bento culture

Bento tidbits from Japan: Ready-made bento foods from the supermarket

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So, you think that Japanese moms (and wives) prepare homemade bentos completely from scratch? Think again… continue reading...

Bento tidbits from Japan: Kiyoken Hotate Gohan (scallop rice) Bento, a higher end takeout bento

Kiyoken hotate (scallop) bento

I’m busy getting ready for the photo shoot for the bento cookbook, which starts next week, so I don’t have a lot of time for long posts at the moment. So I thought I’d do a brief write up of this bento I had for lunch today. It’s a good example of a higher-end takeout bento, of the kind you might buy in the food hall of a department store, at specialized stores or stalls in the bigger train stations, and so on. continue reading...

Nonchan Noriben, a movie about bentos

A new movie opened in Japan in late September called Nonchan Noriben (the rather sparse listing on IMDB). Here’s a trailer:

The Nonchan part of the title is the name of the little daughter of the main character, Komaki. The Noriben part of the title refers to the name of a classic type of bento. I explained how a noriben is made here, as well as a little bit of the culture behind it. Basically, any bento consisting of layers of rice and nori seaweed is a noriben. continue reading...

A Trio of Bento-Themed iPhone Apps

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One sign that bentos are becoming trendy, if they aren’t already, may be that they are being made into iPhone apps. There is of course the database app from FileMaker, Bento (which messes up searches for bento recipes!), which uses the divided bento box as a metaphor for organizing data. But there are a few apps that actually use the edible box of food we love as the main theme. Here I review three of them - A Bento Box: Virtual Sushi; Obento!; and Charaben. continue reading...

Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in less than 5 minutes!

I am a bit wary of putting Japanese YouTube videos here, because soon after I do they seem to be taken down. But I’m taking a chance with this one (via sherimiya on Twitter) because it’s just too funny. It’s from a program on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System), one of the major Japanese TV networks, called Jitan Seikatsu Gaido Shou (時短生活ガイドショー), an infotainment show about how to save time in all kinds of ways. continue reading...

A Japanese Life of Bento

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Bentos are just starting to penetrate the consciousness of people outside of Japan, though judging from the growing interest in bento sites like this one and several others, it’s definitely trending up. However, the bento or obento (the more polite honorific term) in its many guises is an integral part of life in Japan. Here are the many different types of bento that a typical Japanese person might eat at different stages of life. continue reading...

Popular onigiri fillings and flavors, single Bento Boys, and more

Some bento and onigiri related news that caught my eye recently. Single guys toting homemade bento to work; cheap bento options getting popular; Spam attacks Japan! and more. continue reading...

Onigiri Pon!

One of the questions asked during the Anniversary Giveaway was why Japanese people like cute (kawaii) things so much, as is evident in the cult of kyaraben or charaben. I’m not really sure of the answer to be honest, but it is true that from children to adults, women and even some men, love things that are cute and childlike. It may stem for the appreciation for detail in small objects like netsuke. Or maybe Japanese people are just a bit childish?

Or, maybe it’s because from a very young age, Japanese kids are exposed to kawaii culture. This is from a childrens’ program that airs on the NHK Education channel (NHK is the state-run TV station, equivalent to the BBC) called いないないばあっ! (inai inai baa), which is also the name of the game you play with babies ‘Now you see me…Now you don’t!’. It’s aimed at 0 to 2 year olds, and is the highest rated kid’s show on the NHK. This song is called おにぎりぽん!(onigiri pon!) continue reading...