Dating with bento boxes

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In the Meiji period (1868–1912), the first ekibentō or ekiben (, "train station bento") was sold.There are several records that claim where ekiben was first sold, but it is believed that it was sold on 16 July 1885, at the Utsunomiya train station, in the northern Kantō region of Japan, and contained two onigiri and a serving of takuan wrapped in bamboo leaves.The Japanese name was borrowed as bendong (Taiwanese: piān-tong) or Mandarin biàndāng (便當, "convenience pack").In Japan, it is common for mothers to make bento for their children to take to school.After World War II, the practice of bringing bentos to school gradually declined and was replaced by uniform food provided for all students and teachers.Bentos regained popularity in the 1980s, with the help of the microwave oven and the proliferation of convenience stores.

Also, Hawaiian culture has adopted localized versions of bento featuring local tastes after over a century of Japanese influence in the islands.Hoshi-ii can be eaten as is or boiled with water to make cooked rice, and is stored in a small bag.In the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568–1600), wooden lacquered boxes like today's were produced, and bento would be eaten during a hanami or a tea party.People who came to see Noh and Kabuki ate specially prepared bentos between maku (acts).Numerous cookbooks were published detailing how to cook, how to pack, and what to prepare for occasions like Hanami and Hinamatsuri.

However, Japanese homemakers often spend time and energy on a carefully prepared lunch box for their spouse, child, or themselves.

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