Your Friend in Japan

The Origin of Bento and Kissing in Japan

Written by HotAnime

The origin of bento, and kissing in Japan

One topic that’s interesting to explore is the Western custom of kissing and its history with Japan. While the English word “kiss” (キス) was imported during the Meiji Era, when Japan was modernizing as fast as it could, the concept goes back at least to the Heian Period (794-1185), where it’s described in literature from that era. (The original word is 接吻 seppun, now archaic and quite beautiful.) While private kissing between lovers is fine, the Japanese are quite conservative when it comes to this act, and generally would not do it in public (though there are some glorious exceptions). They’re extremely suspicious of the European custom of cheek kissing as a greeting between friends, and secretly fear that any European is going to suddenly kiss them. (“In the West, kissing is just a greeting!”) Drawing their favorite anime and game characters kissing is a favorite pasttime of Japanese fan-artists. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, follow J-List to see some of the random images I post each day.

Although I live in Japan, it’s quite rare that I do anything “cultural,” so when my wife asked if I wanted to go see a kabuki performance starring Ebizo Ichikawa, the heartthrob of the kabuki world these days, I jumped at the chance. One reason Japan’s culture seems so unique to us is that the country closed itself completely to outsiders during the 250-year-long Edo Period, allowing its culture to steam and bubble without any outside influence. Between two performances there was a 20 minute intermission, and several people pulled out bento lunches and started eating right there in the theater hall, which caused my wife to comment in surprise. The truth was that were were in the very birthplace of Japan’s bento culture, which started out as makunouchi bento, literally “a boxed lunch to eat in between the curtains” at a kabuki play. So it was quite appropriate that the theater-goers should eat bento while they waited for the next act to start.

J-List always stocks the best “ecchi” products from Japan, including realistic toys that help guys relieve their stress after a hard day at work. Today we posted two fun onaholes that are actually wearing school uniforms which you get to remove. Inside there’s a random packet of lotion that gives you your ero horoscope. Enjoy all the fun items we posted today!

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