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Dan travels to Asia for work.  Not all of us can claim the same.  My work trips have taken me to far less exotic like locations including (and limited to) Toronto, London (ON) and...drum roll...Winnipeg.  So each time Dan packs his bag to head to Japan, China or Thailand, I can't help but feel a little envious.  The thing is, and most people who travel a lot for business tell me, it's work to them - not a vacation.  I don't buy it. Dan has been to Thailand twice in the past year and a half and he has yet to really check out the sights.  With the 2 days it takes to get there and the 2 days it takes to get home, extending the trip to explore the country is rarely an option or a preference, especially now that he has Jaia at home waiting for him (I'd like to think that I was a draw home before her arrival, but I think she has me beat.  Hands down.) My favourite part of Dan's return home (besides his return home) has been the ridiculous souvenirs he seems to find.  If you know Dan, you know this is self-explanatory and completely...Dan. The most ridiculous have come from Japan.  One such example was a cheese-shaped tape dispenser with a mouse sneaking out the side that came with a warning that read, "Once inserted, DO NOT remove mouse from cheese".  We heeded the warning and haven't tried to remove the mouse.  Though I'm not sure what could actually happen if we did - but I do as I'm told. On one of his last trips to Japan, Dan returned home with a bunch of little plastic trinkets.    There were Winnie the Pooh and Piglet shaped...toothpicks(?) and little coloured boxes with adorable cartoon animal faces on them.  Very cute, but oh so useless.  I didn't have a clue what to do with them, and Dan never explained.  And mostly, as Jen can attest to, we were used to Dan bringing super random (tape dispenser), very poorly translated things home from these trips.  So they went in the drawer without another thought.  For 2 or 3 years. And then yesterday, I came upon a happy little surprise in the blogosphere.  A site I check regularly because of the author's AMAZING photography pointed me in the direction of this site.  This mom of 1.5 kids has been making these adorable Japanese inspired bento-style luches for her son since he started preschool.  She posts weekly pictures of her creations.  Has food ever been cuter? I HAVE to start making them for Jaia.  Yes, she's still a couple of years away from preschool, but can we not have bento dinners?  Bento snacks?  Bento lunches - Weekend Edition?  Besides...I think I might even enjoy meals a little more if they were this cute.  Bring on the elephant-shaped cheese and teeny star-shaped sandwiches. And even though Jaia is a phenomenal eater as it is (we are SO lucky!), I'm thinking I can actually convince her to try eggs (her nemisis) if they looked a little like this:   And as you may have guessed, with this little trip to Bentoland, I finally figured out what the little plastic boxes are actually used for.  They are take-with-you spice, sauce and condiment containers.  In the perfect, individual, single-serving size.  Brilliant.  If only I could find where we put them in the move...    
August 13, 2008 - 2:12 pm

Dan - Doesn’t this call into question the assumed uselessness of all the other weird stuff I’ve brought back?

August 13, 2008 - 3:49 pm

Auntie Jen - Remember that bottled drink you brought back for me that had the big globs of red who-knows-what floating around in it? I was too scared to drink it, it just sat on display in the fridge of 552.

August 14, 2008 - 8:19 am

Kris - I used to read a blog which turned into a cookbook… Check it out! Some of the lunches she made for her son were incredible…and also adorable. They were all vegan though, so no smiley-face eggs. Still, she has some great stuff on there…it’s still in my favorites for one of those days, many moons from now, when I have my own little lunch-box toting mini-me to send off to school.

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