First I shall, with the help of a few statistics, give and define the present food planning policy of Japan Air Lines. Second, I shall try to explain what is perhaps the primary motivating force behind the final selection of our menus; and, third, I shall briefly state our future aims.
Our food service policy, at present, is to serve Western style food as the principal or main diet because of its universality. Japanese food, our national diet, is served as an additional or alternative specialty.
From April 1, 1968, to March 31, 1969, we spent $4 000 000 for the main or Western diet, $560 000 for Japanese food, and $1 560 000 for beverages and other subsidiary foods. Together these expenditures amounted to 33 percent of our total transportation service expenses for international flights. Currently we have flight routes across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, to Southeast Asia, to the Middle and Near East, to Europe via both the Polar and Southern routes, and to the Soviet Union.
Our food service plan consists of two elements: a "meal plan" and a "menu plan. " The meal plan is used to determine which meal - breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack - is to be served and the order of service along every flight route. The menu plan determines the components of each meal.
In principle, we have six different menus for each meal at each meal loading station and these are rotated. However, these menus may be and are modified to suit the general tendency of diet preferences of our passengers. This is done in the belief that in general we are not in a position to dictate the meaning of "good food" to our passengers. On the contrary, we feel obligated to comply with the tastes of our passenger as much as possible, in order to make his short sojourn with us a pleasant one.
It is on this note of service that I would like to introduce what is perhaps the primary motivating force behind our food planning service. The essence of this force or attitude is captured in the Japanese phrase "furusato-no-aji. " Translated directly it means "a taste of food of the native land. '' As implied, this phrase has a nostalgic connotation and is often used to describe the feeling that a man who comes from the countryside but now lives in the big city gets when he eats some food, the taste of which triggers a flood of memories of a dish prepared with simple typical local food materials and cooked by his mother in her own and simple way. However, to those of us who study food service in Japan, this phrase has a broader meaning. It is used as a symbolic term to express the strong conservative nature of an inherent diet habit of either an individual or  a nation. Of course, a diet habit may gradually change, at least on the surface, as in the case of an individual who changes his place of abode or occupation. This, in turn, may be reflected in nations that absorb foreign cultures and blend them with their own. But, despite changes, one's furusato-no-aji remains, albeit subconsciously, and from time to time this feeling surfaces, particularly in extraordinary situations. An example of such a situation is the following: In Japan a hospital gives a person recovering from a serious illness a nutritious well-balanced modern hospital meal, but sometimes the patient rejects it, preferring instead a bowl of plain white rice gruel with a piece of dried plum. This simple meal has in many cases served to spur the patient on the road to full recovery. This same simple meal may have been given to him by his mother in his childhood when he suffered from dyspepsia.
Today more and more people are traveling by air. For a great many of them flying and going abroad present a new experience - a time of heightened excitement. To one passenger, this excitement may manifest itself in the excitement or tension created when he contemplates the new experiences he will encounter - different people, customs, languages, and situations. To a person on his way home, this tension may be a result of the accumulated fatigue produced by a heavy business or trip schedule.
One of the human elements which is readily influenced by such tension, as you well know, is the appetite. Tension spoils one's regular appetite, and here we would like to suggest that furusato-no-aji surfaces to one's consciousness. I can point to quite a few Japanese friends who, though thoroughly accustomed to a Western style diet, in times of tension dash for the nearest Japanese restaurant if one is available upon landing in a foreign city. I also have an American friend who under similar circumstances feels a strong desire for a good old American style hamburger.
I know that we do make - I hope infrequently - mistakes because of improper preparation or service of food which incurs passenger complaints. However, today I find that one of the greatest and perhaps the most important reason for passenger dissatisfaction with in-flight meals is the gap that exists between the food we offer and the food each passenger expects consciously or subconsciously according to his own or his nation's peculiar diet habit. If our food happens to divert, even partially, from our passenger's expectation, he might show not only displeasure but also a strong negative reaction against the whole meal. Use of the best quality nutritious food prepared in the fanciest fashion will not solve this problem. Rather, a totally different approach must be used.
Of course the ideal in-flight food service plan would be one wherein the furusato-no-aji of each individual passenger is met. We should have the diet history of each passenger, dating back to his childhood, showing the food he liked and how his mother prepared it. But this, of course, is a practical impossibility since in-flight food service is a form of mass feeding, within a limited time and limited to the facilities of an airplane.
We, however, are at least able to survey carefully and analyse the different historical and cultural backgrounds of each nation or country; and with this information we can attempt to grasp an individual nation's peculiar diet habit so that we can meet our passengers' satisfaction  by preparing menus either to comply with, or, more importantly, avoid conflicts with his furusato-no-aji.
Take, for example, the American dish of ham steak and applesauce which is served as a main dish on our lunch or dinner menus. American people are able to enjoy in combination the taste of ham with the sweetness of applesauce. However, to the average Japanese such a combination is unpalatable. You probably would have the same feeling for a combination of dill pickles with ice cream. We therefore serve ham steak with applesauce to our first-class passengers along with two or three other choices. This dish is included only on menus of our trans-Pacific flights where, in comparison with our other routes, the ratio of American to non-American passengers is quite high. Accordingly, we do not serve this dish in the economy class on any route where no alternative dish is offered.
Another example is that beef steaks prepared out of Tokyo are prepared on the well-done side of medium because our statistics show that the majority of passengers outbound from Tokyo prefer their steaks this way. On inbound flights leaving Europe's gateway cities, steaks are prepared on the rare side of medium because of the opposite trend indicated by statistics. In order to cope with the sense of furusato-no-aji of our own Japanese passengers, we are promoting Japanese food service with more varieties than ever, especially for flights returning to Japan. Two years ago, we started to serve Japanese food as a part of a regular Western style dinner course. A Japanese dish was offered as one of the choices of the main courses for first-class passengers. Today, not only Japanese passengers but many non-Japanese passengers as well enjoy Japanese food. The latter try Japanese food because they find it both fun and adventuresome to try something different in addition to their traditional native foods. We sincerely believe that such a delicate consideration of the various diet tendencies of passengers based on cautions observation is essential to maintain good in-flight food service.
As for our future aims, we shall of course continue to grow technologically. We shall revise serving procedures such as food preparation in the flight kitchen and loading methods on the ground to cope with the demands the Jumbo and SST age will usher in. However, in the area of food selection and service, where today such things as filet mignon by tube or cream of mushroom soup by tablet are in vogue, we shall remain conservative. By conservative, I mean we shall continue to meet the needs of our passengers and present foods prepared and served in a manner that will indeed make aeroflight dining a pleasure. We shall continue to try to meet the spirit - if not the letter - of the Japanese phrase furusato-no-aji which again translated directly means "a taste of food of the native land. "
In closing, let me be so bold as to suggest that this spirit be incorporated in the planning of your astronauts' aerospace diet. I hope I have given you some food for thought.