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

As Japanese kids get older, they go on longer, stay-over school trips. These are called 修学旅行 (shuugaku ryokou, meaning a ‘learning trip’), or if are going to be One With Nature, either 臨海学校 (rinkai gakkou, ‘school by the sea’) or 林間学校 (rinkan gakkou, ‘school in the woods’). In my second year of middle school when I was 14 or so, our whole class went off to a school-in-the-woods version for a 2 night, 3 day trip. This was my first time away from home without my parents, so I was quite excited.

One of the things we were supposed to do was to cook our first meal, out there in the woods, on our own on a campfire! Unfortunately no one in our designated group of six (3 girls, 3 boys), knew a thing about camping, let alone cooking on a campfire using a 飯ごう (hangou), an aluminum cooking pot. The rice we attempted to cook was a disaster, the approximate consistency of wallpaper glue with hard little grains of uncooked rice. And our teachers were almost as clueless as we were.

Fortunately, my skeptical mother had packed some big onigiri for me, together with a Tupperware container full of mixed sautéed vegetables and chicken. We divided up the onigiri to quiet our initial hunger, and mixed the veggies and chicken into the rice gruel, which made it just about edible. I can still taste the welcome salty-sweetness of the veggies and chicken with the gut-burning hot gruel.

After we packed up our gear, our teachers told us to hike back through the woods to the inn we were all staying in. As we trudged on, it started to rain. Soon, it was pouring down in buckets. It was so bad that we could barely see where we were going, let alone our teachers, who were shouting at us to keep going from somewhere up ahead. I eventually got separated from my group and my only companion was one of the boys.

I don’t even remember his name or his face anymore, but I will never forget how calm and encouraging he was. For a 14 year old boy, this was quite remarkable in retrospect. He kept urging me on as I faltered, and waited for me patiently when I had to stop for a rest. Eventually the rain eased up, and we could walk on, dripping wet, but cheered up enough to chat as we went. At one point he stopped calling me by my last name as was the norm, and called me Maki-chan, and my heart skipped a beat.

You might ask what’s the big deal about that? Well, in Japan teenage boys and girls don’t call each other by their first names. They use the last names. For that boy to call me by my first name, and with the -chan suffix at that, was basically saying that he really liked me, as a girl! And, this was my very first ‘confession’, ever!

If this were a teenage romance novel or manga, I’d have turned to him with big shiny eyes and indicated that I felt the same way, or something. But it didn’t happen that way. I had never thought of that boy in that way at all - he was just a classmate. I was just too shocked, and we walked the rest of the way back in an awkward silence. I think I may have hurt his feelings. As soon as we reached the inn I practically ran to the room I shared with some other girls, and didn’t even look at him for the rest of the trip. (Later on, during the next school term, he tried to say something to me again but I gave him the cold shoulder once more, because I still didn’t know how to react! Besides, I sort of liked another boy…)

But enough of my awkward teenaged self. On to today’s giveaway!

Just Bento Giveaway Item 4: THERMOS Miffy Orange Thermal Bento With Insulated Bag

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).


This adorable bento box set consists of a thermal rice container, which has a capacity of 250ml, and two non-insulated side dish containers, each with 190ml capacity. It comes in an insulated orange canvas zipper case, printed with Miffy the Bunny. The containers are also printed with Miffys. A couple more pictures:


The containers are fairly small, so this set is suitable for children or people with small appetites, or if you’re watching your weight. You put hot rice into the thermal container and heat it up in the microwave for a couple of minutes, then close the lid. Your rice will be piping hot at lunchtime. You could also use the container for things like chili or stew (but be sure to carry it upright. The bag should catch any small leaks.) I’ll include an English instruction sheet. Chopsticks are not included.

[Edit:] Many people wanted to know where to get this bento, if they didn’t win it in this giveaway! I have seen it listed occasionally on eBay - try searching for ‘thermos miffy bento’. You could also consider using a buying agent, and ordering it from a place like Amazon Japan for example. See also: Where to buy bento items

This bento set is not that easily available outside of Japan. Perfect for fans of cute bunnies!

