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Take a virtual bento shopping trip in Japan (part 1)

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Recently, Mark from CalorieLab went shopping armed with a camera in Japan, and took some pictures of the bento supply displays at several stores. He’s very kindly allowed us to share them with you here. So come along for a virtual bento supply shopping trip in some typical stores in Japan. continue reading...

The care and watering of wooden and lacquerware bento boxes

Since I’ve recommended two wooden boxes as the Bento Box of the Week so far, a few people have asked how practical wooden bento boxes are. continue reading...

Review of Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals On The Go

Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals On the Go is, I believe, the only book available in English at the moment that is wholly dedicated to Japanese bento box lunches. I didn’t have much incentive to get this for myself, but someone kindly sent me a copy to take a look at recently, so I can finally review it properly.

This slim softcover book (64 pages) is published by a Japanese publishing company. It’s quite obviously a translation from a Japanese book, one I am guessing published about 10 years ago (the publication date of this English version is 2001). I’m not familiar with the author, Naomi Kijima, though that doesn’t mean much. The bentos are very attractive, if a bit old-fashioned in feeling, and the photographs are beautiful. continue reading...

Bento box of the week: Magewappa bento box from northern Japan

magewappa1.jpgMagewappa means bent woodware; it’s a traditional hand craft of Odate, which is located in Akita Prefecture in northern Japan. Straight grained pieces of Akita cedar are bent in circular shapes to form the sides of containers. The bent wood is then fastened with a contrasting dark bark or wood strips.

There’s been a resurgence in the popularity of magewappa ware, so it’s made around the country, but this box comes from Akita, where I think the craftsmanship is still the best.

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Bento box shopping news

A quick bit of shopping news for UK and European bento fans: it looks like Japan Centre, who recently teamed up with Japanese “100-yen shop” giant Daiso, is slowly starting to carry more Daiso lunch bento boxes and supplies. See the current list of offerings here. Maybe if they prove popular they’ll carry more bento supplies! continue reading...

Important edit to the Menu For Hope prize listing

I should never try to post blogs at 3 AM, because I omitted an important detail for the Menu For Hope prize description (which I’ve edited now). Any bento box featured up until the December 21st deadline as Bento Of The Week can be selected as your prize, even if the retail price goes over the limit. So if you fell in love with that gorgeous handcarved box that was featured last week, you can enter for a chance to win it! continue reading...