April 6, 2008

Box Lunches for Kids in Japan

clipped from img2.travelblog.org
Food in Japan is famously prepared as much for the eyes as for the palate. This is true even for Japanese preschoolers, most of whom take an elaborate, adorable mom-made meal, called obento, to school every day. The tradition becomes part of the social education of both parent and child and creates a connection between home and school for a youngster’s earliest forays away from family....

PBS has a great story about the meaning of food. What is so interesting too is that the bento boxes seem so basic and almost as if they are filled with leftovers. The portions are small compared to American lunches. While I was in Japan, I definitely only turned to bentos when I could not find anything else. Typically this was when I was on a train or in a subway station, in a hurry. I had no idea about this "mom-made meal" and its connection to children. I wish I had, it would have made me appreciate the boxes a little more.

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