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).

miffybento1.jpg

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:

miffybento2.jpg

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!

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

73 comments

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OOooohhh! Miffy

This one is so cute! USA

Such a cute story and cute

Such a cute story and cute bento container!

Beth, United States

Well, who wouldn’t want

Well, who wouldn’t want that cute bento box set - no wonder there are so many comments. And that poor teenage boy! Isn’t it funny how things like that stay with you, even after many years have passed. From Anna in Wellington, New Zealand

my first bento

I’ve been searching hi and low for my first cutesy bento box (and microwaveable) —- this one looks great! I’m buying it even if i don’t win it…

btw — i loved ur story … wish something like happened to me .. hehe, it’s straight out of a story. Unfortunately, schools in New Jersey don’t go on a lot of overnights .. we had 1 camping trip, but they used some complicated buddy system so no one can stay from the group =p

USA

aww

what a cute story! i wonder how the boy remembers the occasion. :)

Linda, USA

Miffy!

What an adorable bento — and an adorable site! Happy anniversary.

Christine, California, USA

What a story!

So cute to read about this anecdote from your childhood, thanks for sharing! And OMG かわいいミッフィ!

Jen Salenger, New York/USA

great post

I love the story. I’m from Mountain View, CA.

Awww

That, is the cutest story ever, your life is like a manga lol! Aww that poor boy. Bless. You’re going to have to tell us more “romantic moments from your life”, in fact, make that your next blog hahaha.

Jan (UK)

A very warm blog

Dear Maki, I have been wanting to write for a very long time but life got in the way. I mainly want to thank you for this beautiful website. It is strange that I keep coming back everyday for a bit of home, for the warmth and the great laugh’s I get from your website. Also from your replies to the comments. The things you describe and the food bring me back to parts of myself I miss….there is no time for all this at the moment after my work and looking after my sick child…but the few minutes of reading “just bento” or “just hungry” and trying out some of your food ideas keep me going. I am so addicted your site that my husband got a japanese cookbook for his birthday…which he still has to try out…he being european is quite intimidated I think. Your mention of carrying your knife and chopping board saved our holiday this year…our French little chalet did not have a knife…and I think that the family woould have gone hungry or running out to buy a knife if I had not seen your comments and carried one. Thank you Maki for being a sister…a friend though we have never met…I feel like that in my heart. many more anniversaries for the websites nivvi

Miffy

Oh too cute! I’ve recently started appreciating orange more and more. Maybe it’s because I’m constantly wishing for longer autumns? USA here.

this is soo nice

me! me! me! silvia (france)

So cute!

Today’s giveaway is so cute!! Good luck everyone!!

ps. Maki-san, today’s story is so cute!!

-Caito from USA

just bento giveaway

Too cute! I have bunnies so I am totally obsessed with all things bunny decorated. I will have to try to buy if I don’t win!

I forgot to add Seattle, WA,

I forgot to add Seattle, WA, US :)

-kristin

Thanks

Great story.

Nick, Richmond Hill, Canada.

How About a 57-Y-O Love?

From Anchorage AK: Eergh. Fell in love with a 31-y-o when I was 57. Totally inappropriate, but, hey, it happened!

Love is luv, stuff happens. He went away. So’OK.

Orange is ALMOST as cool as purple! What a delightful minibento-box.

I would LIKE to possess this.

wow

this is a great present.And a very nice story. patrizia Italy

ohhh i love

ohhh i love miffy… kathleen, ecuador

I would love this at the construction site

If I worked construction. :) My daughter thinks its adorable.

Steven, USA

So cool!

I like this. It’s cute without being overly childish!

So cool!

I like this. It’s cute without being overly childish!

  • Nicole, USA

what a sweet story

in the romantic version you would forget all about him, and then when you met him again years later he would remember you but you wouldn’t remember him blah blah happy ever after.

zoe, ontario canada

Orange bunnies! Is there a

Orange bunnies! Is there a better combo? Caitlin, from Canada.

Love Miffy!

I loveee this miffy bento box set. I love your blog also :)

CUTE!!!!!!! Amanda, Ontario

CUTE!!!!!!!

Amanda, Ontario Canada

Cute

I haven’t got any bento that I carry warm food in. I like the idea of a thermos.

AJ, Arkansas, USA.

Love (?) in the pouring rain

Poor boy. I hope he’s been able to get over it.

Emily. Rhode Island. USA

Ah, Young Love

Your story about your not-so-secret admirer is too funny and cute! Poor guy. ;P I love this bento box set! Orange is one of my favourite colours! Thanks for the Prizes Week, this week. It was a lot of fun and it was great to read your reminiscing.

Deb in Canada

Oh Miffy!

All teenagers are just awkward, huh? Poor guy, although, it’s also stressful for you too!

I think it would be so spiffy if I could with something with Miffy! I’ve always loved the design, but never acquired anything with Miffy on it, so thank you for the opportunity to try here!

I forgot the rules!

Sorry, the Oh Miffy comment was from me, Melissa in the USA

ooooh, orange AND miffy,

ooooh, orange AND miffy, nice choice ^^ Ana, Portugal

poor kiddos

(location: US) Aww, I feel bad for the boy (and little you) too! But considering how preternaturally calm he was while walking with you through the rain, I’m sure he got over your “rejection” without any lasting emotional scars. :) It’s amazing how, even after so many years, we can still remember childhood memories — especially embarrassing ones — with such clarity.

Awww…. I thoguth you were

Awww…. I thoguth you were hgoing to tell us all that you ended up marrying him! Too bad. Tired. from Canada.

enter me please

Thanks for the chance to win. Sometimes, actually quite often, I feel like an akward teenager. Anyway, my name is beastmomma and I live in the United States in Seattle, WA.

country=usa

microwaveable - and cute! kids portions are the way to go, no need to super size!

what an adorable

what an adorable story!

(and box!)

Jessica, Buffalo NY

:D

Name: J Location: U.S.

wahhh~ bunny!

and in orange :D

bro0ke, USA

Ooh, that Miffy bento is

Ooh, that Miffy bento is adorable! And the insulation is certainly useful.

Samantha from New Hampshire, USA

Love your site. Love

Love your site. Love Miffy.

Riot United States

Love your site. Love

Love your site. Love Miffy.

Riot United States

This is cute enough that I

This is cute enough that I am entering a giveaway for the first time!

loving it! i love bunnies!

Love that bento set! it is so cute and I love bunnies! It would be perfect for little snacks. =) oogles over the lunch box

~Kathy, usa

Wonderful Giveaway!

This is so cute & such a useful one for me- I really hope I win!

horseradish my

horseradish my butt.

seattle, wa

OH! My!!

Oh my!

For a minute there I thought I might be reading a great cute story of first love. The things we do in life and how reminiscing about it still gives us the tickles (tickles for me, at least, while I was reading your post).

Location: USA

Story about Maki-chan gives insight into teen Japanese culture

Nickname: Mary K Location: Guam (a US territory—-Japan occupied this island during WWII)

I thoroughly enjoyed your story about Maki-chan….don’t we all feel so uncomfortable as teens? This was a universal story. Thanks for writing!

cute!

Oh that thermal set is sooo cute! I wish we had japanese stores here where we could buy them.

Awesome. Ben, UK.

Awesome.

Ben, UK.