Orio ekiben



Orio Stationlunch
ORIO Ekiben Station lunchbox

Kashiwameshi (minced chicken meat on rice)

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The meat is cooked for a long time in a special sauce, the rice is cooked in a flavored soce with special ingredients, some are the strict secret of the company, which prepares more than 1000 every day.
The rice is covered with minced chicken meat, finely cut "golden threads of egg" (kinshi tamago 錦糸玉子) and seaweed. Some pickles are added at one side.

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This bento started selling in 1921, it was the first Japanese station lunch to serve local chicken meat. One box was 30 sen at that time.

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The singing bento vendor of Kitakyushu
Shoichi Nasu

Platform vendor Kazutoshi Yamaguchi poses with his ekiben boxed meals on the platform of JR Orio Station in Kitakyushu.

Photo by Shoichi Nasu

If you happen to get on or off at Platform No. 5 of Orio Station in Kitakyushu, you can buy an ekiben from a platform vendor named Kazutoshi Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi-san is one of the nation's very few remaining ekiben vendors. Wearing the uniform of the Tochikuken company, which specializes in making boxed meals in Fukuoka Prefecture, and a bow tie and a cap, he smiles broadly to would-be-customers on the platform.
He started working at his ekiben vending job at the station in 1996, finding the position through a public employment center. He had lost his previous job when the company closed.

At first, he found it hard to raise his voice in front of passengers. He used to walk to a park near his home at night to practice, shouting, "Bento, Kashiwa-meshi!" (Box lunch, minced chicken rice). Kashiwameshi is a well-known local dish in the area, and the Kashiwameshi bento comes in three different prices: 650 yen, 750 yen and 1,000 yen.

Eventually, he was able to overcome his shyness and shout out to attract customers. Now he goes even further, and has composed an 18-verse song about Kashiwameshi. The first verse goes, "Bento, bento, bento, Kashiwameshi. Orio's specialty, made with affection. The most delicious."

On his business card is printed the fifth verse of the song: "Bento, bento, bento, Kashiwameshi, Kagoshima Line, Platform No. 5. If a train door opens, you hear a vendor's voice." If passengers wish to hear the song, Yamaguchi sings several verses for them on the platform.

According to him, on weekdays the Kashiwameshi bento priced at 650 yen sells well, while on weekends the one for 1,000 yen is more popular. "As there are very few of us nowadays, people, mostly elderly people, I suppose, feel nostalgic for ekiben vendors. They come and buy ekiben from me, taking the train even from far-away areas," Yamaguchi told me.

Gone are the days when there were a lot of bento vendors. When the neighboring Chikuho area in Fukuoka Prefecture was prosperous due to coal mining in the pre- and post-World War II era--a driving force of Japan's economy at the time--Orio Station had a number of bento vendors. Now Yamaguchi is the only one.
source : www.yomiuri.co.jp, April 2008


Jidori 地鳥 (じどり ) Local Chicken

Tori awase 鶏合 (とりあわせ) Ritual Cock Fighting


Orio Eki station, 折尾駅 prefecture
鹿児島本線折尾(おりお)駅 Kagoshima Honsen Main Line

The station building is quite old and retro with its pink facade.

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Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Related words

Ekiben 駅弁 Station Lunch Box

Regional Japanese Dishes

Roadside stations (michi no eki 道の駅) Highway Service Areas


1 comment:

Gabi Greve - Washoku said...

kyoogibune, kyōgibune 経木舟 kyogibune
boat from paper-thin sheets of wood

used for this ekiben !