Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Sadness of Bento

Some bento boxes have a somewhat sad inscription on them. I think these are recent or trendy ones rather than 'classic' bento boxes which were simply functional and cute.

Goodbye flowers! The two birds want to fly together, "That we may experience a good journey!"

There is something poignant and lonely about some bento ideas. For example, imagine the competition among Japanese school children whose moms are doing character bento for their little ones. Not that this one is representative of a school lunch bento but:

It can get crazy artistic, and then someone eats it. Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno wrote a book entitled Tragic Sense of Life. One of its ideas is that we are creatures who seek out permanence, but who are in fact temporary. Bento seems to be a great statement about the solution: create something beautiful that gets eaten up, enjoyed, that has to permanently say "Goodbye!" but also lives in its moment perfectly, eternally, beautifully. This is a new idea for me: food as a way of seeking beautiful immortality in the present moment.


  1. Hmmm, interesting thought.... I guess I tend to think about bento-art more like this:

    Beauty should be created and inspired by all things - even food! (much happier sounding, eh?)

    What are your lettuce roll-ups? Those look good even though I have no idea what they are! ^^ HAPPY FRIDAY!

  2. Avie, I like your way of thinking about beauty.
    In the roll-ups is egg salad. These were so good!! They were a last minute impulse and I will definitely do them again. Somehow the sum was greater than the individual parts.