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JP 04-3: A Meal in a Box – Bento-弁当 (Obento-お弁当)

Taco Mac Bento
In this last installment of this Bento show, we talk about immigration affecting Japan’s food habits, living longer by eating a more traditional Japanese diet, living well as you get older, making obento, little kids in Western countries with their obento, the incomparable Giant Robot, and more.

  • how will immigration change Japan’s food habits
  • traditionally the people who’ve lived longest are in Okinawa – and they at a lot of pork
  • now, they’re starting to eat the same kind of food as the mainland and their life expectancy has dropped somewhat
  • ramen (chinese noodles in soup) has become a real staple for salarymen
  • smoking and drinking is also really big, hard to say which is the biggest factor
  • if you’re here as a Westerner, and you don’t follow a Japanese diet, you’ll eat unhealthily
  • Japanese diets = fruit, seawood, pickled vegetables, super-high density nutrition, not a lot of calories
  • an elderly Japanese person will eat a tiny bowl of rice
  • Yakisoba (fried noodles), katsucurry (deep fried pork), all served with rice – they’re dishes that old people seldom touch
  • older people’s diet = fish, steamed vegetables, pickles and rice and soup
  • core nutrients are coming from sources like seawood
  • there’s not a lot of fruit, and what’s here is expensive
  • handful of fantastic grapes for ¥2000 (about $20.00)
  • the persimmon is a ubiquitous fruit
  • U.S. and England eat the same fruit all year round, while Japan sticks with the seasonal fruit
  • they’re definitely doing something right
  • in England, living long is a bad thing, spend the last 20 years in front of the tv, while in Japan, they’re really living, climbing, not being kept alive in a hospital with tubes
  • so if you want to live long, hardly eat any food
  • Japan food culture: maybe that’s why food is so important – if you’re going to eat so little, make every bit count
  • Terri tried to make bento the traditional way twice: spectacular failure
  • Karamoon has been successful: positioning is important
  • ingredients: rolled eggs, meat wrapped in cabbage, self-contained things, it’s all very planned
  • is it realistic to get up really early to make your obento?
  • you can do obento leftovers
  • I wonder how little kids feel when they take their bento to lunch…
  • good article in Giant Robot: got Asian Americans to talk about their obento experiences at school
  • at the time they were ridiculed, but as they got older, they really appreciate it
  • the variety of one obento can’t be compared to the simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • there were strong smells, as in Korean kimchees
  • if you’re only here for a week, do the ¥1000 lunch and get your obento in the evening

  • Terri records the show on her iPhone3G
    Tom Toeda of fti studio mixes the show.
    image credit: sherimiya ♥
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    Next show theme?
    We’ll continue our food theme with, you guessed it: Sushi (Ed: well we couldn’t very well ignore it, could we?)

    This week’s show:


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