In this section, you’ll find all the news, updates and so on about the Just Bento Cookbook, published by Kodansha USA. It’s available now worldwide.
Wholesale Inquiries: Please contact the publisher, Kodansha USA Inc. .
(updated January 20, 2011)
Amazon links (note that these are all affiliate links, except for Canada, which brings me a small commission besides what I got for writing the book ^_^;)
Please ask at your local bookstore if they have the book in stock! Find your local independent book seller .
During my recent book tour , I left a stack of signed copies at Kinokuniya in New York (off Bryant Park), Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park outside Seattle, and Kinokuniya Seattle (next to Uwajimaya). See if they have any left! ^_^
The book has been reviewed positively by several sources. I’ve collected the links to reviews and related interviews that are online on this Delicious.com page 
I’m also proud and honored by all the reader reviews it has received so far on various sites, most notably on Amazon.com . It was also selected by the Amazon Editors as one of the top 10 Cooking, Food and Wine books of the first half of 2011 .
Update: The book is out written, and published, and selling well too! Read about it here .
I announced over on Just Hungry  that I am working on a bento cookbook tentatively titled The Just Bento Cookbook, which will be published in 2010 by Kodansha International . Here are some more details about it. Please note that it’s still early days in the life of the book, so things are subject to change.
Anyway, as I said over on Just Hungry, I am facing a big deadline for the book in a few weeks. So new posts here are going to be a bit sparse for a while, since I want to make the book as good as it can be. In the meantime, please register and participate in the forum  if you haven’t already. I’ll also be featuring some good things from the archives.
So…um, wish me luck! I need it…(mild panic mode ^_^;)
I’m putting out a tentative call for guest posts. If you would like to have a guest post featured here on Just Bento during my semi-absence, please read the guest posting guidelines  first. Due to time constraints I will only be able to accept posts that are ‘ready-to-publish’, so please take note of the formatting, format, subject matter, etc. requirements. Thanks! Update: The call for guest posts is closed for the time being. Look out for another call in a few months!
Yesterday I finally received a copy of The Just Bento Cookbook, fresh off the presses. I’ve seen the proofs or galleys, but the Real Thing exceeded my expectations. It really looks fantastic - not just the great photographs by the other Makiko-san, but the layout, the print quality, - everything.
As with better quality Japanese bento cookbooks, the Just Bento Cookbook is soft cover with a dust jacket. Here is the front cover:
The Japan version has a paper belt or “obi” around it, which has some blurbs and information in Japanese. I believe that the version sold in the U.S. and elsewhere won’t have this obi (though it’s possible that copies carried at Japanese bookstores may).
Here are some peeks inside the book. Each of the main recipes have a little picture of the corresponding item in the featured bento, so you know exactly what is what.
Of course, any bento that requires some prep work beyond just packing things up in the morning have a timeline. Would you expect anything else from a Just Bento book? ^_^
I tried to vary the bentos for the seasons. Here’s a Summer Vegetable Casserole bento, from the not-so-Japanese bento section….
…and here’s another one from the same section, a Soup and Muffin bento with poached apples, packed into a thermal lunch jar for the colder months.
A couple more shots! A mini-hamburger bento with cut-outs. I kept the decoration ideas very simple.
A “chakin zushi” (egg-wrapped sushi) bento with stewed lotus root and hijiki seaweed. I believe this is the most Japanese bento I have in the book, in terms of ingredients. Lotus root (renkon) is about as exotic as I got with the vegetables, but you can easily substitute another vegetable dish for it if you wanted to. And dried seaweed can be easily mail-ordered if it’s not at your local Japanese or Asian grocery.
The Table of Contents is organized into 3 sections by type. This makes it easy to go straight to the bento recipes themselves, or find a particular tip or how-to. (There should be a “Look Inside” on Amazon before the book goes on sale there by the way.)
There are 25 total bentos; 15 Japanese, and 10 Not-so-Japanese. That may not seem like a lot…until you consider that each bento has tons of variation recipes. So you can mix and match to come up with dozens of combinations that work!
I’m quite proud of the Not-so-Japanese bentos. I tried to come up combinations that have a ‘bento aesthetic’ - colorful, varied and appetizing meals packed into a compact box, that taste good hours after they are made. I hope I’ve succeeded!
