Bento Wisdom

10 Sep

I received an interesting question from one of my blog readers, which I’d like to share in this post with my answer as well as some useful information.

    Question:

Hi Kirin, I have a question for you. In America, when we pack food for the day to take to work, school, or where ever is out of the house. We pack it with ice if it need to be refrigerated. Do you do that with bento boxes? When the children take there bento’s to school, is there a place to put the bento’s to keep them cool or do you use ice packs too? Thanks so much for being here to answer my question 🙂

    My Answer:

Due to economic downturn, Japanese people are so enthusiastic about Bento these days in order to save money from everyday’s lunch. This bento fad is a good chance for bento goods industry to make a profit. Shops such as LOFT or Tokyu Hands apparently spare more room for bento sales space. While kawaii useful bento goods are available at 100yen shop, too. Also, great innovation today I must remark here is a wasabi power sheet just like the one in the photo below. (You may want to take a look at the description on the page of the link below.)

Nobody wants food poisoning especially during summer. Enclosing refrigerant in a inside pocket of cool storage bag is another good way that we keep bento in good condition. While in the winter period, without the refrigerant (of course), we can keep warm bento as warm enough by lunch time. Yes, the bag can be thermal or cool box depending on how we use it!

We have so many kawaii bento bags as follows, for example.

I think this one is good for men.

For cat lovers

I personally think they are kawaii~<3

Or Rilakkuma one is also cute~. 🙂

These bags are only some samples I roughly found from Rakuten. (But I mean the Rakuten for the locals version.)
(If any of you are interested in purchasing any of them, just let me know.)

Well…our bento devices and kawaii bento goods as well as bento box of various kinds make us feel like starting kawaii bento lunch.
But to be honest with you, I personally don’t like to make bento by myself, and I hate to wash bento box 8 hours later, facing the left-over from 8 hours ago or the dirtiness after food was eaten. My husband shared with me the conversation he had with his co-worker before. I just laughed at that, but I never changed myself as a good wife as a bento maker. lol

co-worker: Are you married? Then your lunch must be bento that your lovely wife made for you, right? How envious~~!
hubby: Yes, I’m married but…unfortunately my wife doesn’t make bento for me. She doesn’t like it…
co-worker: Oh…sorry for asking that…and I’m sorry for you…
hubby: No, it’s OK…let’s go buy bento outside.

Bento sold at any stalls is as cheap as 300-600yen. Then why do I bother to spend extra 1 hour for making a bento for him? I’d rather work extra hours to earn that money. (Well, I’d rather ask him to work…to be exact! :p You see I’m not a good wife. lol)
One time I was seriously worried how I could survive in this world when I were to become a mom of small kids who beg me to make charaben. After all I only became a mom of a small dog, I’m relieved she wouldn’t beg me anything but the dog food and some treats. 🙂

Finally, speaking of our wisdom, the Japanese use Umeboshi (a pickled plum) which prevents bento from going rotten. And some frozen food nowadays are so intelligently made that they are defrosted with normal temperature for a few hours. Such frozen food can be packed as frozen, but without microwave it can be best condition at lunch time. It also helps bento keep cool and that doesn’t even need refrigerant.

Kawaii peaceful TV commercial for frozen food, especially designed for bento. (I think this is normal frozen food, unlike the one above mentioned.) 🙂

Unlike me, if you like bento life, check out what we have in Japan. I’m sure these wonderful bento goods will make your bento life more convenient and enjoyable. Haha, it sounds not convincing when someone like me who don’t like preparing bento speak more about bento here. FYI, I’ll share the links to Japanese bento blogs where you can learn what kind of bento Japanese people make and eat everyday. If you find any specific blog that you find interesting enough to follow, let me know. I will negotiate the author of the blog to guest post on my blog for my readers. (Maybe I can help translation.)

Bento blogs from Japan
-Bento blog ranking at “Blog Ranking
-Bento blog ranking at “Blog Mura
Bento blog portal site
Deco Bento from Cookpad

I’d rather ask for your thoughts and let me finish my answer for this question over here. 🙂 Also, if you have any questions you want me to answer like this in my post, please feel free to contact me.

