One thing you learn while living in Japan is that the Japanese have this mild obsession with aesthetics that can go to the extreme sometimes. One of those extremes is the trend of something called charaben (キャラ弁) which is the shortened form of character bento. Some kindergarten’s ban these sorts of decorative lunches for one reason or another such as it feeling unfair to children who have ‘normal’ lunches or the peer pressure of other mothers to meet the standards of others. I love my son and will do just about anything for him…but breaking my back every morning to make sure that the tiny sesame seeds for Totoro’s stomach are in perfect alignment a painstakingly hand dye rice with eatable food coloring to make his favorite shinkansen are just not the way I want to prioritize my time. Especially when I am not even sure as to whether or not he will actually eat everything.
No offense to mothers that do. All the power to you and I admire your artistic determination to create aesthetically pleasing lunches.
That being said, I have started to somewhat fall down the rabbit hole a smidgen. Just a smidgen.
Because I saw this at the store and it somehow managed to fall off the shelf, crawl into my basket, make its way to the register, and convince me to pay for it. Oops.
So I decided to give it a go and for day three of mommy bento making I made sweet egg (which is one of his absolute favorites) and a kitty cat rice ball.
The sausage and sweet egg was eaten…but the broccoli that he asked specifically for was not and only half of the kitty cat was eaten. Alas.