First Anniversary Giveaway Day 3: School outing bento memories

This is the third 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, and the second day.) Today’s bento memory is about school outings, or ensoku.

Once or twice a year, in the spring and/or fall, Japanese schools gather up the kids in one whole grade (form, or year, depending on where you live) and herd them off to a school outing. This is called 遠足 (ensoku), which combines the kanji character for ‘long distance’ with the one for ‘feet’.

In the 6th through 9th grades I went to school in Hachioji, a large suburban town near Tokyo, which has one big natural attraction, a small mountain called Takao-zan. Most of our ensoku were hiking trips to Takao-zan. I have to admit that I hated hiking back then (am still not overly fond of huffing and puffing up a mountain, let alone trying to get down) so those outings were not my idea of a great time. One thing that redeemed it though were the bento that my mother would make for me. It didn’t matter what else was in my bento, as long as it had big, plump onigiri, and sho-yu tamago, soy-sauce eggs (recipe here):


I was very particular about what I wanted in my ensoku onigiri: One had to have umeboshi, or umekaka (umeboshi mixed with bonito flakes). For the other, I wanted grilled salted salmon (shake). If there was a third, I wanted grilled tarako. And I also loved sho-yu tamago, which were simply hard boiled eggs rolled about in a bit of soy sauce until they turn a burnished brown. Sometimes my mother was too busy and just packed unpeeled hardboiled eggs with a twist of salt, but I much preferred the sho-yu tamago. The onigiri and eggs were wrapped in aluminum foil, so I didn’t have to carry home an empty bento box in my ryukku sakku (from ‘ruck sack’, or in other words a backpack).

The school also allowed the kids to bring along snacks, or oyatsu, to the outing, but the instruction sheet sent home for anxious parents to peruse as to what gear and supplies the children should bring along specified a strict snack budget. If I remember correctly, in 6th grade it was 200 yen. The day before a school outing, the local grocery store would be packed to the rafters with kids roaming about the snack and candy shelves. We agonized over our choices: Should we get a box of Pocky or a bar of Ghana chocolate and a bag of Kalbee potato chips, or spread out our spending more and go for the sold-by-weight candies? Such difficult choices.

Anyway…on to today’s giveaway!

Just Bento Giveaway Item 3: Two traditonal-style bento books

Please check the giveaway rules in the first post. Do try to remember to keep it to one comment per item/entry, thanks! Remember: You need to give me your email address (in the email entry area) where I can contact you if you win, your name (or nickname), and your location (country).


Today’s giveaway is for fans of traditional Japanese bentos. I gave a mixed review to Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals On The Go, but it is still a solid introduction to traditional-style Japanese bento lunches in English.

I’ve paired it with a book I haven’t had a chance to talk about yet, but is from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Masayo Waki. It’s called 毎日 ムリなく 手早く おべんとう (mainichi murinaku tebayaku obento: Everyday, Low Effort, Speedy Obento). I’ve chosen this one because, while it is in Japanese, it has really clear illustrative photos that show you how to combine ingredients for a balanced bento. The combinations and styling of the bentos in here are traditional yet very current and beautiful, without being cute. Both books do rely a lot on typical Japanese ingredients, so you’ll get the most out of them if you have access to these.

DEADLINE: Your comment/entry must be posted before Midnight Greenwich Mean Time on Saturday, December 6th.

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! The winner will be announced next week. Check out the front page for the remaining open giveaways you can still enter!

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This site is fantastic (^_^)

Congrats on your blogaversary! This site has helped me save piles of money while still eating healthily!

sho-yu tamago

About the sho-yu tamago - should these be rolled in soy sauce when warm or cold? Does it matter?

I really enjoy this blog,

I really enjoy this blog, but I enjoy it even MORE when there are vegan items!!! It’s so fun to pack bentos.. especially while I’m living in Nagasaki. I love Japanese food and I love when it’s made vegan! Yay! Keep up the awesome work. :)

Asha from Wisconsin, USA

Cool! Thanks for giving

Cool! Thanks for giving away all the goodies.

San Antonio, TX

Congrats on the

Congrats on the anniversary!! I have been following all the way from Canada

Giveaway Day 3: School outing bento memories

The pictures make me drool. Thanks for your gifts!

Sofie, Germany

I’m loving this week of

I’m loving this week of anniversary posts! Ann in Canada

Bento memories

Bento at it’s best

Romana, Germany


Those pictures look amazing! Yum! Makes me look at my sad bento (that is just pretty plain, didn’t have a lot of time last night to make it)…and want to make more food!

Lauren, United States of America


thanks for all the awesome giveaways! I’ve never had the sho-yu tamago, but now I have to give them a try!

morbo (usa)



Murinaku bento… sounds

Murinaku bento… sounds great.

Sayuri, Canada


Oh, I have the second book- but it’s one of my favorites!! Then again, there are so few english books on bento avaialbe… although there are a couple more out now. Still, I’d love the Japanese one, and I’d happily pass along the one I already have to a deserving friend! (I’ve hooked a number of my friends on bentos!)

-Kayla (UK)

I’m definitely going to

I’m definitely going to give the shoyu tamago a try. It looks delicious.

