Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Japanese lunchboxes

Today, at the pre-school I teach at we had a picnic. All the kids brought their lunchboxes, or obento, for the picnic. At first, the obentos looked rather unassuming and boring from the outside, compared to the lunchboxes that American children take to school. I don't know what they are like now, but when I was a kid I had a bright red Superman lunchbox. I just thought it was so cool, and I didn't really care what was inside, I just liked carrying it around. However when the Japanese kids pulled out their lunchboxes from their bags, I felt a little sorry for them when I saw that they seemed to be just little tupperwear boxes wrapped in handkerchiefs. I thought this is somewhat symbolic of Japanese people. Generally, from the outside, Japanese people seem very uncomplicated, unassuming, and quiet. That is not the case, though, when you get to know them and find out how interesting they are on the inside, as is with their lunchboxes.

When the kids opened their lunchboxes to eat, I was so surprised to find what was inside. Their mothers had prepared them using rice balls, vegetables, eggs, meat, and other foods to look like the kids' favorite characters. I saw some that looked like Anpan man, Stitch, and other characters. They were so cute, and no two looked alike. They sat and showed off their lunches to the other kids, and I thought about how even though my Superman lunchbox was what I thought was the coolest thing on the planet, it stayed the same every time I brought it to school, but the Japanese kids get something different every time. I wonder, though, how long it takes for the mothers to prepare them every morning. I am guessing that there are times when mom just doesn't have the time or energy into creating a work of art for their children's lunches, and instead just throw in a banana or a piece of bread. Superman will always be there for me!

Check out this link to see some cool Japanese lunchboxes.

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