DEADLINE: Your comment/entry must be posted before Midnight Greenwich Mean Time on Sunday, December 7th.

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

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Cutest Lunch Box Ever!

Happy anniversary! This lunchbox giveaway has the cutest lunchbox ever - I would so love to pack soups and such in there.

Country - U.S.

Great story!

So kawaii… I would have melted away is someone would have called me by Maki-chan…. everyone calls me and knows me by my first name and in the country were I was raised, Maki sounded a weird name for a girl (not as cute as Hitomi or any-japanese-kawaii-girl-name ) . People wouldn´t even know that Maki is a japanese name.. oh well..

Don´t you feel a bit unconfortable to share such personal moments online? I mean… how to keep this online “life” separated from the real one?

Ow, and Miffy is as cute as your story.. my children would love to have this little dutch friend at home ;).

karaimame, Finland

The prizes keep getting

The prizes keep getting better and better! Miffy is so cute!

Ah that poor boy. You broke his little heart!

Chely, Puerto Rico

I think my wife would like

I think my wife would like this.



This is such a sweet story, and the box is also adorable! crosses fingers

jokergirl, Sweden


Ooh, Miffy!

How cute are these! Perfect for my college-bound niece—or for me!

Ohhhh! This is so cute.

Ohhhh! This is so cute.

That is a super cute story.

I liked the part on your way back with the guy who liked you. :-)

Miffy items are awfully cute.

Denver, Colorado, USA

Oh! My girlfriend loves

Oh! My girlfriend loves Miffy, this would be perfect for packing her bento!

Name: Scott Location: USA

What a cute story~ Ontario,

What a cute story~

Ontario, Canada

Awwww that is so sweet

Wow how cute AND practical is that little set.

jb_piggy, Portsmouth, England.

So cute!

Great story, and cute bento box. :)

~Lesley, United States

Wow! A hot lunch at a cold

Wow! A hot lunch at a cold soccer game. That would be great! Jane in Japan

My family loves rabbits!

We currently have two rabbits named Chloe and Caramel. You can see pics of them on my blog. That rabbit bento set is awesome!

Aww, cute story! And I’d

Aww, cute story! And I’d love to win the bento set!

kuzatab from San Francisco


I’ve only ever had one girl ever confess to me in my life and while going out with her for a while, she ended it because I wasn’t what she wanted… so figure LOL but for me I was lucky, or should I say unlucky to have never had any experiences in school like that since I went to an all boys school, which I think made it very difficult for me at university to confess to a girl I liked, which she ignored my confession too until I pressed her about it and she passed off the “friends” reasons.

Don, Sydney, Australia =)

oh i love miffy!

and this is just too cute a bento set!!

Jayna (London)

Re: My family loves rabbits!

I forgot to add on where I’m from!

Susan from Hawaii, USA


I love it

-Sara, Ontario Canada

Ooh! How cute!! -Karmatir

Ooh! How cute!!

-Karmatir from Iowa, USA

So cute!

Hi Maki, I love your website—you’ve taught me more about Japanese cooking that I ever learned from my Nikkei family! I love this lunch set, I hope I can win :) Happy Anniversary! Emiko (USA)

If I won this, I would keep

If I won this, I would keep it to myself and pack a 3rd Bento everyday, for myself! Up til now, I only do school/toddler bentos, but a cute set like that, I’d start packing my own!!!! Mortimer’s Mom, Montreal, Canada

Miffy?! Oh My!

You know, I actually thought that Miffy was a Japanese character, but then I discovered the lovely art of Dick Bruna and realized she wasn’t from Japan at all. One of the things I like best about Miffy is that it doesn’t really seem to matter where she came from… she’s loved by lots of people from everywhere, hahaha!

Eeep, I meant to sign it:

Eeep, I meant to sign it: Stella, USA! Sorry!!!!!

oh maki, your stories are so

oh maki, your stories are so cute! awwwww, the awkwardness of firsts. thanks for sharing, as always =]

California, U.S.

Such an adorable story

And such an adorable bento set!

