Playing with Your Food

November 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

There is no limit to Japan’s obsession with food, especially with what’s called “Eki-ben,” those boxed lunches sold at the train station. To me, they’re like brilliant works of art. They express the mood of nature with the use of season-ripe vegetables, and they sometimes employ modern-day technology to get their point across. I wouldn’t be alone in admitting that part of my reason for taking the train is so that I can grab an Eki-ben along the way.

So take that obession and stretch it out to something that won’t ever go bad and you’ve got Eki-ben playing cards:

The truest food nuts will love this deck of 52 cards ($10) showcasing some of Japan’s most famous portable lunches, like Hakodate City’s rice-stuffed squid bento or Gunma prefecture’s touge kamameshi (chicken and vegetable mixed rice) bento. Each card includes a tantalizing photo along with mouthwatering descriptions. But don’t lick them. Paper isn’t tasty.

One of the factors that keep Eki-ben intriguing is that you can’t just walk into the nearest supermarket to get them. You have to actually go to that town or remote village station because they make use of regional products, a.k.a. meibutsu. So in a way, having a deck of the bento cards may actually be the closest anyone will get to having them all.

52 pickup, anyone??


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Get on the Bus! For the Love of Trains and Loose Change

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November 2010


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