Aussie mum shamed by a teacher in Japan for giving her son a Vegemite sandwich for lunch instead of a homemade box of bento.

ABC journalist Catherine Taylor said her son had just started pre-school in Toyko when she was reprimanded by a male teacher.

According to Ms Taylor, the man took a picture of her son’s lunch on his phone before telling her ‘sandwiches’ were not ‘appropriate’ food because they were ‘unhealthy’.

The teacher then showed her pictures of bento depicting popular Japanese cartoons such as Hello Kitty and the Pokemon Pikachu, indicating that she should follow those standards.

Ms Taylor said she had originally packed her son a lunch of Vegemite sandwiches, a banana, muffin and capsicum slices and admitted that it looked ‘very yellow’.

“I told him this was a pretty typical lunch for a young child where I came from — so what should I do differently?”

The teacher promptly produced more photographs on his phone saying, “These are some of the lunchboxes that other children brought with them today.”

The mum shared on ABC, “I thought the teacher was joking: it could not be possible that any parent would produce such a thing for a pre-schooler’s lunch. I waited for him to burst out laughing — gotcha! The teacher’s face was stern.”


Is there anything wrong with the good old vegemite sandwich?

Share your comments below

  • What ur kidding right i love vegimite sandwhich they are bloody amazing


  • It depends on where you are – vegemite sandwiches are good for lunches here in Australia. If I was in another country I would try and stick to what the other kids have so my child did not get bullied over it.


  • What ever happened to everything in moderation & that good old thing where people minded their damn business ????


  • the world is getting out of control. vegemite sandwiches is what everyone needs to put a smile on their faces. Throw in a banana too!


  • I would have purposely sent them again and again with extra to share with the class


  • Nothing wrong with “the good old vegemite sandwich” here in Australia, no, but the context in the above story was a bit different. It would be sad for her child to be bullied for not having the kind of lunch their friends had.

    On the one hand, I think it’s great that schools and kindys in Japan are promoting healthy eating. On the other, it’s another thing for busy mothers to feel pressured about. I’ve made cute animal shaped foods for my kids a few times, but that was a treat. I’d hate for it to be something I was expected to do, and shamed for not doing, every single day. I give my kids pretty healthy food (or their Dad does, since keeping our children fed isn’t my exclusive responsibility just because I’m the one with a uterus) but it’s not always going to look pretty, because I have a life and other things to do.


  • A different culture I guess but he would have known that the family wasn’t from Japan!


  • Oh this is nuts! School lunches are started to get out of control!


  • It’s a completely different culture and I think that the teacher shouldn’t have said anything


  • WOW! WOW! and WOW! The good old vegemite sandwich is good enough I say. Clearly people have a lot of time in Japan to produce such lunches. As someone who is clearly not native to Japan, they should be allowed to send what they like for their child. I thought it was a good, healthy lunch. And let’s not forget the child who may only eat Vegemite!!


  • My kids love vegemite sandwiches.


  • I grew up on vegemite sandwiches. Every culture is different and has there go-to lunches!


  • My son went to school with a vegemite sandwich, muesli bar, bottle water and a piece of fruit. Always came home with the fruit and the water bottle. It was what he wanted and so I made it. This teacher had no right to criticize the meal if that’s what the child wants.


  • Food is food. Nothing wrong with a sandwich. Rice can be just as unhealthy as a sandwich.


  • Some people do get very silly about school lunches, but I think this was just cultural differences at play.


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