Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in less than 5 minutes!

I am a bit wary of putting Japanese YouTube videos here, because soon after I do they seem to be taken down. But I’m taking a chance with this one (via sherimiya on Twitter) because it’s just too funny. It’s from a program on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System), one of the major Japanese TV networks, called Jitan Seikatsu Gaido Shou (時短生活ガイドショー), an infotainment show about how to save time in all kinds of ways. (Shows like this make me want to move back to Tokyo, seriously.) In this segment, a mother manages to get her small son out of bed, ready and dressed for school, and make his bento, in about 4 1/2 minutes.

Despite the wackiness, there are a few ideas that look really useful, especially for bento making. The electric hot plate with indentations is a takoyaki pan (she has it preheated, which is cheating a bit). She uses the indentations to cook a couple of slices of wiener sausages (franks), boil broccoli, and cook tamagoyaki. She also makes onigiri by dumping some rice and furikake into a screwtop jar, and having her son shake the jar around while he wiggles into his pants. I’m not sure about the pants part, but the jar looks like a great idea for making small round onigiri. I’ll have to try both the jar and the takoyaki pan sometime.

Another food related speed tip the mom shows is making a tuna sandwich (just squirt mayo on bread and add a couple of spoonfuls of canned tuna) with the crusts trimmed off and the edges sealed, by using a plastic box as the bread cutter. This type of sealed-edge sandwich is all the rage in Japan at the moment, and you can buy cutter gadgets that accomplish the cutting and sealing task, but the plastic box is a great cheap idea. It may only work on Japanese sliced bread though, which is rather stretchy and squishy. (It may work on British sliced bread too, or Wonderbread in the U.S.)

She also juices a whole apple by freezing and defrosting it. Not sure about that…

Here’s another video from the same series, showing how a single ‘salaryman’ gets ready in less than 5 minutes, including filtered coffee, bacon and eggs and toast for breakfast:

I am both in awe and slightly fearful of my countrymen and women.

What time-saving measures are part of your morning routine, bento related or not?

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.

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Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

That made my morning - thanks Maki!

As soon as the first one started playing, I thought "yeah, cute, but doesn't quite top Jinnai's salaryman one" (Jinnai <3) - then I scroll down and you've put that one in, too! Gotta love the 「はい、ご飯。」as she plonks the sandwich in front of her son. It's just so at odds with that Japanese mentality of lovingly prepared meals for your family : )

As for time-saving in the morning, I don't really, I just turn up to work a bit late some days. I've recently switched to making pots of tea rather than a cup, though, so there's enough to fill up a thermos mug that lasts me through peak hour gridlock. Not very exciting or innovative, but there you go.

Better go make a start on the rice...

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

"She also juices a whole apple by freezing and defrosting it. Not sure about that…"
> Hey, if it works, I'm all about it. Right now in Washington state, we get all the cheap apples on sale from the last season's cold storage. I could potentially freeze them to use for hot cider over the fall & winter! Hmm...

"I am both in awe and slightly fearful of my countrymen and women."
> Yeah, I'd be too. But I have to say the necktie thing is pure magic. Though it seems a bit wasteful in the salaryman's routine if you used new foil and coffee filters every day. I assume you'd just have to toss them afterward.

I agree the takoyaki pan is an awesome idea for cooking small portions of whatever, and it never occurred to me that you could steam vegetables, etc. in one.

To make my morning routine quicker, I don't do much beyond laying out my clothes and having a pot and cast iron pan on the stove ready for oatmeal/grits or bacon/eggs, whatever strikes the mood. Going through bizarre acrobatics for a just-in-time departure might stress me out more than just having to get up a half hour earlier. Plus it seems like there's a greater chance your child might forget their gym clothes or textbook, or you might forget your pants or something. Or a few pages for a cookbook deadline submission ;)

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

This is really awesome! I haven't watched the second one yet, but I'm in awe of your countrypeople too, Maki.

What I did in the morning when I was younger:

1. Set out all clothes at night.
2. Put out all food that doesn't need to be refrigerated (like oats or grits when I was in the US)
3. Have bag and coat next to the door.

In the morning:

1. Get dressed and eat.
2. Set clock for 10 minutes before bus comes.
3. Go back to sleep, vampire style (sitting up with my arms crossed over my body, so my clothes wouldn't get wrinkled)
4. Get up, do hair, go catch bus.

Lately I sort of have a policy in which I don't sit still until everything is done, so this means I go around half dressed in the mornings!

