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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!

Shinzi Katoh bento supplies online

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Whenever I use the little apple shaped mayonnaise container in my bentos (as I did in the most recent bento no. 48) I always get comments or emails asking where they came from. It’s designed by Shinzi Katoh, a very popular graphic designer and ilustrator in Japan. Of interest to bento fans is the fact that he has designed several bento boxes and accessories. continue reading...

How Just Bento is organized, and finding your way around

I have noticed a lot of new visitors coming to Just Bento lately, so now is a good a time as ever to explain how the site is organized, and how to find your way around. (And if you are new here, welcome! I hope you enjoy the site!) continue reading...

Lock & Lock 'bento boxes' now available at Migros in Switzerland

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This is mainly of interest only to readers in Switzerland or in regions of France and Germany close enough to Switzerland to go shopping here. I couldn’t pass it up because it finally gives me a chance to talk about one of the most practical lines of bento-appropriate containers available, Lock & Lock. 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...

eBay gets rid of negative/neutral feedback for buyers

This is not quite bento-related, but I know that a lot of readers buy bento supplies from eBay merchants, so this news may be of interest. eBay has made a number of changes to their feedback policies, but the most significant one for most people is that sellers can no longer leave negative or neutral Feedback for buyers. If you’ve ever bought anything from eBay or other auction type sites, you know that feedback is a critical part of the trust system, so this is quite a big change. continue reading...

Hello Kitty bento decorating set now available at J-List

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Great news for fans of cute kyaraben, especialy Hello Kitty themed ones: the Hello Kitty bento decorating set that was featured in this post is now available at J-List/JBox! They offer it for $25, which considering the original Japanese price is 1980 yen is not too bad. Now Her Royal Kittiness can invade bento boxes worldwide with consummate ease! Now, can I resist getting a set myself?

(Note: I’m not sure from the description of the product if the second nori punch with the Kassie and Teddy faces is included - although the pictures do show Kassie and Teddy-shaped onigiri with the appropriate nori faces. If this is important to you, you may want to ask J-List if it is included before ordering.) Rita just got hers and let us know that it does include two nori punches!

(Disclaimer: JustBento is a J-List affiliate.) continue reading...