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Blog - The Amazing Japanese Culture
Blog - The Amazing Japanese Culture

Making a packed lunch for your children to take to school is a chore performed by parents around the world.

But in Japan, it is not just the taste and healthiness of the meal that is important – but how it looks.

The country’s ancient emphasis on food presentation has been transformed into a trend for character bento – packed lunches made to look like pandas, teddy bears or even real people.

The BBC’s Tokyo correspondent Roland Buerk has been finding out more.

The Close-up series focuses on aspects of life in countries and cities around the world. What may seem ordinary and familiar to the people who live there can be surprising to those who do not.

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Last week, Google Japan took its popular Street View in a new direction: underground. The search giant commissioned a photography crew to explore a centuries-old mine and popular limestone cave in Japan. The result is a stunning 360-degree photo tour that gives people around the world the opportunity to visit sites they probably wouldn’t see otherwise.

This is the entrance to the Okubo-mabu mineshaft at Omori, Ota City in the Shimane Prefecture of Japan. The Iwami Ginzan silver mines, one of the largest in the world during the 16th and 17th centuries, officially became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

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