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27 Responses to “Bento Wisdom”

  1. Walter September 10, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Thanks a lot for the links on Bento goods. I was running out of stuff to buy when I hit the shops 🙂
    Preparing food can be a lot of work copared to how quickly it gets eaten. But i do it from time to time, to get something on my table that I can't find in the shop. Like really good soup or my Flemish stewed beef http://brandnewbearings.blogspot.com/2009/02/vlaa

    • kirin September 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

      Yeah…I think I'm too realistic. If my husband enjoys food more, I'd enjoy cooking more, but he is not interested in eating anything. He just says, "Eating makes me tired, I wish I didn't need to eat anything. I wish I never felt hungry entire life."

      I also think it's got to have something to do with my family who didn't enjoy family meal because my parents hated each other badly. Thus, I think I'd rather prefer eating outside with close friends before I know.

  2. Sharon September 10, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    haha @ the conversation between your husband and his co-worker !
    i think even though it is cheap to get a bento, it will be good if kirin-san can surprise your husband occasionally… home prepared bento taste better cause the person who is eating it tastes love as well !

    • kirin September 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

      Good comment, Sharon. I wish he can feel something from what I make. He is very strange, he eats meals because he has to. I cannot think of anyone who's not interested in eating but my husband. He eats very very slowly and gets so tired from eating. It looks like eating is the hardest job he has to have day after day. 😦

  3. Rebecca September 10, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Thanks so much Kirin, your so sweet for answering my question 🙂 It was very helpful…Thanks!

    • kirin September 10, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

      My pleasure!!! ^__^

  4. sedonia2 September 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    I like those lunch bags – especially the ones with the cat. I'll have to keep these in mind for friends' birthdays.

    • kirin September 10, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

      Oh, it's good for a birthday gift, too. Good idea. ^ ^

  5. Maria September 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    I love that Rilakkuma bento bag, very cute 🙂
    Thank you for this post Kirin! I will begin in new job on Friday and I had totally forgotten about lunch at work 😀 There are no restaurants or stores near there so I need to make a bento for myself 🙂 Without this post I probably would go to work on Friday and then realise I had nothing to eat with me.
    My husband doesn't want me to make bento for him. He wants to go eat with his co-workers and he often forgets his lunch in his car (cleaning away food that has sit in warm for 10h is..eww).

    • kirin September 10, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

      Oh ^ ^; good to hear that this post even worked as a reminer to you!
      I'd feel sad or bad or mad if my husband forgets bento I made for him. It's kind of sad to throw away food that you made, no?

  6. lartlamour September 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    Hi, thanks a lot for sharing all those nice things with us. Do you know where can I find a good soya milk maker in Tokyo?
    I'm going to Tokyo on next month, and I really want buy a good one in order to make tofu at home. Do you know any good brand to recommend me?
    Thank you very much!

    • kirin September 10, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

      I'm sorry I have no experience of making tofu by myself, but I just googled in Japanese and found this link. http://www.e-expo.net/materials/010461/0004/

      If you are not satisfied with tonyu (soy milk) sold at supermarket, you'd have to use mail order as above to reach the one with highly selected ingredients. (Above product is made from 100% soya beans cultivated in Japan and some special water to make it tastes better.)

      It's very strange but I rarely eat tofu or miso, even though I'm Japanese. lol

  7. Sabrina September 10, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Thank you for this very interesting post! It is funny because here in Montreal, Canada, bento boxes are becoming kind of popular. Even if Japan is very far from Canada, there is still an ''Influence'' 🙂

    • kirin September 10, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

      Depression is now world-wide scale. No wonder bento becomes popular in the world. ^ ^

  8. Steven Stier September 10, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

    There are some excellent ideas in this post. And in the comments. When I pack my lunch, I put 2 plastic bottles of frozen water in the cooler with the food. It keeps the food cold and I can drink the water as it melts. Also, I am too cheap to buy bottled water. So I just refill some bottles that I bought years ago.

