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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Oh! My Kids would love those

Oh! My Kids would love those soy sauce eggs. In fact, even my Husband and I would love it paired with Onigiri as you’ve shown in the picture. Will try that for the next Bento.

SanMelMama of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

Great strory! Katy (Canada)

Great strory!

Katy (Canada)


I’ve been eyeing that english bento book for awhile on Amazon but I was rather hesitant due to all the lackluster reviews about it. But now that you’ve given it a thumbs up, I might reconsider on it. Thnx maki!

Jas Min, Malaysia

Oh, I love onigiri. I’m

Oh, I love onigiri. I’m drooling at a picture of white rice and eggs. Me! I’m in Hawaii.


Congratulations on one year of Just Bento! I have learned a lot about bento from your blog. Thank you!

I’ve always wanted to make

I’ve always wanted to make my own bentos, and then I found this site!

-Katy, USA

Miami, FL (USA)

I’ve seen this Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals On the Go Book on amazon, the pictures look amazing. Good ideas/inspiration too!

fantastic bento recipe book

hi there

I have the 2nd recipe book …..

Location : HK

fantastic bento recipe book

hi there

I have the 2nd recipe book …..

Location : HK

bentos, bentos, & some more!

i’ve been wanting to get my hands on some bento books :) love the site!

Steph, United States

Bentos Rule!


Los Angeles, CA

Yay for giveaways and happy

Yay for giveaways and happy anniversary! Ally from Canada

I always take bentos with me

I always take bentos with me on the airplane!

Nyein Colorado, USA

Bento Challenges

Like many moms who pack bento, I get worn out sometimes—remembering who likes what, which things I’ve already packed this week, figuring out a new cute way to fix the same old ingredients … but there’s no going back once you start with bento (and I secretly love to know that my daughter’s junior high classmates wait every day to see what cool lunch she’s got today!)

Your blog is inspiring, and

Your blog is inspiring, and I love the timing and the calories info. (Australia)

Your blog is inspiring, and

Your blog is inspiring, and I love the timing and the calories info. (Australia)

Everything sounds yummy. I

Everything sounds yummy. I think I might give the eggs a try.

Desiree United States

I really like the flashback

I really like the flashback stories that are going with these this week.

Midknyt South Korea

ooooo the pictures so far

ooooo the pictures so far look very appetizing =] Ayla USA (CA)

These books look great! (And

These books look great! (And good thing the Japanese one has clear pictures) (USA)


I need all the help I can get packing lunches! These would be great!

  • Cheryce: U.S. (Oregon)

beautiful books!

I’ve had a hard time convincing my co-workers that my eggs haven’t gone rotten, but just soy-licious!

cordeliasbs USA

Cheers on anniversary!

Hi! Just discovered this blog recently, but since then I’ve been reading back, and it’s great! Congrats for this year, and I wish You many more! (:

Zeo from Budapest, Hungary

@Feldin: Jó lenne egy magyar is, nem? (;


Big smile in face :D Vanessa (Dominican Republic)

up and then down the mountain....

Oh.. those trips makes me wish I had experienced them too… though i guess as a child in Sri Lanka i also went a couple trips to distant villages/towns :) himara- Sri Lanka

I'd never seen those eggs!

I have to try them!!

As many of your readers say, I NEVER win anything in any kind of lottery but well, I hope to be a little lucky this time.


Claudia Guerrero Mexico City, Mexico

Shoyu tamago?

Never heard of it, but I think I’d love it. I’ll have to try making it :)

I’m in the U.S. Thank you for the giveaway!

Wow! 遠足 ensoku is fun!

My little girl loves to go outing with all her little friends from pre-school too!

Kelly Yeo, Malaysia

Win CA, USA. My mother

Win CA, USA.

My mother still makes those eggs as an occasional snack. :)

shoyu eggs? sound good!

shoyu eggs? sound good! O.o USA

Country - USA

Country - USA

Today, I made some onigiri

Today, I made some onigiri too !! Thanks for all the awesome giveaways! Shunrai (France)

How strange to have a

How strange to have a requested budget set by the school, but that’s just my opinion ^_^

Eve, USA


Another Kewl giftie! I need it! ;) I just love this site! Debbie NY, USA

Good luck to everyone!

Good luck to everyone! :) Claire, USA-

Love to Bento my Hubby's Lunches

I would love to get so adept with Bento’s that I send them to work with my husband and know that he is eating a healthy, balanced lunch. When I first moved to Japan 2 years ago - I was so confused about Bento’s - (I hate to admit this) but I kept wondering how in the world they heated up the food! Now I am at peace with the temperature, tastes and fabulosity of the Bentos.

Thank you for all the great recipes and commentary!

Amy Tokyo, Japan

Mmm, bento books! (Dina,

Mmm, bento books!

(Dina, Australia)

aaah school hikes!

I used to love school day out too, and the “pique-nique” (picnic) definitivly was a climax….. There was no onigiri though, more like butter and ham on baguette sandwiches and small bags of potato chips.

again, I love your stories! mook from france

Giveaway Day 3

Rosemary Mullally Senegal

Fingers crossed!

I am from Sydney, Australia. :)

oh, those books look like

oh, those books look like fun!

Rachel, USA

<3 onigiri

‘Lo Onigiri is actually how I originally found this website! I was wanting to make some, but didn’t have a clue how. So i dutefully went to the internet and typed “onigiri” in to the search engine and out of the many that came up yours was the only one that made sence ^_^ thanks Maki

Amanda from the UK


Fun way of learning how “Ausfluege” are done elsewhere! I am with you on the hiking! Thanks for sharing those memories.

Andrea in Berlin, Germany

bento books!

wow. they looked nice…can i have one?

Name: miaow

country: Singapore

Happy anniversary

and all the best to justbento-team Emilia from Germany

I love eggs but really

I love eggs but really dislike hard-boiled eggs. The only time I’ll eat one is if it’s a tea egg. The shoyu-tamago looks delicious though. I might have to give it a try.

Lis, Singapore

i've been

eyeing those books!!!

Eileen (singapore)

Sweet Onigiri

OMG. Grilled salted salmon onigiri, how good could it possibly taste!? Still I don’t like umeboshi, you had to have been japanese in your prior lifetime to like it, they say…

And that two books you’re giving out. Those would be great for a newbie bento amateur like me ^_^

Bandreus, Italy

Childhood lunchboxes

Being part of a very English family, I never had Bento type lunches. My mum always packed white bread sandwiches, crisps, chocolate, fruit and some carrot sticks if she had the time! They weren’t the most interesting, but I liked them then, and they were made with love. Now I’m discovering the joy of packing a nutritionally complete, very tasty bento, your blog has been so helpful!




Oh, I would go with the same

Oh, I would go with the same choices any day!

Katharina from Germany