Onigiri Pon!

One of the questions asked during the Anniversary Giveaway was why Japanese people like cute (kawaii) things so much, as is evident in the cult of kyaraben or charaben. I’m not really sure of the answer to be honest, but it is true that from children to adults, women and even some men, love things that are cute and childlike. It may stem for the appreciation for detail in small objects like netsuke. Or maybe Japanese people are just a bit childish?

Or, maybe it’s because from a very young age, Japanese kids are exposed to kawaii culture. This is from a childrens’ program that airs on the NHK Education channel (NHK is the state-run TV station, equivalent to the BBC) called いないないばあっ! (inai inai baa), which is also the name of the game you play with babies ‘Now you see me…Now you don’t!’. It’s aimed at 0 to 2 year olds, and is the highest rated kid’s show on the NHK. This song is called おにぎりぽん!(onigiri pon! - replaced the original one with one with English fansubs!)

The song is just about making onigiri with a ‘nigi nigi’ gesture (see the little girl’s hands) and various places to go with some onigiri packed - the park, the sea, the mountains, with friends. As an uhm, adult, I can’t stand a lot of childrens’ programming, but I can watch this over and over all day. Maybe I’ve been brainwashed from birth.

Some more food-themed tunes from Inai Inai Baa - Ton Ton Tomato-chan:

And, Ocha Ocha Cha cha! (Tea Tea Chacha!) (Also replaced this one since the one I posted before has, uh, disappeared. Now if this one is also made to disappear, then I know that some Powers That Be are reading this blog ^_^;:)

Have a great weekend!

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kawaii!!!

Oh that little girl is just darling! She looks to be about the same age as my youngest - about 7. (In fact, my boys asked for “Ton Ton Tomato-chan” to be replayed - twice! :)

Good grief, what a cute

Good grief, what a cute little girl. (And I confess, I am in my mid-thirties, and thought that Ton Ton Tomato-chan was cute enough to watch twice. :D)

the bento box arrived!

Hi Maki! The bento box arrived this morning. The first photos are on my blog! Thank you so much.

Yay! I’m glad it reached

Yay! I’m glad it reached you before Christmas :)

I love it!

I saw this show on TV while I was in Tokyo last month- I was just flipping through channels, but when I landed on this, I ended up watching the whole thing, just sitting in the hotel room, transfixed (we were getting ready to leave for breakfast, but I made my husband wait until it was over). “Ton Ton Tomato-chan” makes me want to die from cuteness!! Thanks so much for posting these!

Hi. My name is Katie and I'm a Kawaii-aholic.

I secretly belong to the cult of kawaii myself in the southern US where finding the stuff is near to impossible if you don’t go to the random asian markets in town.

I’m so exposing my little nephew to these videos….

Onigiri nigi nigi

i watched it twice — the second time before shutting down my computer. Is this going to stick in my head like the “itsy bitsy spider” song???

I watched this show on

I watched this show on Japanese television this summer, and it’s so good to finally learn the name! Like you, I found it oddly compelling — even without the cultural training!

O.o

OMG this is too cute for words!!!

I'm surprised...

…that such a drink as tea is promoted to the 0-2 set!

It is just a culture shock to an American, as I myself was raised to drink no Caffeine as a child—yet we give our children much worse! (I wasn’t allowed to drink soda, especially dark sodas with caffeine. Or even those “fake juice sugar waters”—not from concentrate juice, water or milk was really it! How decadent the occasional school-lunch chocolate milk cartons were!”

Green tea is a very clean and healthy drink, so I think it is good to show children its benefits. However, I was somehow under the delusion that kids stuck with Mugicha in Japan (at leas the preschool set!)

They really are teaching them their “food culture”—molding the onigiri, how and when to drink green tea. I think that’s great! It’s another thing that we don’t have much of here in America—culture. That’s the downside of being so diverse: if you are not coming in from somewhere else with an imported culture, but are instead born here to parents born here, you really have no culture at all. In an effort to be inoffensive, we met each other in the area where we overlapped, and in this wasteland of un-culture, a few generations of offspring were born.

But, we Americans DO have a culture—find us satirizing ourselves online at “stuffwhitepeoplelike.com”

When we read it, we enjoy laughing at the banality those others, and then when the next topic hits a bullseye, we still congratulate ourselves because we have the sophistication to smirk and chuckle darkly at how neatly turned is the phrase that so skewers us.

