This is Part 2 of my blog post “Bento & I” (October 6, 2012). If you have not read it,
I would like to recommend you to read it first. Thank you!
I have been thinking of writing Part 2 of “Bento & I” for a long time. This post “Bento & I” has become a very dear and a special blog post for me. I have written many blog posts over the last 6 years and “Bento & I” is one of the few blog posts I put so much of myself into. It requires a lot of thought to put much personal feelings successfully into words. You need to stay focused with thought and yet you want to update your readers with your current emotional state of mind. After a while, as both my mind and I are growing little by little everyday, I wanted to write a series of follow-up posts after “Bento & I”. I was very much determined that Part 2 should be titled “What is a Bento Specialist?”. But for about 4 months I wrote drafts and corrected, erased, added and finally deleted the whole thing, and time just went by. I just could not write any more as I was probably groping in the dark myself. I kept asking myself this very question ” What is a Bento Specialist?”, and the answer was there in Frankfurt, Germany last weekend.
I came home from the world’s largest kitchen-related exhibition “Ambiente 2013” in Frankfurt on Monday February 18 with many good memories and tired feet. My feet were tired from standing all day but my mind was busy working, new ideas were coming and multiplying for the future projects in my head. It is hard to explain with words, but this experience in Frankfurt has done a lot to transform me and you will surely come to see some changes of me if you will kindly continue to follow my bento activities. While I was flying back to Oslo, my good novel was put down. Instead I was reading a bunch of catalogues of Japanese deco bento tools. A young girl who sat next to me was probably wondering what I was reading so intensly, so I gave one copy to her and explained what it was. Yes, I am a flying missionary of deco bento!!
We were a team of 3 Japanese companies, Maruki Co. Ltd. is a large company from Osaka who makes wonderful cutters and cute bento accessories, HAKOYA from Ishikawa (My hometown!) is a famous bento box maker in Japan, and our Bento & co from Kyoto was the third company. We were there to promote “Deco Bento” and Japanese bento culture in the world. Around our booth there were several other companies from Japan but we were the only one who was emitting aromatic vapors from cooking curry or making pancakes. (Curry was most appealing!) As you may see it on my photo the cooking table at the booth was not so large and I did not have any running water nor a sink. But after all it was not far from my dream kitchen, as I had the public audience who came and watched me and asked questions. Direct communication was there between the Japanese provider and the international receivers, it was so wonderful when their impressions and comments came into our ears in a second. Some people said it was more art than food. Some said they thought my deco bento was made of plastic. Probably they had never seen anything like that before with their own eyes and it was natural they had questions. As long as they were curious to know more, I tried to explain how the tiny piece was made and what kind of food was used. Deco Bento is totally a new thing and you can imagine how happy I was to have succeeded to give them a brand new experience.
I was working at the booth for 2 days and on the first day there came a family of a father and two children. The daughter was probably 13 or 14 years old and she said she liked Japan very much. I was demonstrating Maki Sushi when they came, and they saw me decorating the sushi with some Sakura-shape cheese on top before I inserted cute bento pics to finish. Actually they came back later again and had another round of sushi. The daughter kept 2 bento pics and she looked very happy. The second day was another fun day, people came by and told us what they thought of Japanese deco bento. They were german, they were italian, they were korean, they were english, polish and the list goes on.
From this experience, I think I have made myself more of a bento specialist. I realize I as a bento specialist exist for others more than I create my own creation to get my own satisfaction and hopefully your admiration. Of course it is very delightful to see when people appreciate and praise what I make with my hands, but as a bento specialist when I show my skills and techniques it is because I want YOU to be assured and feel safe to rely on my guidance and advice. If you see me making something you yourself like to make, I will gladly lay myself down and be a bridge for you to cross over to the bento world. You may ask me about food, bento box, packing, cutting, last but not least, cooking your bento food. It is easy to say I will be your bridge and I know I need to be knowledgeable and informative in a wide range of related special bento subjects, and that is demanding. But I think that is what a bento specialist is. I exist for others with my knowledge and techniques, I am your helping bridge for you to cross over to the bento world.
Often I am thinking about the 2 bento pics that the girl took home. Maybe she uses them again in her lunch box one day and her friends at school start asking her what they are. Then a little bento world opens up in a class room somewhere in Germany and then I will feel very very very happy……
Thanks for reading,
Your bento specialist, Bento & co