Bento (Lunch box)

Maku-no-uchi bento

The typical Japanese box lunch, Maku-no-uchi-bento, originally eaten in a theater between curtains (Maku-no-uchi means between curtains of a kabuki play) sells anywhere throughout Japan such as at the stands on the railway station, Kiosk, grocery stores or any tourist destinations. The box lunch usually consist with small rice balls sprinkled with black sesame seeds or fish flakes and variety of foods such as eggs, vegetables, fish or chicken, are attractively arranged, together with some pieces of fruits for desert. Today, chopsticks, a paper towel, a toothpick and a plastic bag for garbage disposal are attached to the box.

The Bento selling at stores is beautifully arranged with attention to colors and shapes. However, it feels as lacking with a personal touch or warmth, which we used to feel in old days with Bento. The mechanically but perfectly arranged lunch seems to ignore the individual taste.

Kids still bring homemade Bento to their fieldtrips. Mothers pack them early in the morning to send with their children.

A homemade Bento lunch box

I grew up in country side, so most of fieldtrips were to go to mountains, parks or rivers. At lunch time, we were divided into small groups and sat on the ground. Opening up Bento and sharing some of the content with friends was the most fun part of the fieldtrip.

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