I recently came across Japanese bento photography on Flickr and became intrigued with the intricacies of this cultural tradition. First, what is bento? In a nutshell it’s a combination of food items tucked into a container. The bento can be fairly simple or it can be an elaborate work of art. Wikipedia describes it in more detail:
A single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋, bentō-ya?), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves producing a carefully prepared lunch box.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from Flickr: