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Ichiban Kan USA to close their online business, but other online bento supply merchants are doing fine

One of the major online sources for bento boxes and other supplies, Ichiban Kan USA, will be closing their mailorder business down as soon as they sell out their existing stock. I contacted some other popular online bento supply sellers to see how they were doing in the current economy, and the good news is that they seem to be doing very well. continue reading...

Weekly Bento Planner and Menu Planner forms now available in German

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The Weekly Bento Planner and Weekly Menu Planner with Bento printable forms have both been downloaded thousands of times. Now, they are available in German too, thanks to Antje. She has also offered to create other language versions too, if she is provided with the translations. So if you’d like to see the planner forms in your language, please download the original forms from their respective pages (Weekly Bento Planner link: Weekly Menu Planner with Bento link) and send in your translations to maki at makikoitoh dot com, and I will forward them to Antje.

Der Wochen-Mahlzeitsplaner und der Wochen-Bentoplaner, welche schon tausende male heruntergeladen wurden, sind nun in deutscher Sprache verfügar; vielen Dank, Antje!

Lily Allen asks for bento lunches, sort of

It seems that British singer Lily Allen is going to Japan for a concert tour - and she wants bentos! Well, sort of. Earlier today, she Twittered that she “put a traditional school packed lunch contained in lunchbox” on her rider, and posted a couple of photos. I wonder if she asked for the pink Hello Kitty box. Click on the thumbnail pics to see a larger view:

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The large box contains some typically Japanese sandwiches. The round container is fruit yogurt (yoghurt for you Brits), and the square box is juice. Yep, they have Doritos (ドリトス) in Japan. Looks like they are giving her the メキシカン・タコス味 (Mexican Tacos Flavor).

It does look like whoever is supplying the lunches did go for the most Western version of a ‘typical’ Japanese school lunch though. If they were going for a typical schoolkid’s bento lunch, where are the onigiri, the potato salad, the octopus wieners? :) She’s sure to like the sandwiches though, since Japanese sandwiches are very similar to English tea sandwiches- soft white sliced bread with lots of butter and a thin layer of filling. (via chotda/santos)

Some site news: Bento Gear Flickr pool, May contest deadline reminder, and more

Some site news: May bento contest deadline reminder, the Bento Gear Flickr pool, a cool bento blog, and a big thank you! continue reading...

Maki on the radio!

I was interviewed on WRS Geneva, an English-language radio station in Geneva (Genève), Switzerland, this past Tuesday, on their food programme called Stir It Up. The MP3 is up now for download (link now corrected!), so if you want to know how I sound, with a stuffed nose (from allergies…agh!) complete with my totally mixed up accent, my segment starts after the rhubarb at around 9:45. It might be of interest to people who want to know why I started blogging about Japanese food after moving to Switzerland of all places. I also talk about about the growing popularity of bento boxes! (Cross-posted to Just Hungry and Just Bento.)

Survey: What Japanese ingredients can you get where you live?

(The survey is now closed. Thank you to everyone who responded - your comments were and are truly useful to my project!)

In connection with a project I’m working on at the moment, I’d like to take a short 5-question survey of Just Bento and Just Hungry readers.

I assume you are here because you have at least some interest in Japanese food and cooking. My questions are as follows. continue reading...

Apologies if you got mass emails today from the site...that was the server burping loudly

If you have 'get notified for new replies to your comment' turned on, and you got mass emails today from the server (aka Onigiribot) for old comments, it was a technical glitch. My apologies! Short version: the database burped. Long version: I had to restart the database server, and somehow all 'anonymous' comments got unpublished. So, I was publishing them 20 rows at a time, before I realized that that would cause new notifications to go out again! (Massive thanks to Lyvvie for letting me know before I spammed more people!) Then I remembered the power of command line MySQL. Whew! So anyway, I'm really sorry if you did get tons of emails!

And...have a great weekend! ^_^;

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