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.

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

Please add me to the course list. What an amazing opportunity!! Thanks!!

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

Yessss! Count me in ! :-)

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

That sounds fantastic!

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

Fantastic idea! I really need to get back into the bento groove and a structured course would be very helpful. I also have a lot of friends who are curious about bento but really don't know where to start.

A course like this would be perfect - and I'm sooooo happy you are feeling well enough to do it!!

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

I'm all in! I made many in the past, got out of the habit, and I'm ready to climb back on and learn new techniques.

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

My hands up for taking the course!!!

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

Great way to start the New Year!
I don't know if this was covered in past but I need all the help I can organizing my Bento cupboard.

We've outgrown the children's bento boxes as my youngest is now 12 but am hoping to make 2-4 bentos for family members.

Thanks to Just Bento and your awesome book we are 25 lbs lighter and no longer on cholesterol meds!

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

Im in - great idea

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

I am definitely interested!!

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

I'm so excited for this. I would very much like to participate!

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

very much interested :)

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

I would Love to learn more! Definitely need more creative ways to get my family to enjoy healthier foods.

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

Yes please! Good to see you back in action as well!

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

I'm definitely up for this!

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

I would love to participate. I had no luck with the Winter Vegetable Tsukemono, but my Lentil Snacks were awesome once I finally found some red lentils. I have lost weight and I'm very excited about Bento!

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

I'd be interested. Facebook works best for me. Thanks for the opportunity.

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

Perfect! How do I sign up?

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

Your are absolutely fabulous! I'm glad to see you are feeling better. =) I'll be joining in.

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

count me in

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

This is such a great idea! I'm in!

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

I made my first ever bento for my lunch today! I'm super excited about your new informal courses, I'm making a note on my calendar!

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

Just got a bento box, and I'm very interested in this course. I'm a vegetarian on a low-wheat, low-dairy diet, and bento would be perfect for fixing healthy lunches. I would be happy to pay a fee for the course, too.

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

I would love to take the course . I have tried making a few boxes already and am very excited to learn more.

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

I would love to participate! That beginner course described me to a tee. We've invested in bento boxes and even the Just Bento cookbook, but I still feel a little daunted trying to get into the habit of making them once or twice a week. I think this would be very helpful for me!!

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

I am totally in. I've already declared this to be the year of Bento Tuesday (my husband isn't interested in the taco Tuesdays at his office.) and am considering adding Thursdays to my lineup. I can't wait to see what sort of challenges would be presented!

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

I would be interested in learning as well.

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

Yes pls. I'd love to take part.

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

Great idea - just received a new bento box for my birthday - I'm in!

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

I would love a beginner bento course. This is a fantastic idea. I'm in!

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

This sounds like fun! I'd like to start using those bento boxes I've bought over the years:)

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

Definitely interested in taking the intro bento course!

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

I'm interested! I bought two Shikiri bentos (the version you first posted about) and have yet to use them. I have a small assortment of picks, food cutters, furoshiki and small containers waiting to be used. I have to admit it's easier to buy the tools than to actually use them so I hope this course gives me the push I need.

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

Great idea! I'm not on Facebook, so using the comments section would work better.

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

I'm intrested! Made the occasional Bento and have done a few of the recipes but I still can't even cook rice to save my life, other than the shameful Minute Rice.

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

It looks most interesting! And i would defiantly like to participate in this (...if my parents let near the kitchen :P ).
I have bought the book (just waiting for it to arrive), but a kickstart beginner course would be awesome!

One thing I would like to know, is will this course include how to make/prepare the rice without a rice cooker? I've seen methods about(including the same one we use for Arborio Rice), but they are all different and don't know which to trust.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to it!

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

I would love to take the course.
I just started work again after 3 months of free time and would love to take bento's with me instead op boring sandwitches.

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

I would love to take the course.
I just started work again after 3 months of free time and would love to take bento's with me instead op boring sandwitches.

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

I would love to take the course.
I just started work again after 3 months of free time and would love to take bento's with me instead op boring sandwitches.

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

Sounds great, count me in!
I made bentos when I was taking Driver's Ed. in the summer last year, but I just didn't have the time to start making it during the school year, but I feel like that was from lack of knowledge than from true lack of ability.

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

I would be interested.

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

I'm so excited to try this! I did a weeks worth of bentos last week, and today I got some bento containers- too cute for words! I really want to excel at this, and this course will totally help!!

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

I'd love to give this course a go - it sounds like it will be fun to join in with others & all learn together :-) Thanks heaps for organising it.

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

I have a little more experience making bentos than you describe above. But I feel like being a part of a course would help keep me motivated. Would love to be involved.

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

I am interested in participating!

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

Maki, good to see you posting again; hope your health & home will be perfect in 2013. I'm looking forward to a bento course!!! I need the encouragement to make & take my lunch each day.

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

Yes please! Count me in!

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

i'm down! :)

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

I'm super interested! I've been doing bento-ish lunches recently, but I need help. Could there please be a vegetarian or vegan option for meal suggestions? Some things (like hot dogs) are easy to find a veggie version of but other things are hard to find or complicated to prepare.

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

I soooo want to do this course!! I can't wait! I've been trolling bento stuff for years and couldn't get my head around doing it. THANKS!!

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