Greetings everyone, and welcome to Building my Bento, my paean to global travels, food, enigmatic architecture, and languages. Please continue on to read a bit of background information.
Riding my bike to Ochanomizu, past Ichigaya’s fishing spot, conspicuously snacking on aburaage (fried tofu) while simultaneously lamenting the idea based on the lack of “appropriate” rubbish bins, I stop to take a photo of the scene. Neon, anomalous structures, criss-crossing train tracks, the (Kanda) River, my tofu – it’s not the most prominent section of Tokyo, but in this one shot are encapsulated, food, architecture, cityscapes, mass transit, foreign languages – many of my greatest interests.
This is where I take creative license with the word “bento.” The Japanese word typically signifies a box-shaped container holding rice, fish or meat, pickles and other small edibles – a lunch box, more or less, but with compartments for each item. For me, these compartments represent each of my focal points for this blog, but the variety permitted in creating bento meals will allow me to pull a topic out of the blue, to tie it in with the overarching themes.
My reason for choosing bento as part of my blog name is two-fold. Japan was the first country I visited where I, let’s say contracted the travel bug. While a junior in high school, I stayed with a Japanese host family in Kanazawa, where I was fed sanma (a river fish), scallops and pumpkin and bread with corn kernels in it, got stopped for jaywalking (“red means STOP”) and obliviously rode my bike around shopping malls and train stations, in addition to the more banal sidewalks and bike paths. I independently explored somewhere new and exciting, sampled a bevy of delicious treats and adopted (East) Asian Studies as my college major.
Also, as mentioned above, I have long been interested in things food-related, and for the most part, my travels to more than sixty countries have been guided by reading about world cuisines, finding out local specialties and wandering for hours, often led by the scent of roasted garlic or cumin, or by the sight of a stainless steel bowl filled with lighter-than-a-feather forks, soap suds and pigeon…suds, teetering on the curb.
Please comment, provide insight/feedback or volunteer your queries. If you would prefer to get in touch with me by e-mail, you may use 0jonathand @ gmail . com . (the first “o” is actually a zero, the second “o” is indeed an “o”)
I hope you will be able to enjoy what I have assembled for you.