Bento/Lunch Boxes (2008)

December 29th, 2008

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If I’m not sorely mistaken, this is the last bento concocted by the Missus in 2008.
The next one should be onlie on January 5th!
A “classical” bento by my other half’s standards making use of whatever was in the fridge!

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The rice has been the same for some time: white rice steamed with beans (and their juice) and “hijiki/sweet seaweed”. A very lealthy and hearty fare with plenty of calories!

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As for the “o-yatsu/accompaniment”, deep-fried “sanma/mackerel pike” that was seasoned with sauce beforehand and complemented with plentyof lemon, cornichons and black olives, plum tomatoes, and on a bed of finely chopped vegetables, boiled brocoli and cauliflower. Very healthy, again!

I had dressing for the salad and mandarine oranges at the office to make it complete!
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December 26th, 2008

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The end of the year is always a very hectic time in Japan.
The two of us busy in spite of no university holiday, the Missus prepared a typical, if very simple bento:
On a bed of freshly steamed rice she spread some slices of soft “sha shu/Chinese-style braised pork” she quickly heated again in sweet soy sauce with a few pieces of processed cheese and sprinkled with black sesame. The sauce added welcome tatse to the rice.
One “umeboshi/pikled Japanese plum” and a few cornichons provided the saour balance to the sweetness of the meat.
For greens she included lettuce leaves and plum tomatoes and boiled spinach salad.
The dessert was providedwith plenty of “tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette”
Quite filling actually! And tasty!

One more bento on Monday and then I will post 2008 bento compilation!
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December 25th, 2008

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Yes, I worked yesterday on the 25th of December. Chritmas is more a business bonanza than anything else. In any case I’m agnostic!
The Missus made doo with whatever she had in the fridge and some buns she had baked the day before.

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The main dish included from bottom clockwise:
Turkey ham bought at the local supermarkert, lettuce leaves to wrap around the turkey, plum tomatoes, brocoli and “tobikko/flying fish roe” spaghetti, first fried then cooled down, processed cheese, black olive and cornichons.

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The buns provided with plenty of calories,

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as they contained beans.

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The dessert, plentiful for once, included cut fresh pear, mini kiwi, “benihoppe/red cheek” strawberry from Izu Peninsula and home-dried persimmon.

Plenty to last until the night out!
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December 22nd, 2008
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This morning, the Missus said: Don’t take a picture, that bento is not worth it! Apparently her standards have raised since I started introducing her concoctions. LOL.
Well, I still think I should describe it as after all it is everyday food!

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The “rice dish” is a favourite of hers: it’s been steamed together with preserved beans and their juice and “hijiki” seaweed (osft sweet type). The technique (one day I promise I will post an article on easy sushi rice preparation!) is to lay the beans and seaweed on top of rice before steaming it and then mix the lot when it is cooked.

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The “o-yatsu/accompaniment” is a mixture of all kinds: on a bed of finely chopped vegetables, boiled “renkon/lotus roots” and home-made Chiken Ham (similar to Turkey Ham) salad, half-boiled egg sprinkled with black sesame seeds, plum tomatoes, cornichons, smoked salmon salad adn walnuts (for dessert).

I have no complaints!
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December 16th, 2008

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Today’s bento was a “quick fix”. The Missus and I having just come back from a week-end in Yokohama the night before, I was not going to put too much strain on my (whatever) half!

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This time bread had to be toasted “regular” bread bought on the way home.
But even so, I must admit that the Missus did her best to come with a well-balanced “open-sandwich” with what was available in the fridge:
(from left centre, clockwise)
Fresh mini-cucumbers on chickory leaves, lettuce leaves, mini-tomatoes, home-made (on the balcony!) dried persimmons for dessert, processed cheese sticks, ham sticks, olives (in the middle), egg salad, avocado salad, smoked salmon with capers and lemon.
Can’t complain., can I?
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December 9th, 2008

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Yesterday’s bento was a very traditional Japanese one with the exception of the salad!

