Announcing the first bento course for 2013! Bento101: Getting Into the Bento Habit

In 2008, we held a very successful Bento Challenge here on JustBento, which got a lot of people started with bento making. A lot has happened since then - many more people are aware of the advantages of making bentos a part of their daily lives for one thing. But after reading through all the questions posted to the previous open thread, and elsewhere, I think there is still a fair amount of confusion about what exactly is required to ‘get into bentos’. In addition, many people have gone beyond the basic things and are looking to expand their bento making skills.

Therefore, this year I’ve decided to try something new: a series of somewhat structured Bento Courses, as well as some Basic Cooking courses over on Just Hungry. Here’s how they will work:

  • Each course will be around 4 to 6 weeks long, and focus on a particular aspect of bento making.
  • Participation will be via the comment section of this site, as well as our Facebook page, plus photo sharing sites such as Flickr and Instagram as needed. If you have a blog, all the better. (Note: I wish the forum was working properly, but it still isn’t, so hopefully these other venues will do.)
  • During each course there maybe reading and writing assignments as well as hands-on assignments.
  • The objective of each course will be stated before they start. There will also be some supplies required.
  • There’s be no grading or individual (1 on 1 private) instruction; your resuts and questions will be shared with the group, so that everyone can benefit for each other.
  • The time required will depend on the course (I’ll try to put up an estimate of how much time you should allot beforehand.)
  • It will of course, all be free!
  • It is of course an informal course, so no formal credits or whatever will be earned, but you will (hopefully) be learning some very useful bento-related skills.

I am planning to have at least a couple of beginner courses, as well as more advanced level ones. (It does rather depend on the success of the first couple of courses, which I have already planned out, so we’ll see how it goes!)

So, here’s the first course, which will start in February.

Bento 101: Getting Into the Bento Habit

  • Level: Intro/Beginner
  • Aim: For people who have been thinking about trying out bento making, but have not tried it yet or made just a couple of stabs at it, to get to a level of making at least 1-2 bento box or packed-from-home lunches per week without too much strain.
  • Course duration: 4 weeks
  • Course start date: the week of February 4th
  • Time required: Approximately 2-3 hours a week; 1 hour or so for reading and writing, 1 to 2 hours for hands-on projects. (The more time and effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.)
  • Materials required: To be announced within the next few days

I’d really like to see how much interest there is in this, so if you think you would be interested in participating, let me know in the comments!

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.

315 comments

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Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

This sounds perfect! I'd love to give it a try. :D

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

First time commenter, long time watcher...
I'd also like to participate.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I am a beginner and would like to take bento 101

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

Yes, I want to participate!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I've done some unstructured bentos in the past, but I'm so excited about this class. Perhaps it will fill some blanks in my basic education about bento.
Thanks for your hard work in offering this to us neophytes.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

meglish wrote:

This sounds perfect! I'd love to give it a try. :D

I'd love to try this! Wanted to start making bentos for so long....

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

This sounds very interesting a fun!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

This sounds really interesting am looking forward to it.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I also want to participate :)

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

Hi, I'm interested to participate in Bento 101. Thx for organising! =)

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

meglish wrote:

This sounds perfect! I'd love to give it a try. :D

I am interested and plan to participate

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I think I'd like to participate! I make bento 5 days a week for my preschool-age daughter and 2 times a week for me (usually the scraps from hers or leftovers, haha) and would love to add a little more variety in content as well as get ideas to easily up the cuteness factor. Sign me up! :)

-Sea
(longtime fan and reader)

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'm excited about this! I've been a reader since just before the book came out and even though I marked some recipes from the site, I never got around to trying them. Maybe a little bit of structure and some company will help. :fingers crossed:

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'm so in!:) Thank you for helping out beginners like me..:)

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I would be interested. I am on a fat free diet and turned to using Bentos in a hope of increase veg and reduce portion size. in two weeks I have lost 5 lbs. I bought your book but would like some help with other recipes and ideas.

Also doing them for my husband and son, but as a full time working mum need some time saving tips and tricks.

