Who doesn’t love a great lunch?
In Japan lunch is important. In Japan, if you are the mother of a kindergarten-aged student, it is REALLY important. Those are the prime years to excite and surprise your child with wonderful bento boxes.
According to Wikipedia:
“Bento (弁当 bentō) is a single-portion take-out or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bentoholds rice or noodles, fish or meat, with pickled and cooked vegetables, in a box. Containers range from disposable mass-produced to hand-crafted lacquerware. Bentos are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋 bentō-ya), railway stations, and department stores. However, Japanese homemakers often spend time and energy on a carefully prepared lunch box for their spouse, child, or themselves.”
When my wife was in Japan (she is Japanese) and a stay at home mother, she took great pride in putting together bento boxes for my son during his three years in kindergarten.
When my daughter began kindergarten in Japan (she was there for four months before we left Japan) my wife also took great pride in making her bentos as well.
There can be a lot of pressure in Japan on mothers to work extra hard to put together a nice lunch box.
I have seen and heard personally that some mothers also look down upon others who simply purchase school lunch for their child or put little effort into the bentos. I suppose that’s why my wife often felt stress. She wanted our kids to have amazing lunches and at the same time didn’t want any other mothers to look down upon her as being a “slacker Mom.” (No joke….this pressure is very real and serious for Japanese mothers)
These are a few school lunches my wife made for our kids while they attended kindergarten in Japan. She is a very talented cook and an amazing mother. I got these photos from her Facebook Page – Mai’s Kitchen. Please go there and LIKE it!
If you like this post let me know with a comment and a share! There will be more just like this since my wife has so many bento memories to share!
Remember to go and LIKE her FB page — Mai’s Kitchen!
Kevin O’Shea is the host of the Just Japan Podcast. He is also the guy behind JustJapanStuff.com. Kevin is a Canadian educator who lives in Beijing, China with his family. Kevin called Kobe, Japan home for 10 years.
Follow him on Twitter: @jlandkev