reasons for making bento

Getting a headstart on 2012 bento resolutions

Looking back a little on the eventful year that was 2011, and looking ahead. continue reading...

The Bento&co Contest winners are announced, plus some personal favorites

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The results of the big Bento&co Contest have been announced - the grand prize winner is Huang, who gets to go to Kyoto in September! As I mentioned earlier, I was one of the judges for this contest, and it was a very difficult task indeed to come up with a top 50, let alone a top 20. Everyone was really pushing the envelope!

Here are some of my personal favorites that didn’t make the finalist list (with one exception). continue reading...

Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I’m renewing my bento vows, so to speak, for 2011, the Year of the Bunny. How about you? continue reading...

First Anniversary Giveaway Day 5: My Too Short Hot Summer

This is the final day of the Just Hungry/Just Bento Anniversary Giveaway. It’s been a lot of fun going back to the past and sharing my memories with you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them!

And here’s the last chapter of my trips to the past, coming back to the present.

This, and all the giveaways, are now closed. Thank you for participating! The winners will be announced later this week! continue reading...

First Anniversary Giveaway Day 4: Love (?) in the pouring rain

It’s Day 4 of Giveaway Week, and I regale you with a tale of teenage puppy love. Well, sort of.

(This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! The winner will be announced next week!) continue reading...

First Anniversary Giveaway Day 2, with bento memories

This is the second day of the week long giveaway party to celebrate the first anniversary of Just Bento, as well as the fifth anniversary of Just Hungry. (The first day of Just Bento’s part is here.) While over on Just Hungry I’m looking back at the first five years of the site, here I’d like to go even further back in time, and talk about some memorable bentos from my past. (If you want to skip ahead, today’s giveaway is at the bottom.) continue reading...

Takupapa, a father who makes cute bentos

The author of the book Face Food: The Visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes (my review here) Christopher Salyers, has an excerpt of the interview he did with the one father/bento creator that appears in the book.

Takupapa (meaning the father of Takkun, his son’s nickname) started making cute kyaraben for his son when his wife was hospitalized. Quoting from the interview:

What is Charaben to you?

Charaben is a collection of precious times I spent with my son. Each and every Charaben has an episode, and I hope they will become good memories when he grows up.

And here’s the link to Takupapa’s bento blog (in Japanese). Takkun has one year left to go in kindergarten, and Takupapa plans to continue making those cute bento for him until he enters first grade in the spring of 2009.

(Incidentally, someone asked me if there is a difference between charaben and kyaraben. There isn’t - it’s just two ways of spelling out a Japanese word. The original is キャラ弁, and it’s a combination of キャラクター (character) and 弁当 (bento). I prefer the phonetic kyaraben, since I keep reading charaben with the ch part pronounced as in chair.) continue reading...