Seeing the food in my school's cafeteria got me thinking about my time living in Japan and the amazing lunches the children brought to school each day. I was always, always amazed at my student’s lunches (a.k.a obentos) in Japan. I would often ask, “What time did your Mom get up to make this piece of art? Is that octopus made out of a hot dog? No really, what time did she wake up?”
The funny thing is that the students never thought it was a big deal. They just assumed everyone ate lunches like this:
These are typical photos of lunches made in Japan. (No, I am not joking.) It is assumed that if you’re a Mom, you’ll wake up at 5AM (or earlier) and make your family these oh-so-simple lunches.
Here is a photo of a traditional bento box lunch:
Here are some photos from lazy, slacker Moms:
One of my frivolous New Years resolutions (they’re all frivolous) is to once again try to conquer this cultural art form of food assembly. Luckily, I have another four years to master it before Emi goes to school. Tyler advised me to keep things in perspective, and not to shoot for the moon. “Kacey, you shouldn’t try to be a bento master. Just make it good enough for Emi to be the envy of her classmates without them thinking you're crazy." Always thinking that husband of mine. Until then, I’ve found some websites that offer tips and videos on making the perfect bento box. There are also plenty of stores that sell bento goods. One of the best sites I've found so far is this site. They are a one stop shop for everything bento.
Interestingly, the websites and Flickr pictures in this post are all from businesses and people in the U.S.
It looks like the battle for the best bento box has already begun. Rats!