equipment and supplies

2010 Holiday Gift Guide For Bento Fans Part 2: $10-$50

xmas-onigiri3.pngWelcome to part 2 of the 2010 Holiday Gift Guide for bento fans! In Part 1 we covered $10-and-under stocking stuffers.

This time, we get the the price range where you can pick up a serious, high quality bento box and more. Selecting individual bento boxes is really a matter of individual taste, so I’ve selected a few that caught my eye for various reasons.




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2010 Holiday Gift Guide For Bento Fans Part 1: $10 and Under

xmas-onigiri.pngI haven’t done a Holiday Gift Guide since the year JustBento was born, way back in 2007 (yes, JustBento is 3 years old and a raving toddler!) The guide back then focused on the practical side of bento-ing, but this time I’m going to go all over the place and pick out items that are just fun, weird or cute as well as practical. I’ve picked up some items from around the internets that might appeal to bento lovers of all ages and tastes, and arranged them by price range (excluding shipping).

Things have changed quite a bit for bento gear fans in the past 3 years. Back then, you had to This year, I found so many great things available that I’ve divided this guide into parts based on price. First up: $10 (US) and under stocking stuffers! It’s a bit hard to find good quality bento boxes in this price range, unless you go for something plain and practical. But there are lots of gift-appropriate accessories that would appeal to bento fans. continue reading...

Comparing bento box materials (table)

Are you confused about what material is most appropriate for bento boxes? Plastic is easy available, or maybe you want something greener - but is the extra cost worth it? Here’s a handy comparison chart to help you make the right choices. continue reading...

How to see if a bento box is really the right size for you before buying

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You’ve browsed the bento blogs and flickr bento groups, and while you know that any appropriate box can be used for bentos, you’re hankering after a ‘real’ bento box. But bento boxes aren’t that cheap, especially if you’re ordering by mail. How do you know you’re getting a box that’s the right size for you?

You may have read what bento box sizes are considered appropriate for kids, women, men and so on. But that’s advice given for traditional-style Japanese bento meals, where about half of the capacity or more is taken up by tightly packed rice. If you’ll only be toting Japanese style lunches those recommendations are fine, but if you plan to mix it up with salad bentos, sandwich bentos and more, then the box-capacity recommendations may not apply to you.

So how can you really tell, before you spend the money for a bento box, if it’s the right size for your specific needs? continue reading...

May-June bento product highlights: "Bento Guy" bento boxes and accessories

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With Father’s Day coming up, I thought I’d take a look at some guy-friendly bento boxes and related items available from the bento retail world. While there is nothing to prevent a guy from using a pink bunny bento box with cherry and flower-themed chopsticks if he so chooses, most men may prefer their bentos to be a bit more understated. continue reading...

April bento product highlights

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This is something I plan to do regularly - a quick roundup of interesting and/or new bento products that are available from our wonderful sponsors - without whose support this site could not keep running - as well as other things in the bento-product world that have caught my eye. The April post got delayed because I was travelling, jetlagged and so on, but here it is! continue reading...

Where to buy bento boxes and accessories in Japan

Bento supply display shelf in local Japanese supermarket

So you are planning a trip to Japan. You want to stock up on bento boxes and accessories. Where should you go? There are stores to cater to many needs and budgets.

Note that this guide is biased towards the Tokyo metropolitan area, but the general principles apply to other areas of the country. continue reading...

What are Japanese plastic bento boxes made of? Are they BPA-free?

[I’ve substantially updated this article recently to answer some emailed questions about bento accessories and so on, so here it is again for your reading pleasure. Originally posted in August 2008.]

I recently got an email from a Just Bento reader concerning the plastic used to make bento boxes. She was concerned, since she couldn’t read the Japanese writing on the packaging. I’m sure a lot of other readers have similar concerns, especially given recent scares reported in the media about plastic containers leaching chemicals into food and beverages. Keeping in mind that I am not a scientist or expert, just a concerned consumer just like you, here’s what I’ve been able to find out by doing some research on various Japanese as well as English-language web sites. continue reading...