Anybody who has a child in a Japanese kindergarten will know the pressure to make a beautiful bento lunch for their child, especially on picnic excursion days.

Make your bento look like your favorite anime characters

One of the school principals at the yochien my son attended used to tell us mothers to prepare our meals and to let the love show through it. He told us to make it multi-coloured and to include something from the mountains and something from the sea…words that echo the novel “Totto-chan”. Back then, mums already used to cut out seaweed sheets in soccer shapes or anime characters, but today’s younger and trendier mums have decided to take the “kyaraben” to new heights. JapanToday has a feature on where you can find help to make a “kyaraben” (character lunchbox) for your child… read on below:

Make your bento look like your favorite anime characters

FOOD OCT. 18, 2011


Would you like to make your lunch look like your favorite anime character? Maybe Pikachu from “Pokemon?”

FindJPN, which is an activity booking service where you can sign up for unique and fun Japanese events at reasonable prices, will hold an event in which you can learn to make your own “kyaraben” (character lunch box) from 19:45 – 22:00 on Oct 21 (Fri). The cost is 3,500 yen.

With “kyaraben,” the food in your bento can look like cute cartoon characters, animals, or even beautiful plants. Making a kyaraben used to be just a trick to get children excited about eating their bento but it has now turned into an art form where even competitions are held. You can learn to make not only character lunch boxes in the shape of Hello Kitty and Pikachu but also healthy tofu balls, flowers from cherry tomatoes and sunflowers out of small sausages.

Everyone is welcome to join in the event, so it is also a good opportunity to meet new people.

For more details of the event, visit

Japan Today, Oct 18



I’ve also uploaded to the Kid’s Health & Safety section, this piece entitled Dry ear wax and why the Japanese use mimikaki (ear-rakes) to clean their children’s ears

Happy reading …

Aileen Kawagoe