Do you know what bento is? I sure didn't until about a year ago. My daughter, who is 6, got into trading stickers with her friends. Before I knew it I was hitting every Japanese store around here looking for the darling Japanese stickers and the oh so coveted water stickers [that's another story]. At the Japanese stores, I noticed all these cute boxes and holders for chopsticks and little tiny containers. Not being able to read Japanese, I couldn't tell what these little bottles were used for, I was thinking doll house stuff? Boy was I wrong. How could I not know those little bottles and tiny containers were for soy sauce or seaweed flakes.
So flash forward to school time meals. We have a fairly heavy Asian population in our little city, a pull from our Honda factories and The Ohio State University. So naturally, our schools would have a large Asian make-up, not just Japanese, but Chinese, Korean and Indian. I love to go to the school to help out during lunch time, but I really love sneaking a peek at the little Japanese girls lunchboxes or bentos. They are truly works of art. I'm sure they all think I'm some crazy American wanting to study their bento containers.
These pictures are from Adventures in Bentomaking. Aren't they just beautiful? Now has this inspired me to do this for myself or kids? Probably not. Packing three lunches in the morning is daunting enough, let alone taking the extra time to cut everything in perfect symmetry.
If this intrigues you, you can buy products from japan with love on etsy or their website. They have a section dedicted to all things bento.