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便当相伴 日本特色的奇幻铁路之旅

更新时间:2018-10-23 18:19:24 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Japan's special take on a packed lunch
便当相伴 日本特色的奇幻铁路之旅

As I made my way through the meandering hallways of Tokyo Station, I felt like a pilgrim making a monumental journey, before my actual trip. I was headed to the mecca of ekiben – beloved boxed meals created specifically for long train journeys. Like the crowds bustling around me, I had a train to catch, and my last order of business was to find myself some lunch for the ride.

当我穿过东京车站蜿蜒的走廊时,我感觉自己像一个朝圣者,在开始真正的征程之前进行一场热身之旅。我前往的是铁路便当界的“麦加圣城”——这些铁路便当专为长途火车旅行设计,装在盒子里,非常可爱。和周围熙熙攘攘的人群一样,我要赶火车,而上车前的最后一件事就是给自己买一份旅途中的午饭。

Ekiben (駅弁), an abbreviation of eki (station) and ben (bento), is a prized, and some would say essential, element of long-distance train travel in Japan. While eating in a local commuter train is frowned upon, travellers on longer rides, such as bullet trains or trains that take reservations, are encouraged to take a meal. Every region, and even specific train stations, has their own unique offerings tied to the local cuisine and culture.

铁路便当日语是“駅弁”,“駅”即是车站,“弁”即是弁当(便当)。铁路便当是日本长途火车旅行重要的、甚至不可或缺的元素。在本地的通勤列车上吃东西会被人皱眉头嫌弃,但在子弹头列车和接收预定的长途火车上,是鼓励大家吃饭的。每个地区、甚至是某些特定的火车站,都会提供和本地美食及文化相关的独特的火车便当。

After a few wrong turns, I arrived at Ekiben-ya Matsuri (literally ‘Festival of Ekiben’), which was stocked with stacks of neatly organised boxes, repeatedly shifted and examined by a multitude of frenetic shoppers. I inspected long, plastic containers in the shape of the shinkansen, or bullet train, filled with various vegetables, meats and rice, and countless colourful boxes featuring painted scripts evoking the echo of a lost time. I peered over the backs of fellow shoppers to gather clues about popular offerings, such as the limited edition boxes that herald the arrival of spring. I was shoulder to shoulder with foodies, travellers and those simply seeking furusato no aji (a taste of home), all hoping to find delight among the 200 or so varieties on display. In typically polite Japan, the crowded aisles contained frequent pushes and shoves, indicating that my fellow shoppers, like me, had limited time to shop.

几次走错路之后,我到了駅弁屋祭(字面意思是“铁路便当节”)。店内便当盒摆放整齐,有很多热情的顾客不断拿起这些便当来看。我看到了外形是新干线(即子弹头列车)的长条塑料包装盒,里面摆满了各式蔬菜、肉类和米饭,还有无数色彩鲜艳、印着文字的盒子,让人想起被遗忘的时光。我从很多顾客的肩膀上望过去,想了解哪种是最受欢迎的,比如那些预示着春天到来的限量版便当。这里有美食爱好者、旅客,还有那些仅仅是想寻找“故郷の味(家的味道)”的人,我们比肩接踵,都希望能在陈列的200多种便当中找到心仪的美食。通常日本人都很礼貌,但这家店的走道拥挤,人们常常推过来推过去。这意味着这些购物者和我一样,选购的时间非常有限。

Across the country, travellers rely on train station bento shops to buy their food and drink for a particular train trip, typically with choices tied to the area they’re in. But this shop is different. As well as offering local ekiben from the Tokyo region, Ekiben-ya Matsuri also sells popular options from destinations across the country ­­– from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south, allowing shoppers to forgo the train trip and jump straight to the prized meal of nearly any region they can imagine. The concept is popular: the shop sells 10,000 such bento-style meals a day, and up to 15,000 on a weekend.