I am really my own worst critic, but looking through the book several months after completing it, I have to say that I am really very happy with the results. As I wrote previously , this is a practical, everyday bento lunch book, for people who want to bring, or make for their loved ones, tasty, healthy and varied lunches to work or school, on a regular basis. As I keep saying - I hope I’ve succeeded!
Check this list  for when and from where the book will be available.
This is what I wrote as the first sentence in the Acknowledgements:
First and foremost, I could not have even contemplated writing this book without the tremendous support and encouragement of the JustBento.com readers. Thank you!
And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
A small but critical correction for the Soup and Muffin Bento which starts on page 102.
On page 103, the amount of flour in the Basic Savory Muffin batter for the Cheese and Edamame Muffin recipe is wrong. Instead of 1 cup (125g) of cake flour, use 2 cups (250g) cake flour (or all-purpose flour). This applies for all of the muffin variations on the next page too.
My apologies for this typo!
Note that this error appears in the first edition only. It’s been corrected in subsequent editions.
You would think that I would have spotted this earlier, but no….the book has gone to 4 printings already and I just spotted it last night ><. Fortunately it’s not a really critical error, unlike the one in the Muffin recipe (which was corrected in time for the 2nd printing, hooray!) but if you are watching your calories, it is something worth watching out for.
So, here it is. On page 79, the recipe for “Deconstructed Salade Niçoise” has the wrong amount of olive oil. It should be 1 Tbsp (tablespoon) rather than 2. Using 2 will not ruin your dish - it will be a bit more oily, for sure - but calorie wise that’s an additional 120 cal or so, that you may not want, even if it’s heart-healthy olive oil.
Apologies for the error! It will be corrected in subsequent printings.
I’ve been getting several emails asking about the availability of The Just Bento Cookbook. Apparently it has been selling out and is out of stock, even on Amazon.com . I am happy to say that the book is being reprinted again as we speak, so hopefully you should be able to pick up a copy before the holidays. It will be the 5th printing for the little book, which is just amazing to me.
There was a delay between this and the previous printing, mainly because the book’s publishing rights were technically transferred to another company. At the end of March (the end of the fiscal year in Japan), the original publisher, Kodansha International, suddenly decided to close its doors. Most of the publishing rights to their catalog were transferred to a brand new company called Kodansha USA. I know it may seem like the same company, but they’re not. Kodansha International was based in Tokyo, while Kodansha USA is a U.S. company based in New York, with entirely different staff. (I think a few former Kodansha International people may have transferred to USA, but I’m not certain. My editor did not.) For a while I was not even sure my book would be reprinted again, but I’m happy to say that it will be. The new printing will be a bit different from the previous ones - it will be printed in Canada, not Japan, and will not have a dust jacket I understand. But the contents will remain the same.
[Update: People have been telling me they’ve had their backorders at Amazon cancelled. That’s because, since the book is being reprinted by a new publisher for all intents and purposes, it will have a new ISBN, which Amazon does not have yet. That should be corrected soon, according to Kodansha USA.]
Several people have also asked me about a Kindle or other digital version of the book. The decision to issue a book in ebook format or not is up to the publisher, and so far they have not decided to go that route. So there’s no ebook version for the forseeable future.
So, that’s the news on the book! If you are waiting to get a copy, thank you for your patience!
I have been back from my US mini-book tour for a week now. I’m still rather jetlagged, but I’m really happy to have met so many wonderful people! I only got to visit New York and Seattle, and wish I could have done more, but considering that this was my First Book Tour Ever, and that before I embarked on it I was frankly scared to death, I think it went really well.
(Incidentally, the book has been out of stock for ages on Amazon, but is now back in stock again ! Go go go before it sells out again! ^__^;)
So, here are just a few photos - all taken by the indefatigable Guy. I couldn’t have done the tour without his help. (For that I will have to pay him back with numerous chicken kijiyaki/tamagoyaki/kabocha bentos….)
This was the first event, a talk and signing at Kinokuniya in NYC. I had some trouble remembering to keep the microphone in my face - the problem was that I had the mike in my hand, but I tend to ‘talk’ a lot with my hands! - but all in all I think it went okay. About 30 people showed up on a freezing cold day! (The photo below made it to this week’s email newsletter of the prestigious Publisher’s Weekly !)
We gave away two filled bento boxes at the event. This one is one layer of a Pikachu bento box, with bunny shaped carrot and tamagoyaki. The boxes were from Kinokuniya’s gift department (which has a much expanded bento box selection from when I checked it out a year ago).
