Wappa is a term for discribing wooden containers which are made with bent wood and fixed with cherry tree barks to put is together.
That reminds me of shaker box, which is also oval simple shaped box.
Bento boxes are very popular in Japan and many kids bring their own bento to the schools, so they normally have their own bento boxes. These boxes are generally made with aluminum and plastic, but recently wooden bento boxes have been regaining their popularity, although their existence had almost been forgotten in the past replaced by these modern aluminum or plastic bento boxes once.
Wappan bento box is generally oval shape, but the ones in Hakata is square, so they can be easily stored and carried in your bag.
The main reason why wooden wappa bento box regained its popularity is that it keeps rice in a good condition, so that they say rice tasts much better with wooden made wappa bento box.
There are also two layered bento boxes too.
By the way, the dark brown colored things on the front of the bento box are cherry tree bark strings to tie the bento box together.
These are containers to keep cooked rice. These were historically also replaced with electric rice cooker before, because the modern rice cooker has a function to keep the rice warm, so there is no need of taking the rice out to other containers.
But the rice cooker function of keeping rice warm is also not perfect, because it excessively consumes electricity while keeping it warm and the rice also becomes dry. If you take the rice out, for example, to porcelain container and cover it with a plastic wrap thing, it becomes too soggy, when it is cooled down.
When people realized that wooden made wappa container keeps rice in a perfect condition without making it too dry nor too soggy, they went back to the old fashioned traditional wooden container like our grandparents used to do.
The progress in technology has definitely made our life better and improved our quality of life in many respects, but they sometimes create drawbacks too and it often takes a while for people to realize that we have lost something in return to the progress in technology.
The details of these wrappa bento boxes and rice containers can be found on our web page or at our store in Tokyo.
MA by So Shi Te
We are located 1min walk from Gaienmae station exit 1b on Ginza line in Tokyo.
Rice containers: http://www.aoyamamarket.com/ma/kitchen-others/06.html