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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Miami, FL (USA)

This is SO cute! I love this Bento set!

Poor kid! He must have been

Poor kid! He must have been so crushed…ah, the pangs of young love….

-Katherine (usa)


I read both your blogs regularly,and love them! All of your recipes that I’ve tried have been great, especially the carrot kinpira!

I've heard about those hangou things...

Ah, the silly things we do when we are young… ;) The prizes are tantalizing, but I’m enjoying reading your stories as well!

Miyuki, Canada

Great story!

Ah, memories. At least you know that all of us were awkward teenagers at one point!

I wish I had learned to cook at a younger age, I was married and calling my mother asking her how to bake a potato (very bad considering they own a restaurant that I spent most of my free childhood time there!)

Deanne, midwestern U.S.A

What an adorable set! I

What an adorable set! I would love to use this!! Thanks for giving us such lovely sites to visit for information and inspiration.

Julia New York, NY

Thank you

Thank you for your recipes.

Tok, Wollongong, Australia

purpleshoes, US And I have

purpleshoes, US

And I have many hilarious memories of both failing to cook rice on a camp stove and failing to flirt successfully on camping trips… Good times!

Too Cute!

This would definitely help me cut down on a few calories in my daily lunch. And what a cute way to do it!


My preschooler is gaga for Miffy!! Oooh, I hope I win!!! I am in the USA…

Would love to win this.

Would love to win this. Keep up the great posts!

Evan New York, USA

Love the bright orange!

I also loved your story. Makes me thnk of girl scout camp in Alaska, HUGE mosquitos, damp and cooking in tin cans.

sjt in tx

I am a fan of cute bunnies

I am a fan of cute bunnies as well as stories of awkward teenage love. Thanks for sharing. And your mom is one smart cookie!

P.S. I’m in the US.

So cute!

What a cute memory! And what a cute bento box!

Jen, U.S.A.

Oh my goodness, this is the cutest I have seen EVER!!!

Oh my this is the most adorable. I love the history and memories that come with the bentos. It makes the bentos that much more interesting.

Thanks for sharing ~USA~


these are so cute. and as i’m reading this i’m eating the soy sause eggs.( thanks 4 that =] )

Steph, USA

We love miffy!

Didn’t know there were insulatd bento boxes! We’d love this!

Manda, Australia

Oh, Miffy!!

What a lovely story! Ah, teen angst! I would love to get this one for my daughter!! Or for me!! :-) Erika - USA. Thanks again Maki!

winning is cool

a diet bento box…perfect

Oakland, CA, USA

Hi Maki, I love your cute

Hi Maki, I love your cute stories about your childhood.

Katy, New Zealand

Cindy USA

Cindy USA

This would be perfect for my kids.

Please put my name in the pool!

Jennifer Hansen Kodiak, Alaska, USA

Oh cute

yep so cute bunnies and orange could it be more perfect….



That is one of the cutest

That is one of the cutest bento sets ever. <3

-jya, USA


elizabeth, france

Happy blogaversary!

That was really cute!

Anna, Sweden

What a sweet boy! I LOVE

What a sweet boy!

I LOVE Miffy!

Happy Anniversary!

doki doki

Adoring both the bentos and the story. ^_^

  • Pimli, Qatar

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

Katchen, UK


hi maki :D (not entering giveaway draw, just a comment)

i remember my first camp in primary school, grade 3. on the last day we had a disco and i did a really embarrassing dance in front of the boy i liked….oops.

i had my last camp (ever) just last week! 8 days, 7 nights. UGH. it was all canoeing, tents, hiking, sunburns, mosquito bites and near-indigestion >< but our culinary skills did improve, i must say, as we had to cook our meals for ourselves every day :D

cute rabbits!

I wish I could win them!

anne Lyon,France

What a cute bento!

I love this bento! Thanks for your site.

Thanks for the site

That is a really cute bento!

Jenny USA

Sweet story

Happy anniversary!

Tirwen, USA

Country : USA

Country : USA


Oh, what a cute box! This is another reason I love your blogs, there’s not only food, but nifty goodies I never knew I needed until I saw it here!

Pick me! Pick me!

Kathy in Santa Barbara, CA

So cute!

Absolutely adorable. It would be well-loved, and well-used!

-Cheryce: U.S. (Oregon)

bento 4

part of what makes your page so readable, is your genuineness, that comes through with the special stories shared here in the celebration, but also in each comment along with the recipes. Thank you so much for sharing.

Miffy! <3

I really love Miffy. ;O

Super cute things obsession ftw!

Mary, UK


where do you find these cute bento sets??


I love bunnies! So cute!


Nice bento set.

Alex from West Richland Washington USA

Yay Miffy!

I love Miffy! We had a whole collection of Dick Bruna books when I was a kid. This bento box is fab! :)

Glenda in Canada

What a cute story! I can

What a cute story! I can remember some rather clueless teachers making us cook pigs-in-a-blanket on a stick over an open fire. The outside of the dough burnt, the inside was still raw and the hotdog was ice cold.

Stephanie, WI, USA

USA! I love Miffy <3


I love Miffy <3

miffy <3!

i love miffy! <3

name: joyce

country: USA

Awww very cute story. And I

Awww very cute story. And I remember my first attempt at cooking rice. What a disaster lol

Desiree USA

Congrats on the Memories!

It’s amazing how time flies nowadays, and yet we can all call back those special moments with the simplest of reminders, especially food, ne? I actually stumbled on to your page while researching healthy recipies for a class assignment, and found the results to quite pleasing. =^^= Best of luck on many more years of successful food blogging!

~Luna, CA, USA

That looks so cute! Sarah,

That looks so cute!

Sarah, Missouri, USA