Over hundreds of years Japan has developed a culture of “bento,” or portable meals which usually consist of a main dish along with side dishes and other accompaniments such as pickles. Nowadays there are a wide variety of bento styles, one of which is known as “character bento.” These character bento are now very popular in Japan, and are even finding favor internationally. To us here at Yamaha Motors, they represent an opportunity to present an unusual, fun aspect of Japanese culture to the world. Through these bento, we hope to show you some of the unique products that we have created to date, and offer you a taste of a different side of Japan.
Our vehicle bento are modeled after the historic motor cycles, boats, and snowmobiles exhibited at Yamaha Communication Plaza, which is located right next to the headquarters of Yamaha Motors. Bento recipes are supervised by Mr. Hajime Oiwa, the executive chef at the Yamaha Group’s Katsuragi Kitano-maru resort. We hope you enjoy the delicious, fun-to-cook bento shown in our Vehicle Bento Cooking Show!
Located next to the headquarters of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Yamaha Communication Plaza is a company museum themed around “communication” and “past, present, and future,” focusing on Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and its products. Construction of this facility was announced in 1995, 40 years after the founding of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., and it has welcomed many visitors since opening three years later on July 1, 1998.
On display are a range of motorcycles (including racing bikes), ATVs, boats, and snowmobiles, from historic models to new products. Additionally, Yamaha Communications Plaza also features the Plaza Shop on the first floor which offers a range of original Yamaha goods for purchase, a library on the second floor stocked with books, materials, and videos, etc. concerning Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., and on the third floor the Plaza Cafe where visitors can pause to relax during their visit. We look forward to welcoming you when you visit!
It’s been more than 400 years since bento boxes (containers used solely to carry these meals) first appeared. There are three styles of bento: one is home-made and has been handed down for generations, and is sometimes as simple as rice balls called “onigiri” wrapped in the skin of a bamboo plant. Another type, called “Maku-no-uchi bento,” which literally means “Intermission bento,” was originally sold and eaten during the intermission of Kabuki performances. The last type of bento is used for picnics at occasions such as tea ceremonies or cherry blossom viewing parties, and is usually carried in big multitiered boxes.
In modern times the bento culture has developed even further, and Japanese people now enjoy bento called “eki-ben,” which are sold at train stations and focus on regional specialties, character bento, and fast-food bento sold at convenient stores. We believe that bento culture will flourish more in the future, and hope that our Vehicle Bento Cooking Show will encourage the adoption of bento in your culture too!
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