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The rice part was “maze gohan/mixed rice”, that is it contained chunks of chicken, bits of “gobo/burdock roots”, carrot and fresh ginger, the whole seasoned with “shiro goma/white (actually light brown) sesame.

The “tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette” contained chopped “shiso/perilla leaves/ (Rowena, next time you make an omelette, think about it!).
Plenty of lettuce was provided to wrap the tamagoyaki in.
A salad of azuki beans, baby cucumber, corn and “hijiki/sweetened seaweed” and a few olives completed the dish.

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As for the salad (seasoned later with dressing I keep at work), it consisted of fresh Shizuoka cress, mini tomatoes, more lettuce and pieces of chickory on a bed of finely chopped vegetables.
The little orange bits you see were my dessert: home-dried “kaki/persimmon”!
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December 8th, 2008

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Yesterday’s bento was in the “Open-sandwich” mode again!
Before I explained the “main dish”, the “side dish” in the small round box contained brocoli and balck olives spaghetti salad (the Missus feard I didn’t have enough!).

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The ‘main dish” included sticks of cucumber, carrot and ham with chickory and lettuce leaves, orange and red mini tomatoes and a “pot” of dip-dressing I had made myself the ight before for the trout-salmon pie (posting coming soon!). The dressing consisted of fresh cream, a little olive oil, lemon juice, chopped shiso leaves, salt, white pepper and nutmeg.

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The bread baked the night before and toasted in the morning was cumin bread!
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December 2nd, 2008

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Yesterday’s bento was back to “open sandwich bento”!

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The “main dish” was a bit complex:
From top left around the clock:
Brocoli, home-made chicken ham, lotus roots (boiled) and “tobikko/flying fish roe” salad.
Scrambled eggs
Avocado salad
Red mini-tomatoes, black olives, cornichons, raw ham on chickory leaves and lemon slice
Finley chopped greens
Persimmon wedges
Lettuce

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As for the bread (baked the night before and toasted again in the morning): Black and white sesame and small pieces of processed cheese (eventually melted beyond recognition)

Now, to further answer Barbara and Rowena‘s questions about the Missus’ bread recipe, I discovered some more information (not complete, sorry!) after a lot of arm-twisting (I will have to do a lot of cooking this month,…):
Flour: Normal strong wheat flour 9 volumes (total weight unknown) and rye flour 1 volume (total weight unknown)
Water: unknown quantity
Yeast: name unknown
Olive oile: 1 large spoon
Skimmed Milk Powder: 1 large spoon (new secret unveiled!)
Salt: unknown quantity
Try to work it out!
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December 1st, 2008

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Yesterday’s (Today’s will appear tomorrow!) bento was definitely “Japanese” and could have, apart of some details, been fit for a vegetarian’s priorities!

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The staple rice section included three different “inari sushi/Sushi in grilled tofu pouches”:

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1) Sushi rice (shari) mixed with “tobikko/flying fish roe”.
2) Sushi rice mixed with black and white sesame and “hijiki/sweet seaweed”.
3) Sushi rice mixed with minced Japanese-style cucumber pickles.

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The “maki/rolls” are “natto/fermented soy beans” maki. Now, Rowena, these little leaves are actually “shiso/perilla” sprouts! Very popular here in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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The “o-yatsu/accompaniment” included on a bed of finely chopped greens, yellow plum tomato wedges, mini red tomatoes, black olives, walnuts (for dessert), lettuce, home-made chicken ham (equivalent of turkey ham, but with chicken), processed cheese and more perilla sprouts!
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November 25th, 2008

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Yesterday being a National Holiday (which I spent in bed with a cold &%##$#) this week will see only one bento of note!

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The “staple dish” consisted of Tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette containing tobikko/Flying Fish roe and finely chopped thin leeks/hosonegi,

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The nigiri/rice balls were wrapped in fresh shiso/perilla leaves, either containing furikake/dried Japanese seasoning or o-kkaka/dried bonito shavings and hijiki seaweed.