Deirdre - USA


I’m definitely going to have to try making those soy sauce eggs. The books are great too!

Sophie Honolulu, HI USA

happy anniversary!

yay for contests! Sarah, USA

Neat books!

I’m a book-aholic; these two look like worthy additions to my library. Keep up the good work on stories and recipes for all your fans. Sylvia Nevada, USA

On hiking outings I always

On hiking outings I always demanded ants on logs (celery filled with peanut butter and raisins) and tofu cheesecake (I do not know if that is even a food that exists outside of a certain type of 1970s American cookbook…)

purpleshoes, USA

nice memories

the eggs and the onigiri DO look yummy! please tell us more about the eggs! silvia from france

Happy Anniversary!

I must admit I would probably go hiking if someone made me a lunch that was that tasty! Shake onigiri is heavenly.

Congrats on the anniversary on both of your fantastic sites! I love both, and so appreciate all of your hard work.

And what a fantastic giveaway! Count me in! :D

Mokona, USA

United States

Sounds like a great lunch for hiking!

Thanks for sharing the memories!

As always, from United States, Illinois, Evanston.

Happy Anniversary!!

Thanks for the stories, info, and stories!!!


United States, Montana

Thanks for the Giveaways

These giveaways are really fun. And I really enjoy hearing about your childhood.


i really want the one in Japanese. my sister in law would love it. thanks for the chance to win. Damaris, USA

MMM sho-yu tamago

I have fond memories of hiking with my elementary school back in Germany, which we called Volksmarsch. My lunch then usually consisted of hard biscuits with Liverwurst (which I really enjoyed back then) and some fruit, thrown into a Ziploc bag. ^_^ Now I wish I could have had some sho-yu tamago too. It’s something I enjoy now.

Debbie from North Carolina USA

Happy Aniversary!!

I really like all the stories about your childhood! It reminds me of the time I spent in Japan~ It’s also so exciting to see all of the giveaway items everyday! Good luck everyone!

-Caito from USA

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary! I hope to keep reading your blog for many years to come.

These books are awesome looking and could provide a variety of new ideas (in addition to those posted on your blogs) for filling my ever growing supply of bentos.

Country: U.S.

I’m thinking about trying

I’m thinking about trying out the sho-yu tamago, rolling hard-boiled eggs in soy sauce sounds easy enough, and interesting :) The bento cookbooks are really tempting too, though.

Katharina, Austria

Yum, big plump onigiri! I

Yum, big plump onigiri! I love them too, just holding a fat one in both hands is comforting to me. Happy comfort food.

Jan from UK

Another great giveaway. I

Another great giveaway. I am giddy with hope.

Las Vegas, NV

I remember getting the

I remember getting the “Bento Boxes” book on the right from my library (they had to hunt it down)!

Location: PA, USA.


the give aways are fun and the bentos sounds so yummy. Lisa, USA

Those books look very cool.

Those books look very cool. Happy anniversary! :-)

Ivy, United Kingdom

The multiple, bento-friendly

The multiple, bento-friendly uses of hard-boiled eggs really makes me wish I liked eggs more!

Holly New York (USA)

Soy Sauce Eggs <3

OOO my mommy makes them so yummy!! I love tea eggs as well!!! MMM I love simple bento lunches like that… EEE the bento books look so awesome!!!

Miss Tiffie MA, USA

It sounds like good

It sounds like good mountain-climbing food!

Lesley, Ireland

Great looking books

Those books looks great! It’d be fun to try some new recipes for bento boxes.

—Lisa, USA

slowly spreading the bento word around here

And these two would be great!

Eilish in NYS, USA

My recollection of my school

My recollection of my school lunches is somewhat vague, but I didn’t like most of what my mother packed for me. In fact, I have no desire to revisit them. But your stories and recreations of your own school lunches, are so entertaining.

Chely from Puerto Rico.

Happy blogaversary!

From yet another loyal reader and hopeful commentator, Anna, Sweden

Always Looking for Bento Ideas

The books would be a great help. Your site certainly is. Thanks!

Name: Sharon Location: United States

Wow! Those look great.

I live very near the Japan Centre in the UK, so I am fairly well stocked for japanese ingredients… although they’re fairly pricey (£2.80 for shiso leaves!!).

Name: Ally Country: United Kingdom (London).

Happy Anniversary

Thanks for all of the great tips and giveaways this week!

Nikki Maryland, USA

yum yum

egg and onigiri two of my favorite, I never tried it with shoyu but now I have to ^^ keldeska(france)

Happy Anniversary

Thanks for all of the great tips and giveaways this week!

Nikki Maryland, USA

A book in English would be

A book in English would be great! Someone (ahem) should look into publishing a good one.

Minneapolis, MN, USA

Congrats on the

Congrats on the anniversary!

-Karmatir from Iowa, USA

Happy Anniversary! and giveaway ;)

Thanks for all, and for the giveaways! :) And I like the advise, somewhere upper, to think about writing an english bento book. We’ll love it! :)

Feldin Hungary

Great books!

The pictures in the books make it look so easy! Thank you for sharing with everyone!

Valerie from Sweden/USA