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.