One cool part of working within Shiseido Americas is that I’ve made wonderful Japanese friends on the team, who have come directly from the Tokyo HQ. I am very curious about Japanese food, skincare and culture, so I constantly make conversation with my desk neighbor Kazu, who is an R&D wizard. Before him, I befriended my brand partner named Yusuke who also came from HQ and sometimes gave me relationship advice.
Both have been very kind to me, and have gone back home to Japan several times in the time I’ve known them. They are so kind that they brought back cool gifts, like snacks (green tea kit kats, anyone?) and beauty products, things I can’t find here in the US.
One of my favorite gifts is this bento box and lunch bag. Last year, I would look to my right and see that both Kazu and Yusuke would have lunched packed in the cutest little bento boxes wrapped in handkerchiefs that their wives would lovingly prepare, and I bring in my ugly, utilitarian Tupperware in a wrinkled plastic thank you bag. One day I came in and there sat my very own Japanese lunchware set on my desk!
Even though the container looks tiny, you can stuff a bunch of food inside (depending on the food). I like to make sushi rice and sprinkle furikake (dry seasoning) on top, and pair with some stir fried veggies or fried egg. That’s what I had today.
The cutest detail is that the top holds a mini set of chopsticks so I don’t need to use a giant clunky fork to eat. And look at those cats and that cute message that makes no sense! It is so Japanese, I love it!
My other favorite gift that Kazu gave me once is a replica of a Japanese make up remover that is not sold in the US. He looked up the ingredient list, asked a business partner from Tokyo bring some raw material only found in the Japan R&D labs, and he literally made the exact formula here in the US. I have a gallon of it now sitting at my desk. It is the best!
My Japanese friends have given me such unique gifts! Of course, they also know the best ramen spots around the office, which is how I found my new favorite spot, called Toto Ramen.
Also, they’ve taught me all kinds of little phrases in Japanese (like hi, my name is Tracy), pointed out the little Japanese markets in the city, told me about foods like umeboshi (pickled plum) and onigiri 🍙.
Hope you can get your hands on a cute bento box too! 🇯🇵