Sophie Honolulu, HI USA

Teenage romance

I remember that awkward feeling… with boys starting to show interest in oneself. And then not knowing how to react and just letting the moment pass by…

K, Austria

That bento set is very…

That bento set is very… orange. And bunnyriffic.

Name: Amanda Location: Florida, USA

Aww that set is

Aww that set is adorable!

Ami, USA (NY)


Miffy is awesome. Thanks! :)

Foo, Canada

In Love...

Maki-san, I love the bento box set and would love to have it! Thanks for the give away…

Andrea in Germany

OMG, this set is the cutest

OMG, this set is the cutest thing ever!

Géraldine, France


OH, Miffy is adorable! Happy anniversary! (and Happy birthday to me! ;-)

cordeliasbs USA


戸手もかわいい〜〜〜〜〜〜!That s totally cute!


This would be great to bring to work…and I’d even brave the chuckles from my non-bento, cafeteria-food-eating coworkers!

  • Alex, USA


What a great birthday gift for my little niece

Sofie, Germany

Miffy Giveaway

Jake, USA


What a nice set! I was unable to access parts of your site earlier - just traffic?

Al, California U.S.

Miffy and orange..

woh, what a story for the memory.. ! Thanks for sharing with us, makes me smile and remember my own awkward moments growing up..

Miffy and orange color some more, Jennifer, my 4-yr old’s fav. Would love to have it for her and if I don’t, please, please tell me where I can find it..

Janice, Shanghai, China

Miffy and other cute bunnies

reminder of my childhood

Romana, Germany

oooh! this would be really

oooh! this would be really really handy. i started bringing my own food to work recently, inspired mostly by this site! ;)

doing it your way but still far from making them pretty. most importantly it has all the nutrients i need daily and is saving me lots of money!!! i really make it a point to make it quick and healthy and the self-satisfaction… knowing that i can achieve a certain degree of culinary skills is really really gratifying!

oooh! this would be really

oooh! this would be really really handy. i started bringing my own food to work recently, inspired mostly by this site! ;)

doing it your way but still far from making them pretty. most importantly it has all the nutrients i need daily and is saving me lots of money!!! i really make it a point to make it quick and healthy and the self-satisfaction… knowing that i can achieve a certain degree of culinary skills is really really gratifying!


Ooh, I think I need this one!

I bring my lunch (and often dinner) to work every day. This would be fantastic to have.

I loved your story, too. I just read Toto-chan by Tetsuko Koruyanagi, and your camping fun reminded me of the book as well as my husband’s own stories of growing up in Japan.

Thanks! Megan Canada

Ooh. Thermal.

That’s pretty adorable. And potentially useful. (Who am I kidding? It would go out every day!)

As an American, I’m always blown away by the breadth of some of these school trips in Japan. A few weeks ago, a high school girl who I ran into at a station in the farmlands decided that we were officially Best Friends, and sat down next to me during the brief train ride back to the city. Among the many topics that couldn’t resist conversation (such as her boyfriend and how he was taller than her) was her recent class trip to Singapore; Singapore!! The farthest my class ever got to travel was a two hour plane ride to Disney Land. Which, come to think of it, was about the same on a scale of time and distance, but just couldn’t be more mundane compared to leaving the country. (Plus, I didn’t go. A week stuffed into a bus to tear through somewhere I’d already been three times versus a week in an empty classroom reading manga? Well, at the time, the choice was easy.)

Amanda Nagoya, Japan

Luckily, your mom packed you

Luckily, your mom packed you some origiri. :) I would love to win that bento set for my kids.

Shoppingmum, Bangkok

Oh man, the bunnies are

Oh man, the bunnies are adorable! Here’s hoping.. ;-)

Randi - Billings, MT

this is such a nice

this is such a nice giveaway.

los angeles, ca

miffy obento?!? cho kawaii

miffy obento?!? cho kawaii desu yo!!!

los angeles, ca, usa


These are so cute!


Oooohhh, Miffy, and orange,

Oooohhh, Miffy, and orange, and just about the size I usually pack for lunch.

Cmtigger, from California