Tag Archives: Bento

‘Kyarabens’ Tutorial

Hexagon Bento

If you are looking for a Japanese art form to explore but haven’t found a traditional art to your taste, you might want to try the art of Kyaraben, also known as Charaben, short for “Character Bentos”.

These are bentos where the assortment of foods to go in the lunch box are made in the shapes of your favorite animation characters.  If you develop a flair, you may even want to branch into landscape-bens, portrait-bens, or even abstra-bens.  The latter three being as yet unexplored bento art territory.

Sketch for Hexagon Character Bento by Y.

To make this 100% edible art, start with a sketch of your favorite character.  From Hello Kitty to Hexa-kun (the character from the well-known television quiz show, Hexagon),  the world’s your oyster and any vegetable, fish cake, meat morsel or seaweed  sheets can form the materials.

You will find a scissor helpful for cutting seaweed; and straws are good to punch small circles in slices of ham or cheese that can be used as buttons, on faces, as polkadots, etc.

Think about your palette, and how to make colors from plain white rice adding such condiments as tomato ketchup, mentaiko or pink fish powders, or an autumn orange using pumpkin.

Color variations for egg omelette
cutting holes in cheese with the end of a straw

Bento artist at work
Koala March Ben

Sharpen your knives, get out your bento supplies, and discover that you too can sculpt rice into onigiri of various shapes and sizes that can be wrapped with colorful tastes to resemble your favorite characters.

The bentos pictured are made by my daughter,  11-year old Y., who is getting an early start in the art.  She made these bentos  for her fall school excursions (ensokus).   BTW, the Chara-bens are also ECO and can be adapted for all ages.  If you enjoy this art, you might be inclined to use your own bento more and purchase the disposable variety less.

JGY

Aikawarazu Life in Japan

http://aikawarazulifeinjapan.blogspot.com

What’s that? — Tokyo’s taste sensations destinations – A Guide to Eating Japanese style.

You can’t beat Japan for variety and quality of native cuisine. Here are some of my favorite types of restaurants, followed by a few recommended Tokyo spots.

Noodle shops

A little more than an hour off my plane from the U.S., I was starving and had some time to kill, as my ride was going to be late to Shinagawa station. It is a very busy, somewhat bewildering train station. I’m a noodle fanatic, so I naturally homed in on a noodle shop.

For a minute or so, I studied the action: People lined up at little machines, dropped some coins in, got a ticket and entered. I followed suit, punching a button next to a picture of a bowl of udon and a small bowl of rice with some yellowish stuff on it.

Read the rest of the story: Tokyo’s taste sensations.