This is from a party-event for bloggers hosted by the lovely Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant . Viv knows absolutely everyone in Seattle, and she’s hosted book events in the past for such food world luminaries as Dorie Greenspan and Amanda Hesser. I was not worthy! We had such fun in any case. I made chicken karaage (with lots of help from The Guy), broccoli with wasabi sauce, apple bunnies (note to self: Red Delicious apples are nice and red but do not taste good), and onigiri. I think the onigiri were the most popular.
Here I am signing books and talking to someone at the party. See those jazz hands - I do talk with my hands, a lot! To the right you can see Aimee of SmileFelt  - she gave me some of her really cute ribbon-adorned bento bands! They’re available from her Etsy shop . Besides the Book, we also had the too-cute-for-words Norio onigiri box  (seen in front of me), supplied by Bento&co , at which everyone squee-ed in delight. (Merci Thomas!)
I met so many other bloggers too, such as Shirley of Lovely Lanvin , Tara of Tea and Cookies , Lisa of Gluten Free Foodies , Matthew of the Spilled Milk Podcast , and Luuvu of Luuvu ! Lisa (if you have a blog let me know!) brought me some of Seattle’s famous Fran’s Salt Chocolate Caramels - thank you so much Lisa!
Here’s my second event in Seattle, an evening talk-and-signing at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park . Third Place Books is a wonderful independent bookstore, as you can see from that shelf of used/vintage books behind me. This was a wonderful, mellow hour. Afterwards we wandered around the store, trying not to do too much damage to our cash balance. (We didn’t, but it was touch-and-go there for a bit.)
Then the final event was hosted by Kinokuniya again, this time the Seattle store, which is attached to Uwajimaya, the family run Japanese grocery chain. I was esconced behind the takeout-bento counter of Uwajimaya, right in front of the Kinokuniya store entrance. It was super-busy due to the Chinese New Year. People kept asking me for store directions! Neverthless it was another successful event, with lots of people stopping buy, some just to say hi, and many others to buy and get their books signed! I met more bloggers here too, especially Ms. Sonoma Bento , who was up in Seattle to visit family. Daniel stopped by and gave me a beautiful sock knitting kit! Thanks Daniel!!
Tara and Viv stopped by to see me again, both bearing gifts of…food! Such wonderful ladies both.
This is me at the end of a hectic two hours. I’ve obviously lost the plot.
Thank you, thank you to everyone who came to see me, who bought books, who helped clean up after some events, and so on… it was such a pleasure. Special thanks go to Viv of course (anyone who wants to have an event in Seattle should contact her first!), and to Sumi-san and the ever patient sales and marketing director at Kodansha America, Laura-san. Hontou ni osewa ni narimashita!
Now, to get rid of this jetlag and back to bento-making ^_^;
I am having a blast here in Seattle, promoting the Just Bento Cookbook. We had a terrific private blogger-event/party hosted by the lovely Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant  on Wednesday, where I got to meet a lot of food bloggers, and yesterday I had a book talk and signing at the wonderful Third Place Books  in Lake Forest Park. (I tell you, if I had a bookstore like Third Place Books in my neighborhood, my bank account would be in serious trouble.) I've already met lots of beautiful Seattle people through these events, as well as the equally beautiful New Yorkers who came to Kinokuniya's US flagship store on Bryant Park last Saturday. I have to confess, before I embarked on this little book tour I was really nervous...but I find that I am really loving meeting and talking to so many bento fans! I'll be editing and posting some photos very soon.
Tomorrow, Saturday January 29th, I will be at one final event in the Seattle area, at local institution Uwajimaya in downtown Seattle , co-sponsored by Kinokuniya Bookstore, which is located right in the Uwajimaya (or Uwaji as the locals call it) complex. (For non-Seattle-ites, Uwajimaya is a family-run Japanese, Korean and general Asian grocery store and more - fantastic resource for fans of east Asian food in general and Japanese food in particular. Uwajimiya also sells Japanese food products online via Amazon.com Groceries.) This time around I won't be doing a talk, but I'm going to be available for questions and to sign your copy of the book and so on from 1pm to 3pm. I'll be at the sushi/deli counter right near the Uwajimaya side entrance to Kinokuniya.
