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Bent on Bento

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Bento Boxes are an achievement in form and purpose. They embody a concept of functional beauty that is present everywhere in Japanese culture.

The boxes are simple. They are made from light wood or plastic, divided into easy-to-use compartments, and lacquered red or black. Some have cherry blossom designs or other Japanese symbols painted on them.

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Although the Bento Box is aesthetically pleasing on the outside, it is the contents of a Bento Box which give the ultimate pleasure. Each edible comes in its own compartment, and the contents come together to form a unique meal. This is the core concept of the Bento Box, the merging of many into one. The Bento Box is a sophisticated system that exhibits each dish to its best advantage.

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The functional beauty of the Bento Box reflects a Japanese aesthetic. The spatial organization of the lunchbox greatly resembles that of Japanese towns and villages. Tokyo has a complex packaging of neighborhoods reminiscent of a lunchbox pattern. The layout of Japanese homes is also simple and angular.

Bento Boxes are available in any local Japanese restaurant. Most of us know them as combo A, B or C. The next time you order Lunchbox A, look beyond the rice, the raw fish and the tempura. This black box is a window into the heart and soul of Japan.

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2001 Pacific Rim Cover. "Veiled Propositions" Cover Story. Image of woman wearing wedding veil.

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Issue 2001

Balance and Harmony

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