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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Mouth watering

What a delicious bento for the ensoku! Back in my school days here, bento is not popular. When we had the outing, most of the time the teacher will arrange for the lunch for the students. How good if I got a packed lunch from mommy back in school days. :p

Cheeyee from Malaysia

Just Hungry

Im a Just Hungry reader but pop in now and then to see your wonderful Bento boxes! Winnipeg, Canada

Yea!!! Books!!

Love books - Niki/ Lansing, MI - USA


I would love to have these

I would love to have these bento books.

Allison Japan!

Day 3

Thanks for all of your hard work, Maki. I’m lovin’ your memories.

Kim in Ogaki, Gifu, Japan

On our ensoku we cooked

On our ensoku we cooked lunch in groups (someone drove the ingredients and stuff out to us). We only had to bring our rice and drinks.

A-Wo Japan

Thanks for the Year of Bentos

And thanks for all the everyday recipes, too. I’m enjoying being able to eat Japanese without breaking my budget, though I still visit my local Japanese restaurant every few weeks for sushi. Mmm, sushi…

May I be in the pool for these bento books? Thank you!

Jane De Forest, Wisconsin, USA (near Madison, Wisconsin, Home of the University of Wisconsin—Go Badgers!)

Just love this site!

Hi! I recently started to follow your blogs (both Just Bento and Just Hungry) and I find them really amazing! I love bento, and I have started packing my own to bring it with me at university (I have to commute every day, and I was tired of sandwiches, since here in Italy there is no such thing as bento boxes!). It is not easy to find all the original japanese ingredients where I live, but I was lucky enough to find a rice cooker (if you go in shops here and ask for it, people stare at you like they have just seen an alien!!!), and now it is my new best friend! ^^ You definetely gained another passionate follower!

Ornella, Italy


Hooray on your anniversary! Your articles have really inspired me to pack my lunch regularly, and importantly, eat better lunches. As a vegetarian (who eats dairy and eggs) I really appreciate the good variety of recipes that work for the way I eat.


Forgot to add where I’m from! I’m Denise from Chicago, IL, USA.

Contest entry ^_^ These

Contest entry ^_^ These give-aways are awesome! Thanks so much for doing them.

Tannim, USA

glad to have found this site

Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

Vienna, VA - USA

These books look great!

These books look great! Thanks for the great blogs.

AH shoyu Tamago!I looove

AH shoyu Tamago!I looove those! <3 although the first time i had one i was alittle confused as to why my egg was brown lol..but it tasted so yummy XD Jessi Minnesota USA

Gotta try!

My boys love eggs, so this will be a great addition to their bentos. Thank you!

From Singapore

Happy Anniversary!

The pictures of onigiri always make my mouth water. It’s never that pretty when I make it, teehee!

Annie GA, USA

shoyu tamago!

Now I have a desperate craving for soy sauce…

Erin, from USA


I’m hooked! I can barely wait each day for the arrival of each new recollection. I thank you every day for sharing so much. Elaine, USA

Amanda, Ontario Canada Oh

Amanda, Ontario Canada

Oh those eggs look good! I’ll have to try that!

Cool looking books!

Those books both look really interesting!

Name: Alison Country: USA

I am also excited to see that you also posted the recipe for Sho-yu Tamago! I am going to try making those for lunch today since I am at home.

Ooh, what lovely books.

Lovely books! Traditional-style bento always looks so exquisite and delicious. Please count me in.

April, the United States.

Congrats Just Hungry/Just Bento!

Happy anniversary! I think my favorite onigiri is still the kind filled with umeboshi however, I still like fukujinzuke-filled as a close second :). Shoyu-tamago has to be one of the best things on the planet. I am guilty of eating them just as snacks sometimes!

Jenn, Scottsdale, AZ, USA


Yay! Bento books! Your site has helped me permanently avoid university cafeteria food. Happy anniversary!


I would LOVE the bento books

rj USA love your site thanks RJ

looking forward to reading the books

The books look pretty interesting. My mom makes in a similar manner, although she cooks the eggs in chinese soya sauce for much longer.

Nick, Richmond Hill, Canada.

speedy bentos!

speedy bentos!


Great sites, thanks for all the info. Sara, United States


Looks delicious! Thanks for adding the recipe.

Stephanie, WI, USA

yay bento!

I can’t wait to make those eggs, they look tasty! And so simple and quick. Thanks for all the fabulous bento recipes. From Anna in Wellignton, New Zealand.


I have to enter this one. Haven’t added any bento cookbooks to my christmas wishlists.

Marita, USA


I wish I knew all about bento making when I was in high school, it wouldve made my tummy a whole lot happier! (^_^)

-Red from Burbank, California, USA

soy sauce eggs

I am always looking to you for bento lunch ideas! I have a daughter who enjoys them every time I make her one for her work. The kids get excited to see what she has for her meal! It’s a fun surprise for her as well as a surprise for the work mates! Love it! Ilona, Murrieta. California

Happy Anniversary!

Your site has been soooo helpful to me! Thank you! ^_^

-Tara from California, USA

Awesome after all these

Awesome after all these years.

Happy Anniversary!

I’ve followed Just Bento for the past year and Just Hungry for the past 2 and a half! Your site is a great resource!

-Lisa Maryland, USA

Happy Anniversary!

I have really enjoyed using and reading your site. I’ll bet you can guess what our favorite recipe is! If you thought “Carrot Kinpira” you’d be correct. What’s odd is our area has small Japanese markets, but no bento supplies. Honest. Bento boxes, no. Chopsticks and Pocky, yes.

ldpaulson — CA, USA

Damn I'm Hungry!

Those soy sauce eggs look so yummy. I’m going to HAVE to try the recipe.

I’m going to attempt my first bento this week. An alternative to “Christmas Dinner” :-)

Damn I'm Hungry!

Those soy sauce eggs look so yummy. I’m going to HAVE to try the recipe.

I’m going to attempt my first bento this week. An alternative to “Christmas Dinner” :-)

From: ANCHORAGE, AK, my best wishes.

bento mon amour

Hope I win! :)

Mils - USA

oh boy, oh boy!

I have been lurking here for quite a while now but my greed finally won out and forced me to post!! ;-) I love your blogs and would be so excited if I won this giveaway! Danke schon for all of your hard work! ErikaAoi USA

If you haven't already selected the winner,

I would like to enter, please.

Yes please I want it. New

Yes please I want it. New Zealand


shoyu tamago, so tasty!! Thanks for the giveaways, these books look awesome! :)

-Zora, United States


Those eggs look really good— I remember when I was a kid on school trips I was always really jealous because my mother would insist on packing me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which of course was always a little ick by the time I got to eat it, and an apple, when everyone else got to buy food from somewhere nearby! But now all I want are packed lunches from home… Go figure.

Zoey Olympia, WA USA

I kind of like that your

I kind of like that your school set a limit for snacks. Although, when you go on school trips, you can share those snacks with your friends, and that makes it so much more fun!

Christine from Brussels, Belgium


Thank you very much for your giveaways!

Elaine, Australia

Such fun

The giveaways are so exciting and fun. Thanks for doing this!

Erika Michigan, USA

Location: USA

Putting my bid in for another book giveaway. I’m definitely a visual person, and get a lot of inspiration from illustrations!

Gorgeous eggs!

Those are so going in my boyfriend’s bento soon. -liz, US

Sounds delicious. I’m

Sounds delicious. I’m always looking for new ideas.

Katy in New Zealand