Since I'll just be sitting there really, I've decided to do something a bit different. I've already gotten permission from Uwajimaya management to select some of the products they have on sale that are particularly suited to use in bento boxes. I'll have them on hand to explain their use to anyone who is interested. If you're going to be shopping there anyway, and have always wondered what a particular Japanese ingredient was or how to use it, but have been afraid to ask, please stop by and ask me. You MUST BUY A BOOK in that case (Just kidding!!! You don't.) - seriously, take advantage of me being there! (OK I hope you'll buy a book too of course ^_^;) I've always wanted to do something along the lines of taking people around a Japanese supermarket and explaining how to use things, so this is fairly close to that. (Note: since Uwajimaya also sells other Asian food products, if your mystery item is not Japanese, I probably won't be able to tell you how to use it.)
I hope to see you there tomorrow!
(And I know, I wish I could go to to more cities, but that's all for this round of tours I'm afraid...;_;)
I’m sorry about the lack of updates around here! I am currently on the road, in the U.S., dealing with family stuff. But there’s another reason I’m here! As you already know if you follow @justbento on Twitter  (or my ‘personal’, more esoteric Twitter account, @makiwi , I am going to do a few book promo events. Here is the schedule as of now.
I know, why 1 NY event and 3 Seattle events? To paraphrase Jessica Rabbit, I don’t know, I’m just scheduled that way. ^_^; As of now, no further events are planned, but if they do get scheduled you’ll hear about them here of course.
(Also, as far as why I am not going to [insert city here], it’s really not up to me. It’s up to the publisher, Kodansha International . I wish I had the budget myself to go to everywhere people want me to go, but with a money pit for house and so on, I don’t … sorry! ^_^;)
Hope to see you at one of these events!
So, sales of the book are surpassing everyone’s expectations. It sold out before the official US publication date on Amazon.com, was back in stock briefly, then promptly sold out again. Not only is the 2nd printing gone, the 3rd printing has come off the presses this week and is being shipped to stores as we speak! (Update: Today (January 20th) I got word that a 4th printing has been scheduled now! And it’s not even the end of January!) I checked around a bit and it does look like Barnes & Noble has it in stock still . If you’re an Amazon shopper, your best bet is probably to just put your order in  ^_^; Don’t hold me to this, but the 1 to 3 month delivery time listed is probably them being conservative. Barnes & Noble seems to have it in stock . Check at your local bookstore  or Japanese grocery store too.
For non-US places to get the book, please refer to the list of sources .
A big thank you to everyone who has gotten it or is planning to get The Book…and, despite not being in stock even, making it (as of this writing) no. 1 in the Japanese cookbook category ! I am floored, and honored.
I haven’t talked a lot about my book since I started working on it last September, but here’s lots of news about it. The final edits were finished up last week, and the files went to the printers…yesterday! I’ve only seen the PDFs, but it really looks fantastic. And, it’s already available for pre-order on all the Amazons! The purchase links are near the end of this post.
This is the cover by the way - I think it looks great (as well it should…the number of reshoots we had to do on that photo…oy vay…)
By having a mix of Japanese and Not So Japanese recipes and bento boxes, I hope that the book will appeal both to Japanese food fans as well as people who aren’t that fond of Japanese food per se, but are interested in putting together tasty and attractive bento boxes or lunch boxes or however you want to refer to them.
The Japanese section sticks to using ingredients that are widely available, or can be easily ordered online. As you probably know if you’ve been following this site, it’s always been my philosophy to stay away from hard-to-find Japanese ingredients as much as possible. In the book, I was even more strict with myself; none of the main bento recipes use vegetables that can’t be easily bought at a typical American or Western supermarket (though some of the variation or ‘extra’ recipes do), and the only Japanese flavorings and condiments I have used are the basics - soy sauce, miso, sake, mirin, rice vinegar and sesame oil, plus dashi. All of these can be mail-ordered from Amazon Groceries in the U.S., Japan Centre  in the UK, and many other places - and these days, most supermarkets have them too (except maybe for dashi ingredients or dashi powder…but dashi is so critical to Japanese cooking I couldn’t leave it out!)
Besides condiments and flavorings, the only Japanese ingredients I used were the basic seaweeds (wakame, konbu, and nori), frozen edamame, umeboshi, tofu and abura-age (fried tofu skins) - and of course, Japanese style rice. I think you can find most of these at many supermarkets these days too, except perhaps for umeboshi…but only a couple of recipes call for umeboshi so you can avoid those easily. In particular, I avoided using the convenient ready-made foods that are standbys in Japanese bentos, but are not widely available outside of Japan - things such as all the fish-paste products (kamaboko, chikuwa, fish-paste sausage), not to mention Japanese-style cuts of meat (very thinly cut or finely chopped (not minced) pork and beef). In any case, the Japanese bento recipes do taste “authentically Japanese” but should not be hard to put together for most people around the world.
