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Bento 弁当 便当 벤토

faux strawberries bento

Courtesy of Bentozen

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Bento (弁当 bentō?)[1] is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋 bentō-ya?), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves producing a carefully prepared lunch box.

Bento can be very elaborately arranged in a style called kyaraben or “character bento”. Kyaraben is typically decorated to look like popular Japanese cartoon (anime) characters, characters from comic books (manga), or video game characters. Another popular bento style is “oekakiben” or “picture bento”, which is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

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Do you know that the IBM Thinkpad design was actually inspired by shoukadou bentou, the traditional, black-lacquered, Japanese lunch box?

IBM Thinkpad

Courtesy of Wikipedia

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Sapper (the designer of IBM ThinkPad) felt that the design should be clean, plain and elegant. His wooden prototype was based on the shoukadou bentou, the traditional, black-lacquered, Japanese lunch box. It was small and compact. Desk space is scarce in Japan, and, since security is an issue with notebooks, a computer the size of a bentou box could be locked in a filing cabinet.

Read up more from EDN.

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Shōkadō bentō

Courtesy of Wikipedia.

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Frogs Bento

Courtesy of Bentozen

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Kitty Sausage Bento

Courtesy of Bentozen

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Egg Flowers Bento

Courtesy of Bentozen

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Robot Love Bento

Courtesy of Bentozen

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Kimbap Bee Bento

Courtesy of Bentozen

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Monkey Soboro Bento

Courtesy of Bentozen

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Check out more Bento designs at Bentozen.

bento zen was created by a manhattan lawyer who works in a chaotic and often stressful environment.  by taking the time to prepare healthy, colorful, and artistic lunch boxes, she guarantees herself at least one moment of harmony during her busy work day.

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Japanese Sweets – Wagashi 和菓子

“Kawaii” Japanese Sweets

Courtesy of Mina Magazine

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Courtesy of InfoMapJapan:

The origins of ‘wagashi‘ date back in time to when cakes and dumplings were made of rice, millet, other grains, nuts and fruit – all of which were the foundation of Japan’s dietary staples.

Namagashi‘, in its delicate forms, reflects the diversity of Japan’s four seasons. Stores display these particular ‘wagashi‘ a full month ahead of the seasonal event. For example, ‘Sakuramochi‘ celebrate Japan’s beloved April cherry blossoms and are available at the end of February. With eager anticipation, one can enjoy delicious ‘Sakura-mochi‘ and sense the coming of spring, all the while imagining lovely cherry trees full of delicate white blossoms. Only in Japanese culture can one discover sweets and confections that are wonderfully transcended into messengers of the upcoming seasons.

While some ‘wagashi‘ are made to enjoy the changing seasons, many are closely associated with calendar events relating to Japanese tradition, history and seasonal holidays.

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