other

How to cook lotus root on Just Hungry

Just in case you follow Just Bento but not Just Hungry, I’ve put up How to cook lotus root over there. Lotus root is a nice alternative starchy vegetable, with lots of fiber. Plus it looks pretty without the need to fuss with it - perfect for bentos. (This is for you fossettes :))

The 2nd Sanrio Character Bento Contest winners are announced

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the first Sanrio Character Bento Contest. The results of the second round of the contest, which will hopefully become an annual event, have just been announced. The winner of the Gold prize (called the Golden Kyarabenist award) is this tour de force picnic lunch!

sanrio2008-1.jpg

The winner has a kyaraben blog (in Japanese of course), and she talks about her winning entry. She says she got her inspiration for this bento from the cute egg carton. (I like using egg cartons as disposable bento containers too, though mine are not even close to this level of cute). [Update:] Digging deeper into her blog, it turns out she was also the winner of the Yokohama bento contest too. She is one talented bento artist.

More after the jump… continue reading...

Yokohama Kyaraben contest

Here is another kyaraben or character bento contest to enjoy. This one is a little different - it was sponsored by the Sotetsu Group 150 Project, an ongoing event by a railway and transportation company in Yokohama commemorating the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Yokohama. The winners of the contest were announced on April 1st.

This is the top winning entry, a truly impressive tour-de-force that depicts the landscape of the Yokohama area. I especially love the blue jelly or kanten (agar-agar) cups that represent the ocean.

yokohama_kyaraben1.jpg continue reading...

Mostly offline for a week or so

Hi folks. I will be mostly offline for a week or so. Some new articles that are already written up will (if it works out) get posted but replying to comments and so on will have to wait a bit. Here’s why in case you don’t follow Just Hungry too. I’ll be back though! :)

(Update on my status is here.) \

Filed under:

Takupapa, a father who makes cute bentos

The author of the book Face Food: The Visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes (my review here) Christopher Salyers, has an excerpt of the interview he did with the one father/bento creator that appears in the book.

Takupapa (meaning the father of Takkun, his son’s nickname) started making cute kyaraben for his son when his wife was hospitalized. Quoting from the interview:

What is Charaben to you?

Charaben is a collection of precious times I spent with my son. Each and every Charaben has an episode, and I hope they will become good memories when he grows up.

And here’s the link to Takupapa’s bento blog (in Japanese). Takkun has one year left to go in kindergarten, and Takupapa plans to continue making those cute bento for him until he enters first grade in the spring of 2009.

(Incidentally, someone asked me if there is a difference between charaben and kyaraben. There isn’t - it’s just two ways of spelling out a Japanese word. The original is キャラ弁, and it’s a combination of キャラクター (character) and 弁当 (bento). I prefer the phonetic kyaraben, since I keep reading charaben with the ch part pronounced as in chair.) continue reading...

Bento items of the week: Hello Kitty theme bento making tools and more

kyarabengoodiesmosaic.jpg

The kyaraben (cute character bento) artist in Japan does not have to go it alone, armed only with basic tools. There’s a big array of specialized tools that she (or the rare he) can use. I saw this company’s products mentioned in several Japanese kyaraben blogs as being easy to use and innovative. And indeed they seem to be. continue reading...

More single item recipes for mix-and-match bento making

I’ve been doing a lot of background organizing on Just Bento, now that it has a few months under its belt. So far, I’ve been featuring mainly bento staples or johbisai, things that you can make in advance and stock in the freezer, refrigerator or elsewhere. There are lots of things that aren’t well suited to cooking in advance (or any earlier than the night before) though. So I’ll be writing up more individual item recipes. continue reading...