kyaraben

Decorate bentos with your own stickers

Bento Challenge Week 4, Day 4

As I’ve stated here on these pages several times, while I greatly admire the artistry and skill of kyaraben/charaben artists, I rarely have the time to do such cute things. Not that I don’t like to get artsy and crafty - I do. But there are much easier ways of doing that. Why bother with cute touches to your bentos? Why, to put a smile on someone’s face of course, including your own. continue reading...

Bento no. 54: Hallowe'en Zombie Kitty Bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 480 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: Way too long! (About 2 hours)

Type: Japanese, kyaraben/charaban, special occasion, Homage to The Kitty continue reading...

Quick tip: Easy cute bento components with stickers

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No patience or time to make cute bentos? How about using stickers? continue reading...

Bento no. 52: Special Occasion Omuraisu (Omurice) Bento

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Bento contents:

  • Fried rice made with 2/3 cup brown rice and assorted chopped vegetables, 250 cal
  • 1 1/2 wiener sausages, 200 cal
  • Omelette made with 2 eggs, 230 cal
  • Broccoli, 20 cal

Total calories (approx): 700 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 20-30 minutes

Type: Japanese, kyaraben-ish, special occasion bento! continue reading...

Print publications from two top charaben/kyaraben artists

wakuwakukyaraben1.jpgAlthough the school year starts in April in Japan, September still means back-to-school time after the summer school holidays, so there are a slew of new bento books and such coming out. Two of top Japanese charaben/kyaraben (character bento) artists and bento bloggers have published things in print this month, which you might be interested in taking a look at if you are into this genre of bentos. (Yes they are all in Japanese, but they both are guaranteed to have big beautiful full color photos!)

First up is a mook (large magazine format book) from the lady who blogs under the nickname akinoichigo, titled akinoichigo’s Fun Fun! Character Bento (akinoichigoのわくわく! キャラクターのお弁当). Her work featured prominently in the Face Food book. I’ve always admired her elaborate, very cute yet refined bentos, especially her wonderful sense of color, which really sets her apart. Being a mook, it’s not that expensive either - only 980yen base price from Amazon Japan. Ms. akinoichigo also conducts bento seminars, so I’m assuming she’s a good teacher too!

The other publication is a supplement to the October 2008 issue of Ohayo Okusan (おはよう奥さん, which translates to Good Morning Mrs. Housewife), a women’s magazine aimed at well, housewives. (It’s sort of like Good Housekeeping in the U.S.) Anyway, the supplement, titled Asa tsukuranai! obentou (Bentos not made in the morning!) is all about bento lunches that are composed of make-ahead components that are just assembled in the morning. It’s authored by the bento artist asami122 (her blog post about it is here, where she has a photo of the supplement too), and includes some quick tips for charaben/kyaraben too. Ms. asami122 is the creator of the traditional kimono-clad Hello Kitty bento mentioned here. The attention to detail in her bentos is simply mind boggling. She too teaches charaben bento skills in small classes. The October issue of Ohayo Okusan isn’t available directly from Amazon Japan at the moment, but most Japanese bookstores such as Kinokuniya should carry it. One issue of Ohayo Okusan is only 540 yen, so it’s a bargain if you can find it!

Summer bento safety

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I’ve noticed that several kyaraben/charaben (cute bento) oriented Japanese bento blogs are scaling back on the intricacy of their bentos recently. It gets very warm and humid in the summer throughout most of Japan, so food safety is a big issue. Complicated charaben require a lot of handling of the food, which should be avoided when the weather is warm.

I have already put together a comprehensive list of bento safety tips, but here are some top summer bento safety tips. continue reading...

More fun bento and related links

It’s the weekend, so time for some more fun links…

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Have you seen this photo? It’s a Lego recreation by Mike Stimpson, aka flickr user Balakov, of a famous photograph called Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper. The original is a great classic, but I love the Lego version too. Both photos remind me how much fun opening up a lunch box after a morning of hard work can be. (You can buy a print of the Lego photo — how cool is that? ) continue reading...

Around the bento blogs

Here are some links of interest from bento blogs around the world: continue reading...