Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course materials and further notes

The response to the Getting Into The Bento Habit course announcement has been overwhelming! I’m really glad to see so many people interested in participating. I’m busy getting things ready now.

Reading through the comments, there may be a little bit of misunderstanding about the objectives of this course, so I just wanted to clarify them here.

  • This is a course for total beginners - or, people who has never made a bento in their lives. If you’ve already been making bentos for some time you may find it too basic for you, or you may pick up some tips anyway.
  • It will not be a how-to-cook course per se (I’ll have courses about how to cook specific things later on, if this course goes well.) It’s about arranging your life and your cooking habits to incorporate bento-making into it without a whole lot of strain.
  • I won’t really be focusing on Japanese foods or ingredients. Again, I may have a course that focuses on that kind of thing later on. I am going to assume that a lot of people are interested in boosting the quality of their take-along lunches, but aren’t necessarily into eating mostly Japanese food. Of course bentos in Japan use a lot of Japanese food, but that’s rather impractical in other countries. My belief, as I’ve expressed in The Just Bento Cookbook as well as several times on this site, is that bentos are a way of thinking - a compact, tasty, appetizing and hopefully healthy portable meal - rather than traditional Japanese food per se. Getting to the point where you can assemble such portable meals at least once a week is the objective of this course.
  • While this course isn’t going to focus much on cooking, I am going to assume that participants do a least a bit of cooking, and access to basic kitchen facilities. By basic I mean: a sink, a refrigerator/freezer, a cooking range or hotplate, and maybe a microwave and/or conventional oven. I won’t assume for this course that you have a rice cooker.

Equipment and materials required for the course

I did say in the announcement that I’d have a list of required materials and supplies. It may not be what you thought it would be!

You will need:

  • A PC or other device for following the course (which you should have if you’re reading this!)
  • A digital camera (a cellphone camera is fine)
  • Some place to upload your photos online where they can be linked to. This can be your own blog, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, or whatever - as long as the photo is publicly viewable. (Due to the large number of expected participants, I can’t accept photos emailed to me.)
  • A notebook may be useful to keep track of things, although there will be printouts made available. (You could keep track on a blog or on Facebook, etc. too)

And that’s it! You don’t even need a bento box to start with for this course. As I wrote above I am going to assume you have a kitchen at least.

So, he course will start during the week of February 4th (Note: I’ll post the first lesson on the 5th, due to an unexpected technical glitch caused by Google Ads). I’m very excited, and hope you are too.

If you have any questions please leave a comment here.

(A note about the forum here on the site: A couple of people asked if they needed to sign up to the forum (or requested to do so). Unfortunately due to my long absence from blogging actively and so forth due to my illness and lack of updates to the system that runs this site (other than security updates), new user account registrations aren’t really working. So we won’t be using the forum this time — hopefully for future courses we can get it back up and running again. Note that if you already have a JustBento user account you can log in and post to the forum, but since we can’t accept new user accounts we won’t be using it for this course.)

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

45 comments

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Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Count me in! Just wondering, how often will course "work" (I don't really consider it work - it'll be fun!) be posted, and roughly when should we be posting our results?

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I'll be posting 1 to 2 "assignments" each week, and results should either be posted that week or the week after. I'll be posting specific "deadlines" for each assignment. It put both "assignment" and "deadlines" in quotes since anyone can jump in at any time of course, but I'll be concentrating on looking at peoples' results posted within the specified timed.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Just heard a bento-related story on NPR and am very interested in participating in the introductory course.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Considering a healthier life style would be in my best interest, looks like I'll be joining this as well.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I'm very excited about this course! I've done some bentos in the past, but I'm looking forward to having something that will help me get into the habit of making them more often.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I ordered the cookbook, it should arrive next week or so :) I'm really excited to start doing bento with this course as well!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

looking forward to this!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Even though I already make bento I can't wait for this to start!
It'll be great to see if I pick up some tips and it might even help me make better bento :)

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Hi,

hitting a BMI of 30 after the raclette on the very last day in the old year, i decided to change something in the new year. Not just another diet, but a lasting, durable concept. Fortunately, our daughter got a book to christmas with the title "Japanese For Beginners", because she is interested in languages and manga. And then she asked me to make her a soba soup with the recipe out of this book. Recherche. And also I found BENTO BOX. I take my food to work now in a monbento koi edition. Riding with a bicycle also adds a little bit. I lost by now 4 kilo. The main thing is for me: thinking about the food. The first thief I was catching, is the industrial sugar. In the break room there are always goodies on the desk. Now i have my bento box and a sac with two apples in slices. So far, I use my stock of antipasti recipes and the relics from the previous day (and in one late shift, my variation of the Nikujaga).
So participating and getting into the bento habit will be a good chance to stop with bad food habits i think. In 1999, I stopped smoking. A little later I began cycling. Perhaps the bento habit will be my food cycle state of mind.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

While this course focuses on building bento skills, will your focus be on making bentos for one person? If recipies are involved, will they be more suited for a person or two?

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

For this particular course, the number of people you'll be making bentos for won't make a big difference, but I'll address making bentos for one, for a couple, or for kids/a whole family too.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I've been a silent reader of your blogs for the past year or so, but that changes today. :)
I'm positively thrilled with the idea of this course! I live in an environment where processed food and instant noodles are considered regular staples and I have always wanted to break out of that habit. :D

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Maki, I am so excited to do this! It will be a challenge to do this with a relatively new baby in the house but since I asked for & received your book for Christmas, I can't wait to get started. And I am especially excited that you are BACK and have the energy & health to do this for your readers...very generous! Thank you...

