Forget opening your lunch box to fish out a soggy sandwich and mushy fruit, or braving the school canteen slop. Many kids in Japan are treated to cool little character bentos, or Kyaraben, by their doting parents.
The kyaraben (or charaben) usually take the form of video game or cartoon characters, such as Pokémon, animals and plants, and are made of whatever is to hand, whether it be rice, noodles, bread, sliced meats, seaweed, etc.
A photo posted by @hamama_126 on Jul 24, 2016 at 4:39pm PDT
According to NPR, there’s actually great cultural pressure on mothers (it’s usually the mothers who make them, as many quit work after having children) to create the best kids bento, and some can spend an inordinate amount of time on them each morning to ensure their child shines at lunchtime.
You'll find some astonishing bento for kids creations over on Instagram (you'll find a short video below too). Perhaps these could provide lunchbox inspiration for all your parents out there, though where you’d find the time to do it (or the patience) we’re not sure.