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The Missus had added a few deep-fried renkon/lotus roots. I just love those! Do not bother with whatever junk food under the name of renkon. The real product is so much tastier and healthier!

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The “main dish” included fresh cucumber, celery, mini tomatoes, black olives with mayonnaise, kara-age chicken/deep-fried chicken with a little lemon for extra seasoning.
Dessert was fresh figs peeled and cut to size. They are dead cheap in Shizuoka as the Prefecture grows them until very late in the year!
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November 18th, 2008

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The Missus had my health in mind when she devised today’s bento!
The doctor having warned me on my rising blood pressure, she is cutting on salt. Which is perfect with me, as I do not favor over salty foods very much!

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Accordingly, I discovered many vegetables in the main dish:
celery (Shizuoka produces 50% of all celery in Japan!), endive/chickory leaves, carrot sticks, lettuce and olives. Some tartare mayonnaise was included.

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The minuscule tomatoes are called “Ameera Rubbins”. They are very sweet. Only two farmers in Iwata City, Western Shizuoka, produce them in the whole of Japan!

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The Missus had marinated the chicken legs all night long before deep-frying (actually shally-frying) them this morning. A piece of lemon was provided for extra seasoning.

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As for dessert she included persimmon wedges and mini-kiwi fruit (above pic) grown in Shizuoka Prefecture.

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The bread had been baked the night before and toasted this morning. It includes black olives, chopped mint leaves and processed cheese.

Now, to answer Barbara‘s question whether the Missus shared her bread recipes, unfortunately, my other half (Rowena might have a few things to say about that! But she also knows I had a hard time “stealing” the Missus’ fried chicken recipe!), like most Japanese wives, is very cagey and possessive about her recipes.
As a rule I’m not allowed inside the kitchen, except when I wash the dishes (sometimes) and when I cook for her!
As for bread, she uses a bread baker gadget (more than 200 US$) which does absolutely everything from fermenting to baking!
Now, I know that she used rye flour and wheat flour at a 1 to 9 ratio and always adds a lttle olive oil with the water.
Once the dough has been completely leavened, fermented, raised and kneaded, the gadget will “call her”. Only then, will she add things like cheese, herbs and so on!
And then the gadget will take over again!
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November 14th, 2008

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I do not usually publish The Missus’ bento on Friday when I have to take the train to University as they are very simple sandwich affairs.
But for once, she decided to bring some variety, which meant extra things to carry!

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Rice balls contained umeboshi/pickled Japanese plum and o-kaka/fine bonito shavings.

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The nigiri/rice balls were “wrapped” in two shiso/perilla leaves each, as nori/seaweed would get soggy before I could eat them. Very tasty and healthy!

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The “main dish” consisted of (from left): home-made pickles (not really visible, sorry!), fried sausages, plum tomatoes, “tamagoyaki”/Japanese omelette (she sweetend it honey on purpose) and wedges of “kaki”/persimmon for dessert.
I had a pack of vegetable juice to help it down.

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Now, Japanese trains everywhere in the world are not very clean places for obvious reasons.
The Missus, like most Japanese ladies is very cleanliness-conscious. She makes a point to ensure that I carry “wet tissues” with me all the time. I certainly cannot fault her for that as I did have to eat with my fingers!
These are very common in Japan, and I always carry a couple. I wonder if my European/Asian/African/American friends know or use them!
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November 10th, 2008

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Since the Missus has started baking her own bread again, the “Monday Bento” has followed the same pattern: “Open sandwich bento”, which actually I eat with a fork at the office, breaking bread in pieces along!

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The “main bento” consisted of left to right, top to bottom:
Kaki/Persimmons wedges for dessert, finely chopped veg salad, smoked ham.
Lettuce (supposed to go go between bread slices), halved boiled egg (I wonder how I can put it between dlices of bread, lol), plum tomatoes.
Ham slices, cornichond and black olives, salad of potatoes, corn and tobikko/flying fish roe.