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

I usually prepare my clothes the night before so i don't lose like 10 minutes deciding what to wear for work. this is the mos time-wasting morning activity for me.
I also prepare my bentos the night before, and prepare my purse and portfolio in advance so i just grab them and leave ^^

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Thanks, maki, I loved both videos!!It was great! What did the mother write on the child's T-shirt?

Yes it is a little wacky at times, but thouroughly entertaining... I have been giggling for ten minutes!!

I loved the quick tuna-mayo sandwich, I might use that trick on my husband!!

My personal trick in the morning is to set up my pot of coffee, make my bento and lay my clothes the night before. To be extra quick, if I have not had time the night before, I beg my husband to make my bento!!
;-)

When is your book coming out, Maki?

Axelle (still giglling!!!)

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

The salaryman video was a huge hit in the social media world. I actually saw it on TV here in Tokyo — they have crazy shows here, don't they? SUGOYI! I love the bento-making one. How on earth did she juice a defrosted apple by hand??

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

very useful stuff. If there is anything i hate is fighting the kids in the morning. I'll adopt this... :))

תוכנית עסקית

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Why did Mom write something on his t-shirt? Was that his name?

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Wow! Those two videos are making me rethink my morning routine. To make things go quicker in the morning, I try to make my bento the night before, have my outfit set up and I take short showers (in drought-stricken Southern California, it's a must anyways). I don't wear much make-up or do anything with my hair, so it makes it pretty easy going. I'll also take my breakfast on the road with me, if possible (like the toasted bagel I wrapped in a napkin before walking down the road to the train station).

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Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

That was so cute, and I agree that some of the ideas were really interesting. I would love one of those pans. I am also wondering why she wrote on a t-shirt.

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

It's for his gym clothes ("taisougi"). Sometimes when the clothes are washed, the name fades. She wrote "Murakami" on the shirt, which is probably their family name.

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Wow, thanks for the videos, they were hilarious, they made my day!

I agree these have totally made me think about how long it takes me to get ready, although I am neither a salaryman or a mother, perhaps there are more things I can do to speed it up (so I can get more sleep:P).

Great post! I love your blog, keep up the great work.

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

I think the apple is a good idea actually, because (according to an Alton Brown's Good Eats episode I watched once on freezing things) fruit apparently turns to mush if you just freeze it and defrost it (something about the water in the fruit freezing and forming sharp crystals that make little cuts in the fruit's flesh). So I guess it technically shouldn't be that hard, and it's a nice way to get a cold and refreshing (and with no added sugars) drink!

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

This was so funny!

I don't have many "speed tips" but I always make my bento and pack it the night before, so it's ready in the fridge (with any extras like apple, sachets of miso etc balancing on top so I don't miss them) when I get up. Maybe missing out on that "just made" freshness, but it's worth it for me in terms of one less thing to get stressed about in the mornings!

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

I make bento the night before, too. It's just easier. The food still tastes fine, imho.

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Thank you very much for posting the vids here. I loved both of them. Though i dont have to save "that" much time in the moring as i cook my lunches in a big batch once a week and portion them. (what can i say, im a single guy who dont cook much!) but i do have 5 bento boxes, so all lunches are premade!
the only thing is I love the taste of fresh cooked rice. so each moring i have to steam a new batch. Though i did start freezing some after i read your article on how to freeze rice.(thanks again!)

I love your post and cant wait to get a copy of the bento book!
Good Luck!
Odis

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

These are awesome xD But I can't abide what he did to his coffee. Microwaving your beans? Blasphemy! He might as well have had instant coffee *shudder*.

I do about the opposite of speeding things up. I tend to eat better and be more awake when I enjoy my morning (I wake ~1 hour before I have to leave). Honestly, I think that speeding up food is one of the main reasons for obesity, as you stop noticing when you're full, and it intrinsically de-values food so you notice its effects less.
[/rant]

That said, I have occasionally forgotten how to tie my shoes the "traditional" ways, now that I know about this:
http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/ianknot.htm
Yes, it's an entire site devoted to shoelaces, and quite fascinating. At least check that knot out though, it's several times faster and MUCH easier than forming those frickin' loops.

The writing on a shirt thing etc.

