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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got me cooking again

Thanks to you, I now have seaweed, and 2 furiaki shakers. Now I’m going to make some rice, and put a few eggs in there too, and have a Maki lunch 8^)

Texas, US

shoyu-tamago, and of course entering the raffle :)

First of all, the shoyu tamago: does the shoyu somehow get inside the egg? or can you just taste it as you peel the egg…?

And, I’d like to enter the raffle! Particularly the “毎日・ムリなく・手早く おべんとう” looks great & informative for someone like me who has little time (who among us really has time these days anway… :)

Thanks again!

Rosevan Oregon, USA

Umeboshi onigiri are the

Umeboshi onigiri are the best.

Both books seem to eb really interesting.

Martha, Germany

hurray for traditional style

hurray for traditional style bentooooos ^___^

and also, but a bigger hurray, for eggs! (i really do love eggs ^^ )

Ana, Portugal

Name: Scott Location: USA

Name: Scott Location: USA


Love following your post, especially when you were in Hawaii!

Aloha Honolulu, Hawaii!

Maybe I'll learn Japanese...

Thank you again for these fabulous giveaways!

:) Nicole, USA

Your pictures are always

Your pictures are always wonderful. The food looks deliciously artistic, even nestled in commonplace aluminum.

Name: Amanda Location: Florida, USA

Wow, those covers look

Wow, those covers look tasty. Cheers.

Foo (BC, Canada)

i love bentos!!! los

i love bentos!!!

los angeles, ca, usa.

obentos!!! los angeles, usa


los angeles, usa


Thanks for doing these giveaways! I love your blog.


:D -Andrea Location:


-Andrea Location: Gainesville, FL, USA

Happy Anniversary!

The shoyo tamago look delicious!

Name: Tyra Country: United States

Wow that looks good!

sjt in tx I am not sure how well I could make the shoyu tamago, but I would be willing to give it a try. So far, some of my attempts are not so good. For example, my tamagoyaki was laughable, evidently, because after I sent pictures of my results to my nephew’s wife (who is Japanese and makes my nephew the most beautiful bento lunches) sent me a tamagoyaki pan in the mail. I keep trying : )

Another one!

What a generous girl you are — all these spiffy giveaways!

Oh yummy!

Dear Maki, You are such a star… I finally found some bento-suitable plastic boxes in our local food and kitchen heaven for me and my husband, so either we’ll get lucky, or we’ll order something like these online to get started into our bento adventure after the summer/christmas holidays (we in the southern hemisphere combine them). Rebecca Erlewein, Wellington New Zealand. PS: Loving the Takenoko rice!

looks fun

nothing beats a not-overcooked hard-boiled egg

Congratulations on your anniversary!

I love reading all these yummy bento memories!


Love the recipes. Especially loved the pics from Hawaii! Other place for bento supplies in Hawaii is Don Quijote.

Aloha from Honolulu, Hawaii!

Happy Anniversary

I’m getting Hungry!

Illinois, USA

What a Celebration!

The giveaways this week are really great. Again, Congratulations.

Dalyn - Maryland, USA

Very nice giveaway,

Very nice giveaway, congratulation on 1st anniversary!

Eating onigiri in the great outdoors...

…is perhaps one of the the best meals ever. My must-have “flavour” for picnics was yukari. Drat, now I’m getting hungry again!

Congratulations on the anniversary! And what a great way to celebrate!

Miyuki, Canada


I love you bento blog. I just start making bento. It would be greate if I could have the books. Thanks. I am Mindy from Maryland USA

Happy Anniversary! Thanks

Happy Anniversary!

Thanks for the great giveaways.

Beachcomber USA

Bentos inspire a lot of

Bentos inspire a lot of memories. There was quite a bit of Pocky-mania. :)

Resa, US


hey maki :D it’s chubby-chan from australia. again :P

my mum used to make these soy sauce eggs every so often…but she called them tea leaf eggs. they didn’t taste like tea, though. hm.. but they had a nice pattern on the surface, because she cracked the shells all over first, then used soy sauce. YUMMY :D

and…i’d spend my money on pocky or the sold-by-weight lollies :P so good….

today’s giveaway books are really different from the cute kyara ben one. they look so authentic and japanese..can i try out for this giveaway too? i love cookbooks!! :D


Those eggs look SO good! - Alison in the USA

i wish i had food in my fridge

but i guess that’s mostly my fault haha.

bento cookbooks are amazing.

new york, usa

Congradulations on your anniversary

And thanks for having the giveaways!

TJ in California, USA

Onigiri are best

The Onigiri look so good! The school outings I remember most were to the zoo. I don’t think I got anything special, except maybe sweets.

Ina (from Germany)

Thanks for the recipe!

My boyfriend is a HUGE fan of tea eggs, so I can’t wait to make these for him… using a star-shaped onigiri mold, of course :)

Happy anniversary! Btw,

Happy anniversary!

Btw, what is a “twist of salt”?

Is that just a little disposable pack of salt?

Missouri, USA.

soy sauce eggs

I’ve never seen eggs rolled in soy sauce before. It sounds interesting. I’ll have to try it. I love onigiri!

I am a fan!

Have been checking out your bentos every week. You are an inspiration!

From Singapore

Personally I enjoyed school

Personally I enjoyed school outings as a kid, but we didn’t go mountain climbing and such. We went on school camping trips. That was all great cos instead of bringing a packed lunch, we cooked there. I do feel a little envious that you got to bring a bento packed with love :) And of course I’d also love to get my dirty little hands on those bento books! LoL It’ll be a good chance to brush up on my Japanese!

Annabel - Bern, Switzerland


What lovely books for more bento inspiration.
Scotland UK

Happy Anniversary!

thanks for this great website. learning so much here. trying to get more ideas so that will have lots of variety by the time my kids go to school! keep it up.. :)

Glory from Australia

Thank you

Great books to make my boyfriend love my “japanese style” kitchen. Very nice site I’ve recently discovered.

Great memories!!

Happy Birthday Just bento!!

Lafayette, IN, USA

how lovely

The united states loves just bento!

Soy souce eggs.

I don’t eat eggs (vegetarian), but I know my mom would love to try the recipe! Thanks!

Stephanie, United States

Great Books

These look like great books full of wonderful ideas, as always, thanks for the suggestions!

Minnesota, US.

Great Books

These look like great books full of wonderful ideas, as always, thanks for the suggestions!

Minnesota, US.


Congrats on 5 years. I really enjoy your site.

happy anniversary :)

I’d love this! I’m from Mountain View, CA.

These giveaways

are entertaining, along with the posts.

Steven, USA

I think I would have hated

I think I would have hated school lunches less if your mom packed them for me. :P

Caitlin from Canada.


I think I’ll try to make the shoyu eggs today. The books look wonderful; I would really love those. Thanks for offering them!

Location: Tokyo, Japan