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Japanese Moms Create Incredible School Lunches

Japanese Moms Create Incredible School Lunches

Moms in Japan are fully committed to a new school lunch trend: homemade "character bento," a type of pre-packed lunch box in which the food has been formed into the shapes of well-known characters. Panda bears, popular cartoons like Hello Kitty and Totoro, even (in the case of really ambitious moms) celebrities like President Obama or Michael Jackson.

The craze has caught on so thoroughly that moms are even signing up for classes, learning how to form cartoons out of rice, sesame seeds, seaweed, and other traditional cuisine. Japan's food culture has long had a strong emphasis on presentation (just look at how meticulous and attractive sushi is!), but this is taking it to a whole new level. 

Watch a video at BBC

Do you spend a lot of time on your child's lunch?  

Image Source: via BBC

Join The Conversation
PatriciaCameron31926 PatriciaCameron31926 5 years
chillax people!! Its new to the rest of the world maybe. I think its totalloy badass and happen to think it is super cool!! I wish I had that kind of time to be able to create stuff like that!! Im amazed!! Sooooo cute!!
EtoileGale EtoileGale 5 years
As a half Japanese-American mom I am excited about this new trend! It's soo cute! Makes me appreciate all the yummy bento(s) my mom made for me as a child!♥
P79941 P79941 5 years
This is just a symptom of a larger problem- unemployed moms who need to justify the large subsidies they get from the state. When I am asked to bring a bento for my children, the note always states "to show your love". I love my kids whether they get the provided hot lunch or a sandwich or a ridiculous kyaraben (character bento). There are two types of childcare in Japan, kindergarten, which is mainly for unemployed moms, and daycare, which is for working parents. I send my child to kindergarten because of a certain programme not available at daycares, but it is proved to me at every step that working moms are not welcome. This is just one of the ways moms bully other moms. When I take a day off of work to go on a field trip, all the other moms comment on other kids' bentos. Sad!
constancekwon constancekwon 5 years
I don't think they meant moms in Japan making Bento lunches are new... Rather moms making elaborate characters out of bento lunches is a new trend...very cute!.
MonicaGarza MonicaGarza 5 years
New?! This isn't even new in the U.S. much less in Japan. Loooove bentos!
MichelleNgWhitehead MichelleNgWhitehead 5 years
I think it's funny that they say it's a new trend in Japan. Moms making Bento lunches for their kids has been around for a long time in Japan. My mom use to make me bento lunches all the time when I was in grade school. Only problem was my Japanese mom was the only mom at my school (not in Japan) who did that so all my classmates were fascinated by my lunch and would ask to try. By the time I actually get to my lunch, there isn't much left for me. Now as a mom, I really appreciated my mom, who was also a full-time working mom, waking up early in the morning to not only make us breakfast but prepare fun bento lunches for us to bring to school.
LeanneHamilton LeanneHamilton 5 years
The lady who does the portraits is a little extreme.. and of course would take a very long time.. However, you can make other things that are still cute and simple in a matter minuets. I have a bread cutter that makes a sandwich into a train in seconds.. The longest part? making the sandwich. You can get rice molds, fancy picks, nori (seaweed) punches (cut out shapes like eyes and faces for you).. etc etc. Making a fun lunch can be soo easy! :)
JessicaSmith26052 JessicaSmith26052 5 years
I do believe my daughter would want to play with her food then. If more mothers made elaborate characters for school lunches it could give an all new meaning to food fight! I can see the tiger carrots attacking the panda sandwich now.
LauraMartin84574 LauraMartin84574 5 years
If I could turn simple lunch foods, like fish sticks, into fun characters I definitely would! It seems like a very clever and fun idea. But my son would never eat the things these moms make into adorable characters! :(
LauraTarabokija LauraTarabokija 5 years
I envy their free time!
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