I’m particuarly proud of the Not So Japanese section - it was quite a challenge to come up with a variety of bento box combinations that worked, that didn’t rely on the old standards!
After a lot of discussions and back-and-fro’ing with my editor, we decided to make the book primarily for omnivores, to appeal to the widest audience possible, so most of the bentos do have some sort of fish or meat in them. However, there are tons of individual vegetarian recipes, and a couple of all-vegetarian bentos. (Maybe a vegetarian bento book as a followup…who knows? I can’t even think about starting another book at the moment though…^_^;)
This is not a charaben/cute bento book; it’s a practical, “everyday lunch” bento book, just as the title says. There are many easy-to-do decoration ideas scattered throughout the book, and I guess at least one bento is decidedly cute, but it’s almost impossible to do highly decorative bentos in under 20 minutes, especially in the morning when you are rushed anyway. I did try to make the bentos attractive to the eye though, since the way our food looks is important!
(For a cute-bento book in English, look for the just published Yum Yum Bento Box , co-authored by Pikko of Adventures in Bentomaking  and Maki Ogawa of Cute Obento , as well as Hawaii’s Bento Box Cookbook: 2nd Course  by Susan Yuen . I haven’t seen either of these books myself yet, but they are by very talented charaben artists so I’m sure they’re good! Kawaii Bento Boxes , a translated-from-Japanese book that I do have a copy of, is also very good for charaben.)
I’ve moved this section to the top of the cookbook info section .
Some U.S. book promotional activities are tentatively scheduled for January. So far the only definite city is New York, but it’s early days yet so we shall see where the publishers send me. If you want me to show up at your town, why not mention it here! I don’t have final say in the schedule of course…but who knows? ^_^
(Here, I have a shameful confession to make. I had a chance to appear on a certain TV show…but they needed an audition tape ASAP. I didn’t/couldn’t provide one, for technical, time, my-eyes-are-puffy-with-allergies, and just scared-of-being-on-camera reasons, so I’m probably not going to be on that TV show. I suck at publicity, really. I really admire people who are good at it. I’ll probably never get to be a guest judge on The Iron Chef either. Sniff.)
So…that’s it for the moment! I am both excited and very calm about the book - it was a lot of very hard work indeed, but I sure hope that it will be worth it in the end!
(Due to a large number of inquiries I’ve decided to stop taking any more requests for review copies for the moment, at least until the book is actually out. The requests received so far have been forwarded to the publisher. Thanks so much for your interest!)
I have already tweeted and er, Facebooked  (is that a word?) about this, but I got a nudge from a certain quarter to put it right here too. So here it is, tooting my own horn ^_^: The Just Bento Cookbook was selected by Amazon.com as one of the top 10 books in the Cooking, Food and Wine category in 2011  (so far)! I am in very good company there, with books with way bigger marketing budgets and stuff, so this is a really big honor.
But even more than that, I’m really happy that the book has been granted space on the cookbook shelves of so many of you! Every email or message I get about it really thrills me. Thank you, Amazon.com editors, and thank you, everyone who’s bought the book! Arigatou!
The Just Bento Cookbook  was mentioned quite prominently on a daytime news and current topics show called Wide! Scramble (ワイド！スクランブル）on TV Asahi, a Japanese televison channel, as part of a nearly 7 minute feature about the growing popularity of bentos around the world. Here’s the video clip:
I was really excited to see my book so prominently mentioned on a national network of course, but it’s also an interesting look at how the Japanese media regards the increasing popularity of bentos internationally.
Here’s an outline of what’s shown and said in the clip. (Note this is what they say - they may be a bit premature about some things, like how the book is selling so well in the U.S., since it won’t be available there for some time yet…but hey, maybe the reporter can see into the future! ^_^;) My comments are in square  brackets.
