Every year at my daughter’s kindergarten, they hold an annual spring picnic at the large public park, with compulsory attendance of at least one adult from each family. It was our third time and the last time, since it is her final year at kindergarten. With a touch of relief I mostly felt sentimental, that we wouldn’t be coming here any more in this style, with her teachers, friends and other kindergarten families, following some tedious instructions and these comical, animal-like dance moves to kickstart the day. I found myself enjoying every minute of it, even wishing that this peaceful moment would last longer.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot more translation assignments. It’s a client driven business, so it’s highly due date sensitive. Because of that, I couldn’t post any of the bento pics last week, working my head off to meet the deadline.
I work freelance from home, primarily because I want to be flexible enough to have ample time with my daughter. She’s the only child, and I don’t want to miss a thing and don’t want to regret at a later stage of my life that I should’ve spent more time with her when it’s too late.
Having said that, I also think having a career is very important for one’s life. It is a great part of who you are, and gives you confidence as well as an independent mindset. Doing freelance was the choice I made, so that I can manage to have both.
The downside is I don’t get paid so well. The rate of freelance translation projects is not something you can brag about. But I take pride in doing this job. I hope one day my little girl will look back at this period of her life and remember her happy time she spent with her mummy, who always gazes at her computer, typing and mumbling something weird.
Tuesday 7/Nov – Bi-color bento with grilled salmon flake & scrambled egg
Wednesday 8/Nov – Onigiri for 2 (the school closed before lunch and it was raining outside, so we had a indoor picnic on the living room floor at our apartment)
Thursday 9/Nov – “Omuraisu” Omelet rice bento
Friday 10/Nov – Grilled Spanish mackerel bento
It’s been another busy but short week for us. Monday was a school holiday since our daughter’s school was open on last Saturday for an art event. Tomorrow, 3rd of November is a public holiday in Japan called Culture Day. As such, there’s only 3 days of school, but since I took up this translation assignment for 9000 words of text, which is due tonight, I’ve been working non-stop since Tuesday.
Anyway I thought I’d take a break and post our daughter’s bento images because the bento making happens every day no matter what as long as her school is open!
Tuesday 31/Oct – Soboro bento
Wednesday 1/Nov – Macaroni in tomato sauce with aubergene & bacon
Thursday 2/Nov – Picnic tortilla wrap bento
Our daughter & her friends are on their way to the sweet potato farm for potato digging today. It’s their first time to take a chartered bus on their own, without being accompanied by their parents. Hope they’ll have fun.
OK, back to my assignment, 2000 more words to go!
After being postponed on last Friday due to forecasted rain, the field trip to the Ueno Zoo was finally on today. This means I need to prepare another field trip bento, and this time, our daughter requested onigiri balls.
Actually there was a specific instruction from her school for what kind of bento we should prepare for the field trip. Onigiri, sandwich and the like, something that the kids can easily pick up and eat, rather than using chopsticks or cutlery. They told us to make sure the kids bring a water bottle with a strap so they will be hands free at all times. On top of that, they advised us to pack “oshibori“, the wet hand towel, so the kids don’t have to look for a water fountain to wash their hands at lunchtime, and no waste will be produced at the same time. Despite the fact I occasionally feel a little annoyed to be instructed in such great detail, I highly respect their teachings. With years and years of experience spending time with small children, these teachers know what they are talking about.
Oh and just FYI, our daughter and her friends (around 60 of them) went to the zoo without being accompanied by their mum or dad, which means they walked from school to the nearest metro station on foot (10 minute walk), took a metro to the nearest station to the zoo (10 metro stops), walked around the zoo (quite large), took the metro back (another 10 metro stops), and walked all the way back to school (another 10 minute walk), solely with the handful of teachers (7 – 8 of them).
They all came back safe and sound.
Menu: Onigiri balls (grilled salmon & goma-konbu), Spinach omelet, Steamed broccoli, Cherry tomato
Japanese Nashi pear for desser
1/Jun/17 – Hamburger bento
2/Jun/17 – Onigiri picnic bento
2nd april 2016, aoyama cemetary
as many people may know by now, japan is obsessed with sakura, cherry blossom. sakura is considered to be the national flower of japan that blossom splendidly around the end of march to beginning of april. the entire country gets flourished with the colour of delicate baby pink, which is the sign for the start of a brand new, exciting, fun season. this coincides with the new financial and school year, which lifts everyone’s spirits to the highest. everything becomes sakura this and sakura that, from sakura flavoured latte to sakura printed/shaped plates spread all over town. it feels a bit overdone in recent years, but i guess they do it because people fall for it. japanese take seasonality seriously, and make the most of it whenever possible.
so, what do we do? we go for picnic with our packed lunches and picnic mats, and this is called “hanami (hana = flower, mi = to look at”).
this is the bento i prepared for a sakura picnic (2 adults + 1 little one + 1 littler one who does not eat yet – the mini onigiri and assorted deli lunch on the right are for my LO). what i made is nothing special, but i prefer bringing homemade food because it brings me a sense of nostalgia from my childhood, and i want to give my little one the same feeling.
having said that, of course i get lazy and buy sandwiches or commercial bento from time to time…
one day, i’d love to make a bento packed beautifully in layered lacquer boxes and stuns everyone present, but i think it’ll take a while to realise that mission (have to buy the lacquer boxes to start with!)…
31 march 2016, yoyogi park (the image by courtesy of my dear friend L.G.)