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Freshly baked bread (and toasted again) including ham and cheese (melted away inside) and waknuts.
I don’t mind lying to the Missus and tell I loved her “sandwiches” as long as she bakes such bread!
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November, 4th, 2008

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Today’s lunch box is a bit of a repeat, considering it is more a combination of what I had before.
But I’m not one to complain!

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The nigiri/rice balls contain beans and hijiki seaweed.
The Missus put the beans and hijiki seaweed on top of the rice before closing the lid and steaming the whole lot. Once ready, she will stir all ingredients before shaping the balls.
Home-made light rice vinegar pickles can be seen in the middle of the nigiri.
On a bed of lettuce she laid some fried veg including soft pimentoes, bricolo and Eringe mushrooms. She added some mini steamed “syuumai” (not home-made!)

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The salad consisted of luccola and other light greens topped with plum tomatoes, yakitamago/Japanese omelette and presimmon wedges and mini-kiwi (with a red heart) slices for dessert!

Pretty full, I can assure you!
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October 27th, 2008

Today the Missus definitely combined East and West!

She made “temari zushi”. S
The rice balls are called as such they mean “balls made by hand”. Which does not help!
The balls are smaller and round with their top covered as “nigiri”.
She steamed the rice with knobu/seaweed fro Rishiri Island (Hokkaidou). She made balls and covered them with smoked salmon topped with capers. The home-made pickles are mini-melons.

As for the salad, on a bed of finely chopped greens she put two chicory/endive leaves filled with eggs and vegetables salad, a couple of plum tomatoes and a few wedges of persimmon for dessert.

Just enough to last the day!

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October 21st, 2008

My other half said this morning: “Today I’ll make an open sandwich bento!”
“Great and thanks!” (and a wet kiss…)

Actually it turned into a bit of an extravagant “open bento”!

The “main sandwich ingredients” included a almost soft-boiled egg (impossible to eat between two slices of bread!), a lot of cress, a few fresh endive/chicory leaves containing lightly boiled crispy/crunchy mini-asparaguses, plum tomatoes, cornichons, duck confit (she took it out the freeze and fried it until the skin was crispy light brown), and fried potatoes (not French, please) she had suteed/fried in the confit fat. Now, I gave up making up sandwiches!

“Haddock in the Kitchen” might be interested to know that the Missus baked the bread yesterday.
The bread contained shredded carrots, chopped mint leaves and crumbled walnuts. I have to admit that it was a beauty. Therefore I ate it bit by bit as I consumed my bento along!

Now, I will this opportunity to introduce the dressings I usually keep in the fridge at work:
The “white” one is a Japanese Kewpie Caesar Salad Dressing (Gold Type).
The “orange” one is a Soken non-oil dressing containing green shiso, herbs and lemon.
Both are light and tasty enough and all ingredients are described on the back!

Well, this time I had plenty of dessert! (I suspect the Missus was emptying the fridge…)
Kiwi fruit, Kaki/Persimmon and Nashi/Japanese pear and asome walnut!

Alright, I know I’m spoiled!
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October 20th, 2008

Due to National Holidays falling on my usual “bento days”, it’s been some time since I could extoll the virtues of my (?) half’s bentoes (lol).
Today’s prepartions witnessed a few variations according to seasonal and unseasonal produces.

The “nigiri”/rice balls had been steamed together with tinned beans and “hijiki” seaweed, to which the Missus added a dash of shoyu before making the rice balls. As the rice was still very hot she used the “kitchen vinyl wrap” technique. Cutting a large enough piece of “Sun Wrap” (Japanese name) and holding it inside the palm of her hand, she put the proper amount of rice in the middle, close the “paper” around it and shaped it into a ball before releasing it onto a plate. The balls were later half-wrapped in shiso leaves. Incidentally I would like to thank here all the friends who left so many kind messages about the shiso posting!
In the centre she placed freshly sauteed “sasami”/chicken greast fillets on a bed of cress.
The pickles are green baby melon (home-made), tomatoes marinated in mirin (home-made) and shredded “takuan”/pickled daikon.

