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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that is the cutest thing ever!


country: singapore

FOSSETTES (means dimples) From Paris, FRANCE


First confessions huh? I

First confessions huh? I kind of feel sorry for the boy… but I can also relate to your reaction at the time. it IS really quite daunting when something like that happens and you don’t want to outright say no but neither do you feel the same way.

Miffy is adorable… If i win this I may have to keep it to myself, as hubby might not appreciate his colleagues sniggering at his “cute” lunchbox ;)

Annabel - Bern, Switzerland

Miffy Bento

Kawaii na! I love miffy

This is so cute! Fingers

This is so cute! Fingers crossed =)

mub - The Netherlands

Too Cute

Oh my gosh - great giveaway…. Niki - Lansing, MI USA

Thanks Niki

tee such a cute story ^^ I

tee such a cute story ^^ I remember those awkward years - especially hard if you kinda like someone else! Sydney, Australia

Nice story

That was a very nice story! The giveaway today is just so cute - though they all have been lovely! Many thanks!

Ana, Spain

Hot Miffy

I love Miffy and here in England it would be very good to have a hot lunch in the winter. I have only just discovered your blog but I have been reading all the old posts and love it.

And he took so good care of

And he took so good care of you…poor boy :-( Teenage years are only sweet in reminiscence I guess.

Day 4

Miffy rules!

Kim in Ogaki, Gifu, Japan


Wow! That is so cool! And so orange!

Name: Alison Country: USA

Happy Anniversary - Giveaway

I recently discovered your blog and I really like it. I moved to the UK two years ago and after few attempts on greasy packed sandwiches, I really felt the need for healthy lunchboxes. You can imagine the joy when finding all your suggestions and ideas! Happy anniversary!! … and keep up the good work.


OMG that is such a cute story! We have all been there, mine was a boy called mark when i was 6 :-)


I bet you were shocked when he used your first name. :) Those moments you never forget.

The Miffy bento box is very cute!

Claudia Guerrero Mexico City, Mexico


I’ve been wanting to get a thermal bento. That one is just adorable!

Jencat - USA

I`m not sure what is cuter,

I`m not sure what is cuter, your story or the Miffy Bento set. Luckly we never had to cook on camp fire at school… it would have been disastrous ;) - Hanne (currently UK, back in Germany for Christmas)

Thermal bento box -my absolute dream...

Dear Maki Thanks for sharing your bento stories. They remind me of my own childhood cooking and eating experiences. And it contrasts with yours in a funny, nationally influenced way. I grew up in switzerland and, although I grew up in a City, joined the scouts rater early, so I made my own camp fires from when I was 7. But earlier in my childhood my japanese schoolfellows were way ahead of me when it came to lunch issues. At that time I went to kindergarden, an international kindergarden with mostly expat kids, among them many japanese. I used to admire their lovingly packed, sometimes even warm, lunches, while eating my typically swiss homemade sandwich. I must have told my mother about the mystical “rice balls” my classmates had, for one day she asked my godmother, who had lived in japan for a long time, about them. She gave my mum a plastic onigiri mold and some seaweed to wrap around the onigiri. From that day on every now and then, when we had rice leftovers I would proudly go to kindergarden with my “sort of” onigiri. I enjoyed them so much although the rice my mom used was usually jasmine rice and if she went out of seaweed she sometimes took lyoner sausage instead. Many years later I rediscovered bentos and they often make me think back of those kindergarden days. At the beginning I was an absolute purist, of course not considering anything like lyoner sausage in my “japanese lunch”. Meanwhile I have learned many of the classic recipes and, seeing the variety japanese use when preparing their bento boxes, have also become more open to other more creative ingredients. So with almost 30 I am actually still aiming at those lovely lunches my kindergarden classmates used to impress me…

bee from switzerland

Really cute

Both the story and the Miffy box.

Forgot to add...

that I’m from Sweden.


I. Want. It.

(anime eyes)

Nat Germany


I love bunnies, and Miffy is especially cute! I would love to have this to take to work!


An answered wish :)

That bento looks really nice and handy! Our school just implemented a bring-your-own-lunchbox policy so as to reduce cafeteria non-biodegradable waste. I was wishing for a nice lunchbox this Christmas and then I saw this. I was thinking that this would be perfect to bring to school. It’s not that bulky and really cute.

And, of course, happy first anniversary! :)

Wendy, The Philippines

my checkbook register is Miffy!

Thanks for all the fun!

-United States

Good Story!

I always like to hear more about the lives of the bloggers I read.

Kristen, USA

This is adorable

I love the orange color with the bunny!! Sara, United States


Ah, teenage infatuations… Glad that’s over! :)

Stephanie, United States


So happy to see this giveaway as my nickname is miffy! short for Myfanwy which is welsh.

I’m in love with this range and the orange bento box, which i’m saving for! they are amazing! only wish they were sold more in the uk!

Miffy, UK

Adorable XD

I can’t allow myself to buy ANOTHER box, but if I happen to win one that would be okay, right? XD

Adorable XD

I can’t allow myself to buy ANOTHER box, but if I happen to win one that would be okay, right? XD

Maryland, USA

Thank you! Please count me in!

Hi Maki,

I enjoyed reading about your school trip experience and “non romance” story. It would have been great manga material….thanks for sharing - so cute!

Thanks for the generous giveaway. Please definitely count me in for the Miffy set. It looks just so wonderful. Hubby has another kind of thermos (Tiger brand) lunch thingy. Now, if I could win my own….that would be too cool.

Thanks again.

Wakkun - USA


That is so cute! That also explains a lot about one of the animes I used to love - Love Hina - and how he usually addressed the main girl, the one he cared for, as Narusegawa (her last name) and only once or twice it was Naru-chan… thank you for the adorable story!

I lovelovelove thermal jar lunches, and I love bunnies even more… I would adore that lunch set T_T and now I want one even if I don’t win here… you are going to have to auction one off or sell me one privately… PLEASE. :T


YES YES YES…Of course I’d like to win this please!!! :P

Caroline - Australia

Most adorable bento ever!

This is gorgeous, and I’m definitely going to be checking eBay if I don’t win it (it’s even my very favorite color—orange!)

Thanks for the opportunity!

Jenny, USA

bento almost as cute as your story

bonbon, USA

Your story was so sweet. I don’t mean to take sides but I feel sorry for your rainy day hero. Love is fickle.


such a cute bento box!! ^^


so cute!

the story AND the bento. adorable.


Looks adorable!

Minnesota, US


I recently stumbled upon your page a few weeks back and I LOVE it~! Thanks for all the awesome recipes and tips to cooking. Your explanations are so clear and easy to follow! And everything looks so delicious and healthy! Arigatou gozaimasu!



I love miffy. this is super cute. Damaris-USA

Bento Box

I love bento boxes and would like to add this one to my collection.


That’s such a cute bento!

Tannim, USA

hooray miffy

Hooray Miffy! And orange! Alex, Miami, FL, USA

this looks so good and the

this looks so good and the story is really cute

Love the Miffy bento

I love that Miffy bento box! and your recipe for soya eggs :)

Kawaii! <3 Lizzie Canada

Kawaii! <3 Lizzie Canada


That is an adorable thermos set.

How cute!

My daughter loves Miffy (and Hello Kitty). She would find this bento set irresistable.

Thanks for sharing.

Sharon in the United States


I love miffy soooo much!!! It’s sooo kawaii!!!

lafayette, IN, USA

Orange and kitty

I love orange and kitty…