After the opening shot, which shows a bento from my book (!), the intro segment shows the opening of a branch of the largest takeout bento chain in Japan, Hotto Motto  (ほっともっと）, in Beijing, China. The store name in Chinese is “Hao Mai Dao (好麦道)”. It’s their first store overseas, let alone in China, and they plan to eventually open 200 stores thoughout the country within 5 years. The Beijing store sells typical Japanese style bentos like noriben  (which retails for around 210 yen) and karaage bento, using rice cooked Japanese-style. One thing that differs the Beijing store from the stores in Japan is that most customers eat their bentos in the store rather than taking it out, since there is no custom of taking packaged meals home to eat in China.
Then they switch over to America and Europe, where a book called The Just Bento Cookbook is tremendously popular! The book shows bentos like “Tamagoyaki Bento” and “Sushi Roll Bento”. Not only that, there’s even a French website (Bento&co ) that sells only bento boxes to customers overseas! It’s a worldwide Bento Tornado!
The next segment talks about The Just Bento Cookbook. Written by a Japanese woman called Makiko Itoh [waves], it is entirely in English! The author has a tremendously popular website in English all about bentos, and the book was born from that site. Let’s take a look inside - it has bentos like the Mini Hamburger Bento, with flower cutouts of carrots and cheese, and gomashio on the rice - this book is being read by Americans! There’s also things like Ginger Pork Bento, and Sukiyaki Style Beef Bowl Bento. The fact that Americans are reading this is something to be very happy about. Here, the female personality/reporter sitting at the desk interjects that “Bentos are so healthy and taste so good” etc etc.
The reporter turns to one of the male personality/reporters (Mr. Suga) and asks him, “What’s the no. 1 thing you want to eat in an obento?” The man says immediately, “tamagoyaki!” The other two nod in agreement, and the female reporter says “I love it!” The reporter says that the book not only shows how tamagoyaki is made, but has a sentence saying that many (Japanese) people really want there to be at least 1 or 2 pieces of tamagoyaki in their bentos every day. The people at the desk nod strongly in agreement, and the woman says, “Yes!”. The reporter goes on to say that the book not only teaches people how to make the food, but tells them a little about Japanese culture too (point emphasized by the on-screen text).
The male commentator with the glasses (Mr. Suga) interjects that bentos are not only healthy, but are “eco” (good for the environment too) since the containers are reusable, and that’s part of the Japanese culture too. The woman nods in agreement. The reporter continues and says that the book also shows how to make onigiri, and tells the reader that beginners can use plastic wrap if they want, or their bare hands, and shows both methods. Picture on the screen: someone’s pudgy little hands making onigiri!
Then they go on to those ecological reusable container, to talk about a French man who lives in Kyoto and runs a bento box retail site that is in French and English, selling bento boxes overseas. Picture on the screen of a good looking white guy at his keyboard! (That would be Thomas Bertrand of Bento&co , or in Japanese, ベルトラン・トーマスさん.) Looking at the site, they aren’t selling anything out of the ordinary (for Japanese people), but this is what is selling. Apparently, people (overseas) are seeing bentos in anime, wondering what they are, and coming to the site to get them for themselves. The other male commentator at the end of the desk interjects that perhaps bento boxes are of better quality than “lunch boxes”. [not sure what he meant here]
The reporter mentions again that maybe bentos are popular because they are ‘eco’…but there’s another aspect! He shows a Japanese charaben book  [by well known charaben bloggers Mrs. Asami  and Mrs. Kaerenmama ], and says that charaben are becoming very popular overseas too. [Interesting to note that the reporter takes the time to explain what a charaben was to the panel and audience. Just to show that charaben are just one type of bentos in Japan.] He shows two books, Face Food  and Face Food Recipes , both by Christopher Salyers, and several elaborate charabens featured in those books ar shown on screen. The panel oohs and aahs at them, but Mr. Suga interjects somewhat grumpily that “But a bento has to taste good!”
The feature ends with the reporter suggesting to the commentator at the end of the desk about the possibility of using bentos as tools to better international relations. The man jokes back to him that perhaps he can put together a proposal for a Bento Summit.
Here’s the Japanese page  about the feature.
In any case, I’m really happy that the reporter picked up on some of the things that I thought were important in the book, like the little tidbits of Japanese culture that I snuck in. And although they were just joking about it, I like the idea of an International Bento Summit! How would it go now…
I don’t check the Amazon.com page for The Just Bento Cookbook  too often, but I was taking a look yesterday and saw that it has reached 150 reviews! Most are 5-star reviews, with a few 4 and 3 star reviews (hey, you can’t please everyone). I didn’t ask people to review the book at all, so seeing that so many people have taken the time to post one is very gratifying. If you posted one on Amazon.com, or any of the other Amazons - thank you!
