From Ukiyo-e to origami, Japanese rated as the most monomania nationality; even for a tiny lunch box has to be fully decorated. Bento “弁当” is the word for packed lunch in Japan, especially for school lunch. Whereas decoben”デコ 弁当”(abbreviation of “decorated-bento”), which usually a complex of rice, meat and vegetable, is a mutation of bento box that turns the healthy lunch box into art. When British used to take away sandwich and crisp for lunch, Japanese take time for having lesson in order to prepare and decorate the bento. You can find no special from the outside, which are usually found in the simplest form, but what’s important is the surprise inside.
Originated from Japanese manga, the ingredients are kneaded into innumerous variation of characters in its neatest and most artistic form. From a lovely garden field with octopus-like sausages (タコのウインナー) to most recently, president Obama background with an American flag. All the fuss came from the fact that, unlike most of the Western culture, bento is far more than a lunch to most Japanese.
“I think that’s part of this culture…when all mothers sitting side by side in sports day, I feel pressured” said Yayoi Uemura, a Japanese mother. Whilst bento became a culture and ideology of Japanese cuisine, its appearance considered the most important in the box instead of the taste. It is crucial to have a delicate decoben in school that is now became more like a competition where those who fail to have a nice bento are likely to be isolated. Such a delicacy always comes with both sides but the sense of maternity should always be praised, as they merit.
Get all the tools here for self-taught decoben making:
By Jennifer Chan