Bento & I

To all of my bento friends,

No.59

I wonder how far back does one’s memory go, and what is your earliest memories you can remember…..?   I remember and have a clear picture of me sitting on my father’s lap in front of a small TV set. My father was wearing a pair of white cotton pants and they were glowing in the room that was very dark. The small TV screen was showing a black and white picture, a single man of a well-built body holding a burning torch high above for many many people at a large open space. And there was a noise.

Yes, exactly.

Thanks to the large scale and impact of the event we were watching that night, this image is now digitally available on Internet after 48 years of time. Later I even found the date, it was October 10, 1964, and the man I was watching on the TV was Mr. Yoshinori Sakai, a runner, who lit the cauldron at the Summer Olympics games in Tokyo in 1964. I was a 2 years and 1 month old kid sitting on her daddy’s lap on that particular day, and that is the day my memories begin.

I also remember my first bento box very well, it was made of “almite” and had a drawing of 3 pigs on the lid.

Exactly!! Internett is a great archive!
This is exactly the same bento box as my very first bento box my mother bought for me. I think I must have been 3 or 4 years old. These 3 pigs were called Boo, Foo and Woo and they were very popular characters from the Japanese national television NHK’s program for children between 1960 and 1967. I remember my sister and I adored these pig brothers just like thousands of Japanese kids did.

Wow! YouTube is also great!  My sister and I were so proud to have Boo, Foo and Woo on our bento box. It was a status! I remember how my first bento box shined, how cold the box was felt when I was taking the box out from my bag and it made slight metallic sound when I opened the lid. Out of the metal cold box my mom’s good bento appeared with yellow tamagoyaki and red sausages and tomato (I was a kid who LOVED tomatoes) and I remember that very well. Since this bento box I do not know how many bento boxes I have used. While I was attending a nursery school my mother made my bento everyday, and from the age of 12 my sister and I made our own bento as my mom was a busy working woman.  Now I am a bit older, but still making a bento.

Last month you heard I was joining Bento & co as a bento specialist.  (I am not very sure if I deserve this big title…but anyway it is my given roll and I will do my best!)  This wonderful offer came to me one summer day this year. When they asked I first could not believe it.  I read the email again and again and wow, is it true?? Then I went into my kitchen to start my bento for the day and began washing rice, but I was so happy that I could not help jumping up and down, splashing rice and water all over, screaming indescribable words like  AHH! or UHYOO! or YAYY! My husband and the whole neighborhood must have thought finally Rie has lost her mind.

Since that day I received the email from Thomas-san, I have been privileged to have some chances to see the backstage of Bento & co and I am so glad that I met this company. If you have also bought a bento box or a bento product from them, you can relax on the fact that your bento box was brought to you from someone who really cares and loves bento goods. Your bento box and bento goods have gone through many “quality filters” before they reached to your address. I called them filters but you may call them eyes. These good eyes are something we all can trust with ease as Bento & co is a hard working group of people who like to show the quality in anything they do.  I was not asked to write this, I still hold my freedom to say what I want to mean.  It is also probably easy for you to understand the uniqueness of Bento & co. Their recent media coverage in Japan has been tremendous, but as well as their uniqueness and their quality-minded principle, I feel a dream around Bento & co, around each product they sell, on their web site, on the projects they do. Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, many people in Japan have forgotten to dream for the future. It is so inspiring to witness that someone is working hard everyday holding their dream in their hand and it is going so well, like a boat under full sail in a favorable wind, in the sea of the bento world.

Yesterday I had a chance to hear from a lady what bento means to her.  She is a professional editor of a bento magazine in Japan and she herself has made bento for many years. She said bento is such an interesting thing that she can not stop liking it more. I agree with her totally! Bento carries not only good nutritious food for your body but also a warm message to someone’s heart. In that term we can say bento grows both the person who eats it and also the person who makes bento and learns to send good messages to other people. To me, who has left my home country and is living outside Japan, bento is Japan. This small space in a bento box is a piece of my country where I was born and grew up. I have lived in Norway now for 21 years and feel quite cozy at home, but I choose to carry a small piece of my mother land everyday with me, and maybe that is why I keep making a bento everyday.

It has been a bento and I, and it still will be a bento and I, but a new phase has started by joining in a team, and it is maybe like Bento & co & I.   What I can do as your bento specialist is probably very little, but if I may contribute something to make your bento life happy and enjoyable, I am very glad.
When you see any of my bento and could feel my thoughts and feelings behind it, I will be very happy.

Then we can call it Bento & you & I.

Thanks everyone!

xx Rie,
a new-born bento specialist at Bento & co.

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One thought on “Bento & I

  1. dear Rie-sama, I'm still so happy for you! I felt the same about Bento&co, that is why i buy from them, they care about their products, suppliers, service, and customers, to a degree you rarely find outside of Japanese people, aiming to do the absolute best they can 🙂 and i love your heartwarming memories 🙂 (and btw, there is no way you are the age i worked out, you look much much younger! like in your 30's!are you pulling my leg? lol)

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