While traveling in Japan I am sure you will come across a bento (lunch box 弁当). For me it is the most convenient and delicious way to eat on the run. While a simple one can be bought from a convenience store or at a train station, real delicacies can cost a fortune. I can tell you Japan is the land of delicious food!
Creating a bento is not a new idea. The origin of bento can be even traced back to the late Kamakura Period (1185 to 1333)! The idea developed over time and incorporated decorative lacquered boxes used for example at a hanami (flower viewing) or a tea party.
The attraction of a bento, for children and young women especially lies in the compact cuteness. In some Japanese schools children have to bring their own packed lunches, which means that someone has to get up very early every morning to prepare it fresh. For the kids it can be a social advantage to have a parent who packs lunches that are admired or envied, particularly if the food is handy for swapping and sharing. Top priority lies in presentation. I have heard about rivalry between housewife-mothers to produce the niftiest bento, so their child can glow with the nicest bento in class.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤）