Friday, 21 August 2020


Present /&/ Correct showcases a nice collection of vintage ekiben wrappers—a portmanteau of the words for railway and bento boxed meals (駅弁).
The latter came from a Chinese term meaning convenience and around since at least the thirteenth century. Though there was a decline in quality and artfulness of these prepared snacks for train passengers with quicker journeys and the increased popularity of flying, ekiban are seeing a revival as on onboard food option and have since been at least offered as take-away fare inside stations, department stores and airports. Given this longevity (prior to the age of transporation), these boxes are bearers of a lot of culture, expectations and performance and several other specialty types have been developed, including shidashi—a catered meal ate a social occasion like a wedding or a funeral, kyaraben—a bento meant to resemble a favourite cartoon character, and a shikaeshiben (仕返し弁)—that is, a revenge bento, where the preparer uses the boxed lunch to get back at the recipient by writing confessions or insults in the food or by making it inedible or possibly poisoned.