Bento Boxes

Dear Elliot, Emmala and Eliza,

It is fun and interesting being in a country where we do not speak the language. Although there are a lot of Japanese people who know a little English, we also go many places where we have to use sign language and gestures to communicate with others. Fortunately, most restaurants have pictures of the food, so you can order by pointing to a picture. Sometimes, however, we still are surprised by the food we get because we don't know all of the foods that we see in Japan.
When traveling on the train, many people eat packaged lunches, called Bento Boxes. The boxes are often very pretty with Japanese designs and the food is carefully organized to make a good appearance. This evening for our supper mom and I had bento boxes because we rode the train from Misawa to Hachinohe and from Hachinohe to Sendai. We looked at the pictures of the Bento boxes and even looked at some of the food through the clear plastic tops on our bento boxes. Still it was hard for us to know what we were going to get.

My Bento box had a lot of different kinds of food to sample. There was a piece of raw salmon on a bed of rice. I have gotten used to eating cold rice in Japan. We have been served rice both hot and cold. Then there was a small tray of vegetables, including sweet peas, carrot, seaweed, mushrooms and more. There was also a small squid that had teriyaki sauce on it, one shrimp that had been fried in tempura, a piece of tofu, a couple of pieces of chicken and a small dumpling.

Grandma got a sandwich with seaweed in place of bread. Inside she found rice, egg and bacon. We think it was probably supposed to be a breakfast sandwich. She also had a small Bento box with several pieces of pork cooked in teriyaki sauce wrapped around rice rolls. We have learned to buy iced tea, usually green tea, from vending machines. Sometimes we try fruit juices, though we can't always tell the difference between fruit juice and pop because we can't read Japanese. Tonight I thought I was getting pineapple juice, but it turned out to be pineapple pop.

There are lots of surprises for us as we travel and eat in Japan. For the next two days, Grandma and I are traveling by ourselves while Rachel and Mike are working. We'll tell you more about our experiences in the next few days.