Also, with the exception of a few weeks here and there the book has been the no. 1 seller in the Japanese Cooking category on Amazon .com  for the last 2 years, and in the top 5 of the Asian category for a lot of that time too. I don’t know what to say about that really, except…I’m amazed and honored and very proud of my baby for being such an over achiever.
The Just Bento Cookbook reached another milestone recently too: it is now in its 7th printing overall - quite an accomplishment I think a first time author’s cookbook. I am so grateful that the book has continued to sell so well, despite my extended absences from this site and Just Hungry  over the past couple of years as I dealt with some health issues and so on.
I’ve been asked periodically if I’m working on another book. At the moment the answer is no. I was actually starting to gather the material together for another book proposal just after The Just Bento Cookbook came out in early 2011 — but then a whole lot of things happened: my original publisher suddenly closed shop (it’s now published by another subsidiary of the same company); the Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011 happened…and then I got sick and had to concentrate on getting better. I’m now a whole lot better physically of course - my cancer is in full remission, knock wood - and back to regular writing for my blogs as well as for The Japan Times  and other places. So I’m almost ready to get back into the fray of book writing…I’m just a bit undecided, and unsure even as to how to go about it. (If you want to offer me any advice, I’m all ears!)
Anyway, I just wanted to say: if you’ve bought a copy of The Just Bento Cookbook, thank you. I hope that it’s been useful for you. ^_^
The giveaway is now closed. The winners will be contacted and announced later this week. Thank you everyone for entering!
To commemorate the new edition of The Just Bento Cookbook , I’m going to give away 2 signed copies! The new edition has the exact same content as the previous edition, but just has a slightly different form factor (a wee bit smaller (but not much), and no dust jacket (but the cover is printed in full color)). I am very glad it has been reprinted again; as I mentioned before, the original publisher closed its doors in March, but the publishing rights were picked up by another division of the same parent company, Kodansha USA. So anyway, here’s your chance to get your hands on one! It’s too late to get the book to the winners before the holidays, but it should arrive in the New Year when you’re all ready to tackle those healthy/frugal eating resolutions.
All you have to do is leave a comment to this post (not an email reply if you are reading this by email: click on the title to come to site, and post your comment entry here!) Be sure to put your email address in the appropriate box (it will be hidden from prying spammers, not to worry) so that I can contact you if you win. In the body of your comment, state the following:
Only one entry/comment per person please! The deadline for posting your comment is 23:59:59 of Monday, December 19th CET (Central European Time). Two winners will be chosen at random, and I’ll contact them next week and announce them as soon as they’ve responded.
So…I look forward to seeing your comments! Good luck!
The winners of the Just Bento Cookbook New Edition giveaway  that concluded on Monday are...
* Melinda from Massachusetts, USA! and...
* Christoph originally from Germany, currently living in Osaka, Japan!
Congratulations to Melissa and Christoph! Their signed copies are winging their way to them as we speak (at least I hope so, if The Guy made it to the post office in time...otherwise they'll go out tomorrow ^__^;). And thank you to everyone who entered! I loved reading a little bit about you all. I am constantly amazed at how widespread the Way of Bento has spread around the world - who knew that there are bento fans in Egypt, and Panama, and Turkey, and a lot, lot more!
Anyway, Happy Holidays to everyone, wherever you may be!
A couple of updates about the status of The Just Bento Cookbook.
First up, I received word from several readers who had preordered the book, that they had received notification from Amazon.com that their books will be available on November 24th. I just checked the Amazon site , and they have updated their availability date to November 22nd! This is great news, since the original availablity date in the US was January 11th. Which means...you can get one in time for the holidays! (Makes a great present don't you think? hint hint ^___^) The Amazon page also has "Look Inside" so you can check the book out before buying. (The issue with way too much of the book being visible seems to have been fixed now.)
Secondly...it seems that the book has been selling so well just in preorder, that the publisher has already ordered a 2nd printing! This is pretty unusual I believe for any cookbook by essentially a first-time author (I'm not a first-time book author but it is my first cookbook) so I'm really happy about that.
The book has already been available in Japan and some other countries in Asia since late September, and I've already gotten a lot of great feedback about it. Hopefully that will continue once it's let loose in the US ^_^;.