There seems to be something different about the city of Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture. Both master-animator Hayao Miyazaki and Kanto-head-turner Cornman hail from this area. Perhaps the reason why such creativity comes from this small city is revealed in a letter from East Tokorozawa Elementary School which informed parents on municipal school board policy during school closures… and gave them fruit.

The picture above was posted on twitter by a former student with the caption: “My old school is having fun. lol”

The letter reads:

“As always, thank you for your cooperation with the school meal program.

With the influenza outbreak in January and February, first, second, fourth, and fifth grade classes were suspended and the meal program was stopped. In accordance with Tokorozawa City guidelines we are required to refund 91 yen for the milk and basic foods of the school meal on the third and fourth days of the closure. This money should go to its rightful owner, but to avoid the complexity of paperwork, please accept this enclosed dekopon instead. In addition to your understanding, we also hope that you savor this gift. If you have any questions feel free to call us.”

A dekopon (pictured above) is a type of citrus fruit grown in Japan. Its incredibly-fun-to-say name comes from the kanji character deko (凸) which means “convex” and bears a striking resemblance to the fruit. Aside from its distinctive bump, its fairly similar to an orange in taste and texture.

However, none of that explains why a dekopon was given as compensation for school closures. Several people responded to the tweet asking for the logic behind this move. Someone suggested the Parent-Teacher Association all had a particular fondness for this fruit. Many others figured dekopon was the produce item retailing at 91 yen [US$0.90] at the time of the refund. Then of course there was the possibility that the school was sending a message about nutrition by giving a fruit rich in vitamin C.

Overall, most netizens were amused at the way this school casually yet efficient dealt with this budget issue, especially with such a politely worded letter. However, many also wondered what they were serving there that only cost 91 yen for two days.

While this quirky maneuver left many confused in a charmingly fun way, only one thing is certain: It must have sucked to have been in the third grade during that epidemic.

Source: Twitter via Hamusoku (Japanese)