在日本各地,在特定的火车之旅中,旅客会在火车站的便当店购买食物和饮料,尤其是具有当地特色的餐饮。但这家店却不一样。駅弁屋祭除了提供东京地区的本地铁路便当之外,还出售全国各地的畅销便当,从北部的北海道到南部的九州,应有尽有,让消费者即使不坐火车长途远行,也能立即享受到几乎所有地区的珍贵美食。这个概念非常受欢迎:这家店每天售出1万份便当,周末则多达1.5万份。

These movable feasts are a beautiful consequence of an efficient, widespread train network married with curious palates yearning to try beloved local specialties. Sampling special regional items from across the country runs deep in Japanese culture. The concept of meibutsu, or ‘famous things’, plays out through two elements of travel: ekiben and omiyage (packaged souvenirs gifted to family and friends). While omiyage is a way to share meibutsu back home, ekiben is a way to enjoy a specialty item yourself.

一方面是运营高效、覆盖范围广的铁路网络,另一方面是人们对当地美食的渴望,两者共同促成了这些流动的盛宴。从全国各地寻找地方特色产品的概念也深深扎根于日本文化中。“名物”(意思为著名的事物)的概念通过旅途中的两样东西体现:铁路便当和伴手礼(即送给家人朋友的包装好的纪念品)。伴手礼让人回到家分享名物,而铁路便当则让自己享受当地特色美食。

Steven R McGreevy, who has lived in Japan since 2000, explains that “Japan’s food culture is incredibly diverse and often linked to a particular place. Just the suggestion of somewhere in Japan automatically elicits images of particular foods that are native to the place or of a particular level of refinement or quality. This is, of course, found everywhere in the world, but I would say the level of resolution in Japan is really high: a 30-minute train ride can bring you into a totally different food environment.”

麦格维(Steven R McGreevy)从2000年起就住在日本,他解释说,“日本的美食文化非常多样,而且通常与特定地点有关。只要提到日本的某个地点,就能立刻让人联想到特定的当地食物,或者是食物的精细程度和质量。当然,在全世界任何地方都会有类似情况,但我认为这种现象在日本尤为显著:只要坐30分钟的火车,就可能到达一个地方,那里烹制食物的方法截然不同。”

Famous examples include gyutan, grilled beef tongue from Sendai; shumai, pork dumplings from Yokohama; and kani-meshi, crab rice from Hokkaido. While many of these items have long been part of the local culinary scene, the idea to box them up as travellers’ fare evolved along with the development of the Japanese railway system, which started service in 1872. The first ekiben appeared in 1885 at Utsunomiya Station (around 130km from Tokyo), consisting of pickled plum rice balls – a portable food common throughout the country.

一些著名的菜品包括仙台的烤牛舌、横滨的烧麦、北海道的蟹饭。虽然其中的很多品种一直以来都是当地美食,但作为旅行的便当打包出售是从1872年日本铁路运营开始,并随着铁路服务一同发展的。第一份铁路便当出现在1885年的宇都宫站(距离东京约130公里),便当里有腌渍梅子饭团——日本全国各地的常见便携食品。

As no dining car existed in the early days of train travel, merchants would make sales to passengers through the windows or at platform shops. A decade later, stations began offering distinctive tastes of their town, and an industry was born. Today, more than 2,000 kinds of ekiben are available, often from local, family-run businesses.

最早期的火车并没有餐车,商人会在站台商店或者通过火车车窗向乘客销售产品。十年后,许多车站开始提供具有当地特色的食品,这一产业也就诞生了。如今,铁路便当有2000多种选择,通常来自本地的家族企业。

More than just something to eat, ekiben is another way to experience a locale. Just as you would visit a temple in Kyoto, another must-do is to try Wagyu Bento (or any other of the many famous Kyoto ekiben available) when you leave from Kyoto Station.

铁路便当不仅仅是食物,还能让人体验当地人的生活。就像你会去参观京都的寺庙一样,另一件必须做的事就是在离开京都火车站时试一试和牛便当(或者其它任何一种著名的京都便当)。

Hatsuko Matsumoto, who works in Tokyo, adds, “Ekiben can be a kind of memory device of travel... It reminds you when, where and with whom you ate, even after returning home.”