    • kirin September 10, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

      My husband asks me to refill the water in the bottle he bought a long time ago, too! He is a good saver as much as you are, and I'm the one who waste money for starbucks and bento sold outside, as well as beauty goods and something kawaii. One of the reasons he got married with me was to save me from dying. lol

      I just asked him after I read some comments to this post, what bento that I make for him means to him. (You know I expected if he feels love…etc.) His answer was this. "Bento is good, we can save money, right?" lol Then just buy bento outside and let me save my time, I thought. :p

  9. Junko September 11, 2010 at 12:13 am #

    awe i love bento! I want the kitty bento bag! I dont have any bento bags. -.- i have two bento boxes http://www.amazon.com/Kotobuki-280-129-2-Tiered-B… that one and http://www.allthingsforsale.com/1365-authentic-ja… that one(but not the whole set just the box). i like the panda one more, but i use them both. before when i attended high school i would make a bento every morning, i got so tired of doing it but they are so Kawaii to me. that commercial is Kawaii heh ;P
    xD

    • kirin September 13, 2010 at 5:00 am #

      I see you like panda! I remember your panda cap, too. lol
      Glad you understand why I thought the commercial was kawaii. 🙂

  10. Sparklewolfie September 11, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    I used to be very into making bentos, but then I did not have the time or creativity any more 😦

    Now here in Taiwan it is so easy to get cute bento supplies like egg shapers, etc. but I am too lazy to go buy it to make bentos!

    I follow some English bento websites too I can share here:
    http://anamericaninbento.blogspot.com/ http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/ http://lunchinabox.net/ http://justbento.com/ <<This is my favorite! More updates http://www.aibento.net/

    • kirin September 13, 2010 at 5:00 am #

      Thank you for sharing all these links!
      It looks like nowadays bento is very common in the world. More and more people are good at making bento!

  11. Miki September 15, 2010 at 3:08 am #

    Haha, I loved that commercial! So lively.."SENSEI!" "o: …" "Koala desu :D"

    I have been wanting to try and make bentos for a while now, my high school serves pizza, hamburgers, cheeseburgers and other typical-American food everyday xP You get sick of it after a while…

    • kirin September 15, 2010 at 11:37 am #

      That part also made me 😀 !
      I cannot think of the option of only those foods. 😦 I think bento is a lot healthier and better in this case!

      • mikidii September 17, 2010 at 3:28 am #

        Haha! 😀
        Ah well,apparently my classmates can live with it. D: Im not the biggest fan of meat (especially in summer. I eat cold things in summer and hot things in winter.) so I've never actually been "addicted" to greasy junk food. Most of the time my mommy dearest makes me her delicious salad. ❤ Its got lettuce, carrots, celery and sunflower seeds in it with some lime juice. ❤ Its quite tasty.

      • kirin September 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

        Sounds nice~~~<3
        Lime is expensive in Japan. Last time when I saw them in a supermarket, I gave it up because the price was ridiculously high (I forgot now how much it was though). 😦

  12. KingaTat May 9, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    It is my dream to go to Hanami around my place and enjoy beautiful medow, under a blooming tree.
    I'm sooooo inspired by Your post Kirin, that I should try to make some tadashii obento, invite my family and friends and be happy obento – ing. There so many beautiful trees and meadows around here. I can't wait for the Sun to shine . :).
    I would like to share some picks from this happy time, if you like.

    Thank You so much and sweet wishes for Pi- chan.
    I

    • kirin May 10, 2011 at 5:11 am #

      That is a fabulous and exciting idea! Yes, please share your pics with me by email when you did that.
      I'm sure you will find the bento so yummy when you eat it in nature. ^_^ Your neighbors are lucky!

  13. Jill Lutz May 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Thanks for sharing Ure bento goodies with Us all!! I am actually a BIG FAN of Bento… Ure links and sources shown are so Cute
    Kawaii 4 sure~

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