No culture?

I’m an American and I have a culture — an American one which in no way resembles what you describe. You don’t speak for me. I value self-reliance, responsibility, education, and charity and have a very good sense of who I am. Most Americans would be as surprised and dismayed as I am about your remarks. But then, I’m 70 and was raised to be an American citizen through difficult times, with all its responsibilities, and with pride. For example, if you are right-handed and eat with a fork in your right hand, tines up, you are exhibiting the change in eating manners that the early generation of Americans deliberately adopted in Revolutionary days and passed on for generations so as not to be confused with Europeans. That’s “cultural” on a small point, but there are zillions of other examples. Open your mouth and speak — and non Americans will recognize you by your language and accent. Maybe you’re simply unclear about what “culture” embodies and how rich the American melting pot really is. Enjoy the recipes and descriptions of various foods that Maki brings us on this website. There’s more to Maki’s home culture than onigiri and chopsticks, and there’s more to American culture than you have noticed.

Thank you! And in addition-

Thank you!

And in addition- I was allowed to drink tea as a child, pretty much whatever kind I wanted, and I grew up in California.

I actually agree with the

I actually agree with the americans dont have a set culture, for example my boyfriend born and raised a white american and so were his parents and the only cultural thing about them is that they celebrate the national holidays which is alot different then my filippino family…but I do believe that amercica being so diverse is part of our culture, so there’s two ways of looking at it….And omg that childern’s show is sooooo adorable! I wish they had programs like that here not like dora for my son to watch , all be it I do like the spanish aspect of it. I just dont like how they always seem to be yelling lol

If you look into things

If you look into things there IS culture there- it may not be the same thing that you see in your culture. Culture is all the habits and traditions of a group. It doesn’t have to be something big- holidays are just one of many traditions.

Culture is what we do, it’s our habits, and our lives. It’s what we call things and how we do things. Different parts of the US have different cultures, as well as different groups within the US, and that’s true in all countries. (and it’s why you hear things being discussed as coming from specific regions.) Pizza, apple pie and mac and cheese are just as much “culture” in the US as taking a shower daily.

If you look into things

If you look into things there IS culture there- it may not be the same thing that you see in your culture. Culture is all the habits and traditions of a group. It doesn’t have to be something big- holidays are just one of many traditions.

Culture is what we do, it’s our habits, and our lives. It’s what we call things and how we do things. Different parts of the US have different cultures, as well as different groups within the US, and that’s true in all countries. (and it’s why you hear things being discussed as coming from specific regions.) Pizza, apple pie and mac and cheese are just as much “culture” in the US as taking a shower daily.

Thing is there is not just ONE American culture but many

I am Irish American (actually a narrowback - the child of an Irish born parent born in America - so not Irish enough to count and not American enough to pity!).

We grew up with tea and coffee starting when we were infants (my mom says with having 5 kids in 7 yrs she gave us what ever kept us quiet!). It would be very watered down when we were very young then as we grew older we developed our own preferences. Same with food - though the potato was ever the staple for dinner.

If one lives in an urban area there is such diversity that it can be hard to say you are raised with “a” culture - but bits and parts of many cultures.

I love finding out about these videos — especially the tea one — but then I also love the Spongebob Squarepants episode re cuss words dubbed in GAELIC! Guess there is no accounting for taste huh?

Thanks so much for making these available for us to check out!

Re: Thing is there is not just ONE American culture but many

I'm an American with a very rich culture.

Thanksgiving is my family's most important holiday because our ancestors were the cooks and diners at the very first. We usually have wild game, riced potatoes with goat cream and garlic, green beans, rolls, and pumpkin custard for dinner with wine or apple cider to drink. All of it is made from scratch from old recipes. Even the wine is old school.

Besides the culinary traditions of my family, there is also the handing down of our history. At present, it is written down in several lengthy documents and I am working to compile it into one book. It goes back to 150+/- years after the fall of Rome. I want to say 643 AD.

Besides history, there is the way we speak at home, vs the way we talk to others. Most people would consider my home speak to be rather verbose and to contain archaic words and meanings. It gets more complicated when I drink good wine or tea.

