My husband came back from his business trip to the States, and brought this tiny box of raisins! …… Whoa! (I hadn’t seen this little snackage in over 30 years maybe! It whooshed me right back to …. elementary school in Hawaii!  

Time travel?!

Okay, maybe not really, but it was amazing how I was immediately “transported” to the past in Honolulu with our very American lunchboxes.


I remember how my mother used to pop in little boxes of raisins (like the other kids’s lunches) along with our lightly salted, soy sauce coated rice balls (which was very unlike the other kids.) While everyone had sandwiches and apples, we had our little taste of Japan, via our mom who was born and raised there.


It is quite different from the the “obento” that we see here in Japan, and (I suspect) how bento used to be way back when as well!


Typical kids’ “bento bako” lunch box for kids in the 70’s and 80’s, and sometimes still used (with the exception of renewed characters) today in 2019. This simple metal box was packed with rice and some side dishes like egg rolls or sausages, and wrapped simply with a large handkerchif-like cloth called furoshiki.

My lunch box was “Strawberry Shortcake” which was in full trend at the time. I loved the fact that we were on trend, but still able to have culturally familiar foods to give us subtle, comforting hints of “home.” It wasn’t such a big deal on the surface, but the “mom’s” touch always reminded me that I had a home to come home to, no matter how different it may be from other kids around me. 


How interesting how one item can open a well of memories that one never knew loomed in the tiny brain of ours.