As a child, if it didn't come from the cafeteria, my school lunches consisted of either leftovers, simple sandwiches or Indo-Mie noodles. Definitely nothing like this:
Obento are elaborate, terribly cute lunch meals made for kids by moms in Japanese culture. See more pictures and read a feature about it here.
Kind of makes me wish I had grown up in Japan. I still love Indo-Mie, however. And my mother.
Also, this may be related or unrelated, but I have to share that I had a go at making my own maki-zushi this weekend (nothing fancy, just some simple rolls), and the recipe I used for the sushi rice was just.. wonderful. I've attempted to make my own California rolls (and the like) before, but I could never get the rice right. In fact, it's my main gripe about homemade sushi. The rice turns out mushy and overcooked, or weird-tasting, or both! Blech.
But Harumi Kurihara, apparently "Japan's Martha Stewart," walks you through the sushi rice-making process very thoughtfully, from the rinsing process to the seasoning and cooling. The rice turned out plump, yet firm and sticky, with a perfect, subtle balance of salty, sweet and slightly sour elements. Needless to say, IT MADE ME SO HAPPY.
I won't even post the recipe -- if you want it, you'll just have to trust me and buy her book. You will not be disappointed.
Thanks to Mau for sharing the link on obento, and to Lisa for telling me about Harumi Kurihara.