Chris B

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'm very much interested into the beginner course!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I recently purchased your book and am looking to get into the bento habit this year, so I am very much interested in these courses! What a wonderful idea :)

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I would be very interested - I am trying to limit the amount of food I eat for lunch, and have found that the best way to do that is to limit what I have access to at work :-) It's not so easy to come up with delicious and easy-to-prepare lunch boxes, so I really want to get into this bento thing. I am fascinated by this blog and have it in my reader but have not yet gone very far in implementing any it. A dedicated course would definitely help!
I also think that you should consider charging for it, it's work for you, isn't it? Of course as a potential buyer I'd prefer the price to be low :-)

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

This sounds neat! I would love to try the beginner course. I love the idea but then get intimidated when it comes to doing it...

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'll happily (try to) participate in this! I've been meaning to start brown-bagging it for work, and this sounds like a healthy way to get started. I'm a lurker by nature, so my responses may not be as verbose as others', but I'll do what I can...

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I think this sounds like a great idea. I sporadically make bento boxes and enjoy it...but would love a more regularized practice time. This will make it much easier for me to get used to doing this more days per week.

Can't wait!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'll happily (try to) participate in this! I've been meaning to start brown-bagging it for work, and this sounds like a healthy way to get started. I'm a lurker by nature, so my responses may not be as verbose as others', but I'll do what I can...

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'd love to participate - comments would be better for me than Facebook, I'm afraid.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I think this would be great! It will get me back into it....I've had a hiatus.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

It sounds like a great idea. Some of us have tried preparing bento boxes, but don't feel we're very successful at it. I'd love to participate!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

Love the idea! I am trying to cook more and having a structured session will definitely help me focus on this goal. I got your book as a gift and love it but haven't had a chance to implement the recipes.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

Sounds fun! It may be the motivation I need to start bring bentos to work again and buying lunch out less :)

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

This will be great! I try to pack bentos for myself and kiddo once or twice a week but I don't do a very good job.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'm interested! I've made some bentos but they've been mostly based on salad or leftovers. Nothing wrong with that of course, but I'm interested in learning more.

I'm interested in this!

I think that a "Getting into the Bento Habit" class is brilliant! And i would LOVE to participate!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I would love to be involved in something like this! I have been trying to get into the habit of making Bento more than once a week. I have made quite a few Bento before, but am interested in learning how to make it a habit rather than a hobby.

Thanks for such an inspiring idea!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

Thank you for organising such a lovely idea!

I have been trying for a while to get into making lunches/bentos and failed within a week. Really interested in this course and am looking forward to finally sticking with it. :)

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I love this idea! It would definitely give me a clearer structure to work with. Plus, I don't have classes that keep me in school around midday except for a few times a week, so the beginner goals seem perfect for what I need.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

yes, have fallen off the bento path, and flirted with tiffens, etc., and lost focus.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I am interested in the courses, starting at the beginning. I've been meaning to work on my lunches more, and haven't had the push to do so.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I would like to try it, too. I love those Bentos everybody is making - but no matter how much I tried, mine didn't get half as delicious :(

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'm in! This is so exciting because I've been trying to find classes that will teach me more about japanese cooking or cooking styles and the only classes offered are sushi making classes.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

Wow, this sounds amazing! And free? I'm definitely in.

Thanks so much, Maki, for your wonderful sites. I recommend them to just about anybody when they ask me for recipes (inexpensive? vegetarian? healthy? easy? tasty? quick? lots of variety? check. check. check. check. check. check. check.). I just had to get a new hard drive, and I realized just now that I hadn't disabled ad-blocker on your sites yet. Of course I remedied that immediately.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I can't wait!!!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I've gotten out of bentoing, and this would be a great way for me to get back in to it. I would definitely love to participate.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

This sounds great, Maki! Thank you for putting it together. I'm looking forward to it.

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I would love to try this! Thanks

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I would LOVE to participate in this. Sounds like an awesome idea and a great way to communicate with like-minded people (i.e. frugal people with a love for food, love for health, and love for everything beautiful)!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'm interested! I will say that i am already in a bento habit but really want to work on building my freezer stash and being more efficient. Would that be covered in this course, or would that be a separate topic?

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

I'd totally be interested!!!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

This sounds great!

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

Sounds very interesting, I'm eager to see what it will look like :3

Re: Announcing the first bento course for 2013: Getting ...

This sounds like a great idea! I have a bento blog aimed at the being bento to the UK market so it'd be great to pass on the skills from this course :)

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