2009/04/24

Hanami, bento box, the past, and the present

Spring is the season for hanami with sakura viewing festivities being the most popular past-time for the Japanese. The fleeting beauty of the sakuras have been the subject of countless poems and haikus.
「見渡せば、柳桜をこきまぜて都ぞ春の錦なりける」is translated,
"As one looks out, the Yanagi and Sakura are like a scenery painted on a Nishiki cloth."

Sakuras symbolize dazzling yet momentary beauty for they only bloom for 2 weeks. Often accompanied with sakura viewing is a picnic of bento boxes and endless supply of alcohol. This tradition of bento boxes for hanami viewing dates back to to the Momoyama period when simply arranged grilled, simmered, and boiled fish and vegetables accompanied by rice were served in wooden lacquered boxes. Bentos first originated to ease hunger, then became more elaborate as Japan became more prosperous. Makunouchi Bento became popular in the Edo Period as they were enjoyed by Kabuki goers in between Maku (sets). One of the most recent and widely popular is the Shokado Bento. Created in the Showa Era by Yuki Teiichi, the founder of Osaka's Kicho for a tea ceremony, it is a bento box divided with 4 quadrants, with each fitted with a single portion ceramic plate. IBM's Thinkpad laptop design was created out of the bento box.
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posted by hachikari at 01:18 | Diary | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

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