Mothers in Japan are being caught up in the pressure of having to construct elaborate lunches for their children including characters and figures crafted like an art form out of different foods used to make bento (lunch box) lunches. The pressure to craft these artful decorations with food for their children has reached such intensity, schools are springing up to teach mothers in Japan the art of bento. Another example of inefficiency, boredom and societal pressure to perform. Turns out these art bento lunches aren’t about providing healthy nutritious food for their children, but what Japanese mother can come up with the most creative art design for their child’s bento. Neurotic-obsessive compulsive behavior to prepare lunches for their children takes up to an hour and a half in some cases for Japanese mothers to prepare one bento lunch.
The Darkside of Japan’s Cute Bento Box Craze
July 29, 2016
Op-ed by Heather Callaghan
Are “cute” bento Box lunches driving Japanese women haggard?
Once, I impulsively stated that everything about the Japanese culture is cute. This was before the kawaii craze (meaning “all things cute” – sometimes to a disturbing degree). Someone replied to my assertion with this single phrase: hari kari. Okay…agreed. Honor suicides are not “cute.”
Dying at the workplace is not cute either. That’s a phenomenon that is an offshoot from WW2 when Japan focused on virtually nothing else but rebuilding. People there are driving themselves to death. Apparently, Japan wants women back in the hardcore workforce, but the majority never return after having children. However, the biggest craze sweeping up Japanese homemakers is not a corporate drive, but the drive to spend hours making intricate bento boxes to appease an invisible bento god.
Bento Box Lunches
Bento simply means a takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese meals, that is often a box or tin containing compartments that offer one side each. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables often in removable compartments. Thanks to the widespread craze, they now come in technicolor themes, with characters and even public figures. Many blog sites and Pinterest boards are devoted to them, which, granted, are fun to look at.
BBC News Close up Japan #039 s amazing lunchboxes