Thursday, December 14

Bento


I was thinking about bento boxes today. I ordered a 500 yen box for lunch and was pleasantly surprised that it was a lot better than the 400 yen box I usually settle for or the salad and slice of pizza I walk to the shop for.

I was told, I can’t remember by whom, that bento’s are supposed to be eaten in a certain order. If eaten in the correct way you will feel healthier and your digestion will feel/work better.

So I wikipedia’d bento boxes and had a look for the correct order to eat the bento. The answer wasn’t there unfortunately however I found a link to a great blog about bento boxes and discovered that the IBM Thinkpad was based upon the design of a bento box.

Its odd where the inspiration for certain things comes from. On Tuesday for example I was at an International Seminar, which is a fancy way of saying I was teaching English to 1st year kids at an event held in another part of town.

One of the tasks the kids had to complete was to think of another fantastical use for a normal household item. I brought in three normal household items for the kids in my group to imagine into new things. I brought an ironing board, a cork-screw and a shamoji (しゃもじ is a paddle used to scoop rice from a rice cooker).

flying machine or an electronic pet, all conveyed in self-deprecating mimenot my student

The kids in my group found it hard to think of any fantastical uses for the items I had brought in, but did manage many mundane uses, like turning the ironing board into a chopping board, or using the shamoji as a shoe-horn. I threw out some ridiculous suggestions like using the corkscrew as a flying machine or turning it into an electronic pet, all my ideas were conveyed in self-deprecating mime FYI.

Eventually we decided, by way of democratic vote, that the shamoji should become a table tennis paddle and we would market the paddle as one you could never lose with. We then made a slogan for the product:


“Everyone is strong and beautiful.”
And then we made a skit for a commercial to sell the product. We then performed the skit in front of a captivated audience and finished to rapturous applause.

Although the idea of turning a paddle for rice into a paddle for ping-pong is a bit humdrum, the work that followed was great, the advertisement making part was totally fun and the slogan is so out there it couldn’t fail to stay in your head. So, yeah, it’s odd where we find inspiration.

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