kyaraben

All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

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Previously, I showed you how to make orange colored carrot rice. The make-in-a-few minutes microwave method was especially popular. So, here’s how to make pink (or purple) and green colored rice just as easily. The best thing about them is that they are colored just with vegetables - no hard to pronounce ingredients in sight.

I’ve used white rice for color clarity, but you could use regular or sprouted brown rice instead. I used leftover rice from the night before; you could also use defrosted frozen rice. continue reading...

Animal sausage magnets!

Just how ubiquitous are decoratively cut wiener sausages in Japan? Well recently, Suntory, the Japanese distributor for Pepsi, included some plastic magnets made to look like wieners (specifically ones from Nippon Ham Co.) made into cute animal shapes as giveaways with 1.5 liter bottles of Pepsi NEX (aka Pepsi Zero).

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The animal sausage magnets are 2.3 cm - 3.9 cm in size (around 1 to 1.5 inches), and they come in 8 shapes: elephant, lion, octopus (with a headband), sheep, bird, seal, hippo and penguin. Each one came with instructions for making the same animal out of a real wiener.

I’m not sure if these were aimed at kids or at their kawaii-things mothers, but judging from the blog reactions in Japan they seem to have been a big hit with the mothers in any case. This blog entry has photos of all 8 figures and how they come packaged. (The Silvania bunnies are there to demonstrate the goods.)

The figures are already showing up on Yahoo! Japan Auctions and such. continue reading...

My personal biases about kyaraben (charaben)

In response to the picnic bento I posted yesterday, Zoé asked:

Really cute! Hey, I read on your blog that you aren’t keen in cute cooking…was it a joke ;)

Good question! I thought I’d qualify what I meant when I said that cute kyaraben (charaben) are not really my style. 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...

Car themed bento!

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Before we start the weekend - car themed kyaraben eye candy. continue reading...

Kyaraben (charaben) how-to links for all skill levels

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Whenever I post about kyaraban/charaben (cute bentos) from Japan, there are often comments bemoaning the lack of how-tos on those kyaraben sites. There are how tos out there, but in many cases you need to read Japanese to follow them. But here are some links to how-tos with a lot of photos that you could follow along even without understanding the accompanying Japanese text. continue reading...

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!

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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...