one. But then that's one less thing to worry about.
Stay tuned for more detailed summaries (and pictures!) of the many wonderful dishes in Morioka.