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I can't wait! I've only made 2 bentos so far so I'm very much a beginner. This course should help motivate me to continue.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I'm not new to bento, but I've slacked off a lot recently. I think "Bento 101" sounds like a perfect way to ease back into it, and hopefully discover a few new things along the way. I'm so glad you're doing this!!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Awesome! I so want to do this! But I'll be abroad for the first week of the course. I just might be able to follow your posts, but I definitely won't be able to do any kitchen work until 9th or 10th of February. Can I still do this? I hope I can! :)

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Count me in. I've gotten out of bento as of late and look at this as a reboot
madbrewer

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I'm in! Can't wait to get started!! I have a huge (almost embarrassing) stash of bento supplies that are begging for attention. Get me motivated and back in the habit please!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I thought I was the only one xD

I'm so excited, can't wait to get this started !

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Can't wait!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Looking forward to getting into the habit of making more of my lunches, definitely hoping to participate in Bento 101.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Makiko, I bought your book (The Just Bento Cookbook), it just arrived and I am soooooo excited! I have never made a bento and am finally ready to try. Your introductory pages really put me at ease. I am looking forward to learning from you. As a working mom learning to go gluten free for an ADD kid, I am hoping that bento lunches will "add" to our lives. :-) Will be checking regularly for assignments. :-)

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

You mention using Flickr or Instagram as places to post our photos of assignments. I have accounts with both, I was just wondering if there was a specific group on Flickr to join or a certain # or @ on Instagram we should label our photos with?

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Good question! On Flickr you can post to the JustBento Flickr group. Having a hashtag is a great idea - I'm thinking #bento101. I'll post about that later. Thanks for bringing it up!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Thank you! I have joined the Flickr group. :-)

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

First off, I am so glad you are feeling better!! I have been thinking of you and praying for your recovery these past several months. And...I am SO excited for this course! I have the Just Bento cookbook, and when I wake super-early I occasionally do bentos, but I want to learn to make this a more effortless habit. Eventually a daily one!

Question for you, Maki-- Is there some kind of fee for the class? Do we just get our assignments here or will there be a separate site we'll be working through? Thanks so much for doing this!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

No fee at all! All the assignments and so forth will be posted on this site. Participants can just follow along on their own and keep their results and so on to themselves, or share them on their blogs, in comments on this site or on the Facebook page.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

This sounds like a fantastic idea, I'm trying to save money this month so very excited to get involved!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

A humble suggestion for bento newbies--a flat plastic sandwich container generally holds about 500 mL and is fairly cheap and easy to find. I tend to use either a locking-lid sandwich container or a two-tier bento box, because I like having lots of variety in each meal. Silicone baking cups are a bit too tall for a sandwich container, but if you don't mind cutting off the tops of some of them, you can make bento separators that fit, even if you don't have easy access to bento supplies in your area.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I'm excited! I recognize this is really for newbies, but I'm hoping to gain more insight. I started bento-ing right around the time you started having major health problems and didn't post as often. I found the archives invaluable, but I think the course will set up some basic groundwork that I missed. Thank you for this opportunity!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I've been looking at both your sites for a little while and i'm really excited about this...Thank you so much for all your ideas and explanations.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I ordered the cook book and am very excited about this course.
I'm looking forward to learning more.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

haha yes! im so excited! even though im not a beginner this is the perfect way to learn something new and pack low cost healthy meals for myself while on this diet meal plan.
You're awesome maki!
thanks!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Hi, Maki-san.

I've been lurking on your site for a couple of years now, and love your recipes. Haven't tried many of them yet, but there's always a first.
I'm studying Japanese at university, and have been hoping to get the hang of bento making for a while. So, I'd love to participate in the course.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I've just started looking into the idea of packing lunch for the family, and remembered watching Totoro when I was a kid when the daughter makes lunch for the day. I started researching Bento boxes today and can't wait for your course to learn more :)

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Sweet I just received my bento boxes. If I'm doing a bento, I'm gonna do it in style :)

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

My daughter and I intend to enroll and participate. We both have bento boxes and the cookbook She likes taking her bento box to high school and I take mine to the office.

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I am really excited for this, but the post says it was supposed to start on Feb. 2nd and it's the forth. Am I missing something?

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I had to delay the start of the course since we ran into this problem http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2013/02/google-chrome-malware-... but the first lesson is now up!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

how do I join?

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

Yeah this sounds like a lot of fun!

At the moment i'm 14 weeks pregnant, so i want to start to eat better luches for me and my growing bump! ;)

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I'm really excited about this course! I've been looking into Bento for a long time now, and am happy that someone is making this easy!

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

i hope i understand all well! i've noticed the absence, also if i have never commented and sometimes have difficulty on understand (nothing serious. i think i write worse than i read. sorry for any mistake.)
i'm really happy about this course! i would really follow it. thank you very much

Re: Bento 101: Getting Into The Bento Habit course ...

I just bumped into this - cool. I'm working 12 hours a day out of my home office and need both a break from work and better quality lunches.

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