在东京工作的松本初子(Hatsuko Matsumoto)补充道:“铁路便当可以作为旅行中的一种记忆装置……它让你即使在回家后也能想起自己什么时候、在哪里、和谁吃了饭。”

Unlike fast food in the Western world, where price often trumps quality and options tend to be standardised, ekiben thrives on the local elements of its hometown. Heirloom vegetables, unique cooking methods, specialised rice varieties, local crafts and even folktales play a part in an ekiben’s appeal. Seasonality is also important. In his article, Savour Slowly: Ekiben: The Fast Food of High-Speed Japan, Paul Noguchi, former professor of anthropology and sociology at Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University, writes, “A certain vegetable may be in or out of season and a particular species of fish is just beginning or ending its run. Thus ekiben provide the finest local foods available, but always during a particular season, and by doing so combine the best of time and place.”

与西方国家价高于质的标准化快餐不同,铁路便当依靠本地元素发展。世世代代都会食用的蔬菜、独特的烹饪方法、特别的米饭品种、本地工艺、甚至民间传说都是铁路便当的组成部分。时令也很重要。在文章《细细品尝:铁路便当:日本高速快餐》里,前宾夕法尼亚州巴克内尔大学人类学和社会学教授野口勇(Paul Noguchi)写道:“有时候,某种蔬菜可能应季或者已经过季了,某种鱼类可能刚刚开始或者结束了迁徙活动。因此,铁路便当提供的是市面上能找到的最好的本地美食,但一直只能在特定时节供应,在最合适的时间和地点提供美味佳肴。”

I had been warned about this – even under the same name, an ekiben’s contents often rotate according to the season. A number of ekiben suggested to me were out of season. Frankly, I was relieved to have my choices whittled down for me ­­– as it were, I had about 100 options too many.

已经有人提醒过我——即使铁路便当名字不变,里面的食物也常常会随着季节而变化。很多推荐给我的铁路便当已经过季。坦白说,选择变少反而让我松了口气——原本我有100多个选择,实在太多了。

I found help with my decision at the shop’s ekiben showcase wall. Here, the same containers found on the shelves were open to illustrate the contents inside. Unable to read Japanese and not wanting to make the ‘wrong’ choice, I studied my options very carefully.

铁路便当店的展示墙帮我做出了决定,墙上的包装盒是敞开的,展示了里面的食物。我不会日语,也不想做“错误”的选择,因此很仔细地研究了我的选项。

Noodles, sushi, meat on rice – any conceivable Japanese culinary specialty was there, along with various plastic novelty containers mimicking icons particular to certain areas: a plastic crab containing a bed of famous Tottori crab meat; a snowman evoking the great snows of Niigata, stuffed with minced meat and stewed vegetables on Koshihikari rice. I could see some of the more innovative ekiben packaging, like ones that play a song when the lid is lifted or heat up upon pulling a string (almost all ekiben is served cold, although shops will heat ekiben upon request).

面条、寿司、盖饭——这里有任何你可以想到的日本美食,装在外观类似当地标志性事物的塑料饭盒内。有塑料螃蟹饭盒包装的蟹肉;新潟肉糜蒸蔬菜盖饭用了雪人饭盒包装,让人回忆起当地的大雪。我还看到一些更有创意的火车便当包装,比如打开盖子就会播放歌曲的便当盒和拽一根绳子就能加热的便当盒(几乎所有的便当都是冷的,但是商店会根据顾客需求提供加热服务)。

However, the clock was ticking and my train was likely preparing for its departure. My eyes darted between attractive colours and tastes. In the end, childhood nostalgia and the notion of a ‘souvenir’ won out. I boarded my train just in the nick of time, with a can of heated Nescafe coffee and a cute, pink Hello Kitty samurai container filled with teriyaki chicken and rice, which was brought to me all the way from Okayama Station.

然而,时间很紧,我的火车也好像即将出发了。我的目光仍然在这缤纷的色彩和诱人的美食里流连。最终,儿时的乡愁和“纪念品”的想法占了上风。登车前,我买着一罐加热的雀巢咖啡,还有照烧鸡和米饭,它们是从冈山站一路运到这里的,装在可爱的粉红色凯蒂猫武士便当盒里。

I’d found a good meal, and a means to remember my travels, just as the Japanese have done since the dawn of trains.

和火车初运营时的日本人一样,我不仅享受了美食,还纪念了此次旅行。

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