50 items you can buy in Japan to spruce up your bento lunchbox

Bento is a big deal in Japan and competitive mothers are always trying to out-do each other, striving to create the cutest lunchbox. Lucky for them, Japanese companies have come up with a plethora of tools to add smiley faces, shapes, or words of encouragement to any food. Let’s take a look at just a few of the many items you can buy to spruce up your bento!

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Survey Reveals 24% of Workers in Japan Have Less Than $2.84 to Spend on Lunch

According to a 2012 survey of 2,000 Shinsei Bank employees, the average worker now spends 510 yen (US $5.79) on lunch every day. That’s down from 710 yen (US $8.06) in 2001 and 600 yen (US $6.81) in 2007. That’s a 30% decrease in twelve years.

Nikkan Spa, a popular magazine in Japan, conducted its own survey and found an even bleaker outcome. In a survey of 100 salarymen (office workers) and public servants in their 30s and 40s, a surprising 64 percent of workers admitted that they spend 500 yen (US $5.67) or less on lunch. An even more astonishing 24 percent of workers get by on just 250 yen (US $2.84) a day.

A measly 250 yen (US $2.84) won’t even buy a beef bowl at Sukiya, famed to be the cheapest lunch around. If these salarymen can’t even afford the cheapest meals available for purchase, what exactly are they eating? Let’s take a peek inside the slimmed-down lunchboxes of Japan’s typical worker.

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Wooden Playstation 3 Bentō Lunchbox Looks Just Like the Real Thing

You could be fooled into thinking that this is some enormous new add-on for the current Playstation 3 console, but what you’re actually looking at here is a multi-layered wooden bentō lunchbox sculpted and assembled by a master craftsman for Sony Japan.

Presented to staff at Square Enix and Konami in celebration of 25 years of Final Fantasy and Metal Gear games, these stunning lunchboxes are designed to look identical to Sony’s home console, featuring everything from the ridged top to the tiny silver Playstation logo on the front, all the while leaving plenty of room inside for a delicious lunch.

These things are so beautiful that it almost makes us want to trade in our plastic Playstation 3 for a wooden one…

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Food Becomes Art: These Metal Gear and Final Fantasy Bentō Lunchboxes Will Blow Your Mind

“Hideo-kun! What do you want in your lunchbox for school tomorrow? Ham and cheese? Peanut butter and jelly? Or how about Solid Snaaaaaaaake!”

The image you see before you, ladies and gentlemen, is genuine, 100% completely edible food. We’ve seen colourful character bentō lunchboxes before, but this is something else.

As part of its 25 years of Metal Gear and Final Fantasy celebrations, Japanese game developer Konami has had a set of truly amazing lunchboxes made for a photo event. Featuring characters from both of the long-running series, the lunchboxes are so detailed that they almost look like waxworks. No matter how many times we look at these things, we can’t quite get over the fact that it’s actually food.

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