I should have explained that, but I was in a bit of a hurry and only wanted to touch on the food related stuff! Anyway, in Japan, schools often send letters home to moms (and dads) requesting that the kids bring in stuff that has been clearly labeled with their name on it. That white shirt is for gym class. She was indeed writing down her son's name (the last name (family name) it looked like). The point of the t-shirt writing part though was the paper she put underneath, inside the shirt. She used a piece of sandpaper, which secured the fabric so that it was easy to write on with the felt tip pen, and also prevented bleed through. (Someone in the audience yells out to her 'why are you doing it in the morning when you're so busy!' though ^_^)

Let's see...some other things: The outfit the kid has on is a typical kindergarten uniform (the smock and the hat). The across-body satchel is also a typical kindergarten bag. (Once he goes to elementary/primary school, he will have a _randoseru_, a leather backpack of sorts (Wikipedia).

Mom is wearing a typical young housewife's outfit - loose dress with a big apron or smock over it.

Also, as you see in both videos, nowadays many people sleep on beds rather than on futons on tatami mat floors. And most people have bread for breakfast rather than rice and miso soup.

So many cultural references in such a little segment eh?

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

I lay out my outfit for the next day before I go to bed - but not in such a way that I can summersault into them! :) I also place my purse, keys, ID badge in a place where I can just "grab and go." I also have a specific order I do my morning routine in, so that I don't have to really think in the morning, but instead can run on "auto pilot."

As for packing my lunch: I have carbs and protein pre-made for my bento... but that is about the extent of my morning preparation.

Great video! I really enjoyed it.

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Amazing! Hope the kid will not be making nightmares about it! The bento seems so easy! I had a good laugh watching this!

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

The woman who plays the mom is one of my favorite Japanese comedians. She's been in a few dramas that I've seen (I'm so addicted to Japanese dramas). I can never remember her name, though. *goes to look it up* Murakami Tomoko!

She's always hilarious. Thanks for sharing this! :D

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Mmm I cheat. I shower and make my bento the night before and stash it in the fridge and leave my purse by the door when I come in. In the morning I get up about 10 minutes before I have to go. My wardrobe is almost exclusively mix and match so I keep all my blouses on the top rack and all skirts and pants on the bottom (with work and casual separated). I grab something from each level just checking to make sure I don't grab one of the few non black pants or skirts (aka a purple skirt and an orange blouse) and head into the bathroom where I get dressed. Then I go grab my lunch from the fridge and any portable snackage I want for breakfast, pick up my purse and walk out the door. I guess the worst thing I do is I don't brush my hair before I leave the house. I've got a 20 minute drive to work and either plenty of stoplights or if I hit all greens a few extra minutes in the parking lot to run a brush through my hair and I don't wear makeup. Yeah I'm not a morning person by choice.

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Ditto, Angela. Your routine and schedule are pretty much identical to mine, but I do wear makeup and fix my hair just a little bit :) To save time on fixing my hair, I use velcro rollers (just at the crown) after I wash my hair at night and sleep with them on. I remove them in the morning, and voila, hair has volume and bounce. Otherwise, I tie up my hair in a ponytail. If I'm really really rushing, I follow the 5-minute face routine by Carmindy. I love to sleep and I'm not a morning person either.

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

We loved these videos! Especially the first one, the kid is so cute and the mom is hilarious.
I'm also impressed that there is a show on how to shave a few extra minutes/seconds from your daily routines... are people really THAT busy? Wow.
Thanks for sharing, Maki!

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

I can barely breathe, I am laughing so much! More! More!

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Hillarious! I wish I knew Japanese.

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Just a note on the sealed sandwiches----the way to get it to work without the bread falling apart is to microwave the bread for 10-15 seconds. This softens the bread and makes it very pliable. In fact, if you look at the instructions on the cutter you have a link to, step one is nuke the bread. (I looked at those cutters on a recent trip to Japan, but resisted the urge to get one.). I can even get our sprouted whole-grain bread to seal neatly this way.

A friend taught me you can also do the same with flour tortillas. We make turkey roll-up sandwiches by nuking a tortilla, adding a little turkey, lettuce, and cream cheese, rolling it up, and then slicing it into cute little spirals!

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

they're also geting their exercise doing lunges to get their pants on!
I love it! I'll have to see if I can do that.

Re: Video: Get your kid ready for school and a bento in ...

Oh my word! That was absolutely hilarious but awesome! Might just be tempted to get the tamagoyaki cooker now hehe! Learnt some new tricks now though :D

Onigiri in a jar.

Would the onigiri really form so round and perfectly in the jar like that?
Because that is awesome!

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