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First Anniversary Giveaway Day 5: My Too Short Hot Summer

This is the final day of the Just Hungry/Just Bento Anniversary Giveaway. It’s been a lot of fun going back to the past and sharing my memories with you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them!

And here’s the last chapter of my trips to the past, coming back to the present.

This, and all the giveaways, are now closed. Thank you for participating! The winners will be announced later this week! continue reading...

First Anniversary Giveaway Day 4: Love (?) in the pouring rain

It’s Day 4 of Giveaway Week, and I regale you with a tale of teenage puppy love. Well, sort of.

(This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for participating! The winner will be announced next week!) continue reading...

First Anniversary Giveaway Day 3: School outing bento memories

This is the third day of the week long giveaway party to celebrate the first anniversary of Just Bento, as well as the fifth anniversary of Just Hungry. (The first day of Just Bento’s part, and the second day.) Today’s bento memory is about school outings, or ensoku. continue reading...

First Anniversary Giveaway Day 2, with bento memories

This is the second day of the week long giveaway party to celebrate the first anniversary of Just Bento, as well as the fifth anniversary of Just Hungry. (The first day of Just Bento’s part is here.) While over on Just Hungry I’m looking back at the first five years of the site, here I’d like to go even further back in time, and talk about some memorable bentos from my past. (If you want to skip ahead, today’s giveaway is at the bottom.) continue reading...

Bento sightseeing in Oahu, Hawai'i

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I’m back home! I’ve posted more in-depth articles about my food-oriented experiences on Oahu over on Just Hungry (Part 1, Part 2) but I thought I’d talk briefly about some bento-related things I found there on Just Bento. I only had 6 days there, at least 3 of which I spent mostly beach-hopping, so I couldn’t cover much, but hopefully this gives a general overview. continue reading...

I'll be back shortly

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Just in case you follow Just Bento but not Just Hungry, and you’re wondering why there haven’t been any updates for a while, this is what happened. I’ll be back home in a few days though and back to regular bento making!

In the meantime, a picture from a couple of days ago. In the background is the Pacific Ocean, from Laie Point on the northeastern shore of Oahu, Hawai’i. On the dashboard of my rental car…two spam musubi! I still can’t say I am in love with them but they do sure fill a hole in the tummy very very well.

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!