Besides language, there is tea. 54 varieties in my house. Oh, and some coffee. To name a few teas; Ceylon Orange Pekoe, Yerba Mate, Genmai-cha, Green Tea with Jasmine Blossoms, Double Spiced Chai*, Earl Grey, etc... I drink tea every day. My average is around 4 cups a day.

Besides tea, there are Folk Remedies. Sunflower leaf tea for congestion, moonshine and honey for a bad cold, horseradish for sinus trouble and healthy joints... The list goes on and on.

My whole point, though, is that Americans do have culture, muddled though it may be.

ーオタク

*the tea bags are dyed green from the excessive quantity of cardamom.

Re: Thing is there is not just ONE American culture but many

I don't think the original comment was really offensive but then again I tend to agree in the sense that there is no -unifying- American culture. Even the examples of American culture given are not true of all or even the majority of Americans in my experience (maybe with the exception of accent). My husband and I are both Americans, we've both lived here our entire lives as have our families. And yet our families have nothing in common culture-wise that I can see. We don't eat the same food, we don't have the same traditions, we don't celebrate holidays the same way(or even the same holidays)...and it's not just me and my husband: the same is true for all of my friends. None of us grew up eating the same food as each other or with traditions in common.

One of my teachers when I was younger said that America was more of a mixed salad than a melting pot and I agree. Traditions from countries that people immigrated from aren't fused together in to one unifying culture; people seem to retain the cultural practices of wherever their family immigrated from.

I'm surprised...

…that such a drink as tea is promoted to the 0-2 set!

It is just a culture shock to an American, as I myself was raised to drink no Caffeine as a child—yet we give our children much worse! (I wasn’t allowed to drink soda, especially dark sodas with caffeine. Or even those “fake juice sugar waters”—not from concentrate juice, water or milk was really it! How decadent the occasional school-lunch chocolate milk cartons were!”

Green tea is a very clean and healthy drink, so I think it is good to show children its benefits. However, I was somehow under the delusion that kids stuck with Mugicha in Japan (at leas the preschool set!)

They really are teaching them their “food culture”—molding the onigiri, how and when to drink green tea. I think that’s great! It’s another thing that we don’t have much of here in America—culture. That’s the downside of being so diverse: if you are not coming in from somewhere else with an imported culture, but are instead born here to parents born here, you really have no culture at all. In an effort to be inoffensive, we met each other in the area where we overlapped, and in this wasteland of un-culture, a few generations of offspring were born.

But, we Americans DO have a culture—find us satirizing ourselves online at “stuffwhitepeoplelike.com”

When we read it, we enjoy laughing at the banality those others, and then when the next topic hits a bullseye, we still congratulate ourselves because we have the sophistication to smirk and chuckle darkly at how neatly turned is the phrase that so skewers us.

A few days ago, one of the

A few days ago, one of the largest newspapers in Sweden posted an article about this. They claimed that researchers had found that cute things, kawaii, triggeres the same parts of the brain that some drugs, food and sex do. Don’t know if it’s true or not… but I love kawaii :D

A few days ago, one of the

A few days ago, one of the largest newspapers in Sweden posted an article about this. They claimed that researchers had found that cute things, kawaii, triggeres the same parts of the brain that some drugs, food and sex do. Don’t know if it’s true or not… but I love kawaii :D

Funnily enough, I can hear

Funnily enough, I can hear these songs in my head as Shonen Knife might do them.

So cute!

Those videos are just cutest things I’ve ever seen!

Oh this is so cute! Kawaii!!!!!^.^!!!!!

These videos are so cute!! Now I think I understand, Maki, if you grew up with t.v. shows like this, I can see how you came to make a site like Just Bento. Thanks for making it by the way! I love looking at the recipes and trying them out! ( and yes I have tried out a few since I lasted posted a comment way back when).

I’ve had some time since my school let out for winter break. But now it’s 20 degrees here in Washington on the North west cost and snowing so I am stuck inside. Oh well, I’m working on making my Christmas presents anyway. ( Can you tell I haven’t had many people to talk to lately ^.^)

To comment to what the others have been saying, I too grew up with a non-caffeine diet and no sugary sweet fruit drinks either (such as Sunny-D and Kool-aid) It wasn’t till I turned 13 that I was allowed to start start drinking soda and just plain decaf soda at that. But my parents were a little more strict then others. I was also not allowed sugary sweets. No candy except holidays and special occasions and no twinkis and the like. I have grown up without most things that the rest of my age group have. Some call me deprived because I don’t have texting on my cell. HA.

