Thursday, 12 February 2015

Speaking of boxes

Bento is the Japanese version of a packed lunch. They usually contain a selection of rice, fish or meat, and pickled and/or cooked vegetables. Commercial bento boxes are readily available at convenience stores, bento shops and at railway stations. We made several long rail journeys while in Japan and usually purchased a bento box for our lunch. I enjoyed everything about them, the beautiful packaging, the ornate tooth picks and most especially the food (I absolutely loved the food in Japan!).

© B2C

Bento can also be homemade with the maker often taking time and care to arrange the contents in elaborate styles. Rice balls are sometimes decorated to resemble animals or popular characters from cartoons or comic books.

The boxes that contain the bento are as important as the contents. They are available in a dazzling variety of styles and even the ‘plain’ ones come in beautiful colours. Again cartoon characters are popular images on bento boxes as are traditional wood block pictures. Other boxes might be shaped to resemble something, such as houses, books or kokeshi dolls.

Not all bento boxes are mass produced and some of them are exquisite works of art.

I found this one at an antiques fair in Japan. We spent a morning there where Denise and I soon noticed, and then started actively searching for, the beautifully decorated boxes. Not all were bento boxes, in fact most of the boxes that caught our eye were writing boxes.

© Carol-Anne Conway

I can’t imagine putting my lunch my bento box. I did envisage using it as a ‘current JE project’ sewing box but I have not been able to bring myself even to do that. It sits on the top a book case in my sewing room and is the first thing I see when I enter the room.

© Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching


Rachel said...

Inspirational and ornamental!

D1-D2 said...

So pretty! I personally love boxes and have too many, but none as nice as these.