Until a few years ago, a lunch boxes (called obento bako in Japanese) was a popular item among girls. Boys on the other hand would start buying their lunches at convenience stores or at other stores as they get older. However, this trend has begun to change since early this year. More men that work in offices are beginning to bring lunch boxes to their offices and enjoy them during their lunch time.
Why? Of course it is because of the economic crisis! Office workers are becoming more and stingier about everything and men are starting to avoid buying lunches outside. Usually, when lunch breaks begin, men would take their wallet and head outside and grab something to eat for about 500 yen to 1000 yen. This has now become a big damage to those people. Also, lunch boxes have become popular for they help men avoid having to suffer from metabolic syndrome, which is a serious lifestyle disease in Japan (especially among middle aged men). Because you can adjust how healthy you want to make your meal, more people are putting effort into making their lunches bento-centered.
Even the word “Bento Danshi” has become popular in Japan. This is a word that means “Bento Boys”. It refers to single, unmarried men who make their original lunches every morning. Recipe books for such people have been published and blogs written by such people are extremely popular! This is sure what you call a trend! What’s also interesting about Bento Danshi is that, because you can see the ecologically friendly side, and the cooking skills of such men, it makes you popular among women!
This trend has been visible for the sales of lunch boxes for men have shot up. Lunch boxes are usually colorful and are available in different colors and shapes, but those are not what are popular today. Dark colored lunch boxes that can stuff much food but are slim in size that can fit business bags are extremely popular. Those are now an essential item for working men throughout Japan.