Yakitori Column

vol 03The Lunch Box(bento)

So, here I am…Sitting at my desk as a teacher in a Junior High school in Tobata, Kitakyushu opening up my “bento”.

Do you remember what your lunch box looked like or contained when YOU went to Jr.High?? No? I remember opening up my daily lunchbox in school with my favourite cartoon character on it.

In the top part was my thermos with Cool-Aid (popular drink mixture) in it and in the bottom part usually a sandwich, fruit and cookies or some other kind of sweets for desert. Wow!! Good memories.

Fairly different than the kind of “universal lunch” often seen in Japan. Whether it’s made by your mother if you’re a student, wife if you’re a teacher or you’ve just bought it from a convenience store or “bento” company it’s called your “bento” (in Japanese) or lunchbox (in English). A simple but very important cultural symbol in Japan.

Typical bento might be rice, fish or meat, vegetables and some sort of pickles. Of course these really vary but basically that would be your typical lunch box here in Japan. Of course if it contains some left over food from the dinner the night before for example some “yakitori” from Tohko Foods Co.,Ltd in Wakamatsu then you’re very lucky.

A lot of foreigners working in Japan don’t go for this kind of lunch but you know what they say…..”When you’re in Rome, do as the Romans do”. I think this shows a lot about your personality to the others that you are eating with. Small but very important culture note to remember while living in Japan. Thanks for listening but I’m out of time. Time to eat my “bento”.

Thanks for listening and until next time…..
See you everyone.