Bento

Hey Everyone!

Most of us have all seen a bento. Maybe some of us have even made our own! A bento is a Japanese lunch box. There are many different types of bento boxes.

How To Make Bento  | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
Bento

The original bento was first created by samurais. Samurais created the foods that evolve into the modern day bento. During this time, a bento was simple and could carry rice balls or simply just rice.

During the Meiji era, Japan was modernizing by opening their markets to the global world. The bento also became modernized. Workers made their own lunch boxes and brought them to work, mothers prepared a bento box for their children, and office workers did the same. Aluminum and lacquer boxes became popular. Many bento in Japan now are mass produced and could be bought in many places: bento shops, train stations, restaurants, and convenience stores. They are very common.

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Mass bento

There are many different types of bento. One very popular one is called the kyaraben, also known as the character bento. It is a bento that is designed with cute characters or cartoon characters. It was originally meant to entertain children. However, now there are national contests held .

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Kyaraben

Another type of bento is called the Ekiben. Ekibens are sold on shinkansen (Japanese bullet trains) and other express trains. Each station is known to have their own signature bento. There are some people who ride trains to collect the various bento.

The bento has become an important part of the Japanese culture and pastimes. People enjoy a bento under a sakura tree or during the hanami.

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Hanami Bento

There are different bento that can be created. There are simple ones with rice and a umeboshi (pickled ume plum) to more extravagant ones.

If you’re interested in making a bento, check out this website right here.

Enjoy the rest of January everyone!

Hanna

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Onigiri

Hello Everyone!

If you haven’t heard already, OJC is having a Cooking Day! We will be making Strawberry Daifuku and onigiri! Today, I will be talking a little about onigiri.

Onigiri, also commonly known as rice balls, was first seen in Lady Murasaki’s diary. It stated that people were eating rice balls. However, the origins of the onigiri occurred much earlier than Lady Murasaki’s diary.

Traditional onigiri is just rice shaped into cylindrical or triangular shapes and sprinkled salt. The use of nori, dried seaweed, was first used during the mid-Edo period. Below is a picture of the traditional onigiri during the mid-Edo period.

Figure 1

However as society progressed so did the onigiri. Onigiri begins to have different fillings. The most traditional one is the pickled ume (umeboshi) filling. Umeboshi is also known as pickled plums. However there are many different fillings: salmon, kombu, and etc.

Originally it was thought that the onigiri could not be massed produced because of the hand technique that was required to put the different fillings in. However in 1980s, a machine was created that was able to make the onigiri even with the feelings. Ever since then, onigiri has been mass produced to fit on the shelves of convenience stores.

Figure 2

Soon onigiri becomes so popular that it spreads to other countries: Korea, China, London, and etc. There are specialty shops and small restaurants that sell onigiri.

To learn how to make your own, check out OJC’s Cooking Day! All information is written in the flyer on our Facebook Page at Origami & Japanese Club at UIUC. If you have any questions, feel free to message us through our Facebook.

Thanks everyone!

Peace!

Hanna