Anyway I believe I have babbled maybe a bit much. I would also like to say that there is soooooo culture in America and you should be proud to be one. So say’s a former Air Force Brat^.^

Dammit!

Maki, I now have the onigiri song stuck in my head. I can only imagine what it’s going to look like when a 31 year old woman is on the subway humming and forming imaginary onigiri packs with her hands. Sheesh!!

Really, really cute little girl, though, and I loved the clips. Thank you!!

OMG! inai inai baa! I have

OMG! inai inai baa! I have been watching this show with my nephew and niece two years ago when they came to visit us. I think I still have the DVD they left around here. LOL.

Omg, I love the bit where

Omg, I love the bit where the one tomato makes the other tomato flip over… So cute… Thanks for sharing the videos with us, Maki!

Ohh! That was SO cute!

So all these “Hello Kitty” figures I have around here are “Kawaii”. Those videos were just SO cute! And I want to stay out of the “culture war”, but I do want to suggest that possibly when America has been around for a thousand years or so that perhaps we too will have something uniquely “Cultural” too. Until then, what we have is a soup of things that every other culture that has come here to live in the last 200-odd years brought with them.

The culture thing

Sorry for my late reply to this…been sick all weekend.

I think there is absolutely culture in America. There’s a whole variety of cultures, so it’s rather harder to present just one of them as being ‘American’ (though some people may try to push their version as being ‘the’ American experience.) Certainly shows like Sesame Street managed quite successfully to present fun things to kids, which most if not all kids could relate to. Didn’t they have a sketch with Grover as a waiter involving a sandwich? And things like that. (yes, I loved Sesame Street growing up!)

I think what may make representations of food and drink themed things in particular difficult to represent on programs aimed at kids in the U.S. these days may be the fear of offending someone. For instance, imagine if the Cookie Monster was invented in 2008…the howls of protest against a sugary-snack-addicted puppet! Or, would Green Eggs and Ham offend PETA? I guess the only edible things that are safe to sing about these days are vegetables…and we’d better be sure they are organically grown or at least pesticide free, but still cheap enough for everyone to afford…or something. :)

Saddly, Sesame Street these

Saddly, Sesame Street these days has dumbed down to the “let’s not offend ANYONE” mindset. I havn’t watched it, but recently I had a converstion with someone about it who said that the Grouch doesn’t live in a garbage can anymore, Bert and Ernie don’t live together, Cookie Monster eats healthy foods, and Snufflapagus (sp?) is not just an “imaginary” friend anymore. u.u;

I wish the media would stop ruining my childhood.

Oh no, that’s horrible! :(

Oh no, that’s horrible! :( I haven’t watched Sesame Street in decades either, but can still sing theme song… and the ‘somebody come and play’ song…

And Bert and Ernie not living together! The sadness of it.

(edit: Something about the Cookie Monster eating fruit and the Veggie Monster rumor on Snopes.)

XD At least they didn’t

XD At least they didn’t totally make him quit eating cookies. Cookie Monster was my favorite. :3

Re: The culture thing

You hit the nail on the head with the variety of cultures.

Neil Gaiman makes some interesting observations about that in American Gods. I wouldn't have believed him until I moved from the Washington DC area to New England. And that's a pretty mild example.

I, like most everyone else

I, like most everyone else who has commented, am also transfixed by the TonTon Tomato-chan video! (Which is weird because I almost never like “kawaii” things!)

AHHHHHHH!

I actually died from Acute Cuteitis after watching Tomato Chan. Luckily, my 6 year old knew to call 911. They techs got here and hit me straight in the heart with 250cc of Dick Cheney, which was just enough evil to pull me out of a fatal cute coma.

Now I can watch it, but only with the volume down low.

PS> Your other 2 videos have been yanked by the Tube Police. :`(

Re: AHHHHHHH!

Wow, I'm glad you recovered from the acute cuteitis! One of the funniest comments ever, thanks ^_^

Too bad about the Tube Police...but I've found replacements for both videos, which hopefully won't be found for a while...unless they are reading this site! heh

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