The “salad” consisted of a soft-boiled egg on a green leaves bed with “ameera rubbins”/the smallest sweet tomatoes in the world, exclusively grown by only two farmers in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Dessert consisted of small slices of nashi (white), or Japanese pear, and kaki (orange), a square variety of persimmon created some time ago in Shizuoka Prefecture. Nashi are almost at the end of their season whereas kaki have just apeared on the supermarket shelves.

Now did you know that persimmons contain five times as many Vitamin C in a lemon, weight for weight?
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October 7th, 2008

Today the Missus made good use of yesterday’s leftovers and home-preserved vegetables.

There are always two or three boiled eggs in the fridge, so one of them found its way in today’s lunch. The Missus had kept aside some of the edamame served last night for my evening drink, took them out of their pods and also kept them overnight in the fridge.
Yesterday my Monday’s lunch consisted of deep-fried pork/tonkatsu muffin sandwiches. She seasoned the pork leftovers with home-made sweet pickled ginger and ponzu vinegar. The vegetables accompanying the meat in its little box are okura and aubergines/egg plants she had first fried, cooled down and then marinated overnight. The little tomato had been pickled/marinated separately.
The white-green thing in its foil paper is “wasabi zuke/wasabi stems and leaves pickled in sake white lees”, a very Japanese condiment. Most of the total national production is made in Shizuoka Prefecture!
As for the rice, she steamed it with fresh mushrooms, soy sauce and I don’t know what (she wouldn’t tell me…). All I can is that I loved it!

For once she did not omit dessert as mini apple slices were included in the salad!
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September 30th, 2008

Yesterday’s bento was a quick fix, but I must admit it was pretty satisfying!
She just boiled an assortment of pasta, cooled them under cold water, drain them and mixed them with smoked salmon, mayonnaise, capers and some spices.
She added the usual plum tomatoes, cress, bits of processed cheese, French cornichons and lettuce.
She topped the whole with some very soft-boiled egg halves.
Actually, most of the yolk of the upper half flowed into the pasta salad contributed for more taste!

But she forgt the dessert again!
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September 29th, 2008

Yesterday’s bento was a bit of repeat with the main difference that residing with the chicken.

The rice came under the form of three distinct nigiri/rice balls half-wrapped in fresh green shiso/perilla: Sweet seaweed/konbu, finely chopped Japanese pickled cucumber and umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums. Three plum tomatoes for the vitamin C and some French cornichons.

The deep-fried chicken were whole thighs on the bones. I did eat them with my fingers wrapped in the fresh lettuce after having pressed the lemon slice over them.
This time dessert was not forgotten with some processed cheese and seedless Japanese grapes!
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September 20th, 2008

Today’s Saturday, a heavy work day. As Typhoon 13 menaced to come back again the Missus thought it would be better to see me off all day!
As I had requested Tamagoyaki/Japanese Omelette, she had it ready in a jiffy!

She steamed rice with thinly chopped fresh ginger roots (it is the season. You can them raw with miso paste!), made nigiri/rice balls, topped them with Japanese cucumber pickles and half wrapped hem in shiso/perilla leaves.
On a bed of lettuce she set the Japanese omelette (she mixed the eggs with flying fish roe) cut to size with French cornichons.

The salad consisted of finely chopped raw veg with pieces of processed chees, fried sausages, plum tomatoes and cress on which I poured some dressing kept in the office fridge.

Blimey, she forgot the dessert again!
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September 9th, 2008

Some friends of have wondered what the Missus’ sandwich bento would look like. For once I relent and will show what she concocted for me today!


The sandwiches part definitely looked American (British?). Secured inside their kitchen paper back, the toasted bread contained raw ham and lettuce with a little mustard.


Two salads: the first one composed of lightly boiled renkon/lotus roots, lightly boiled goya, tobikko/flying fish roe and mayonnaise-based dressing should tempt Bentoist again!


The second salad consisted of two halves of hard-boiled egg, luccola, cress, boiled broccoli, cherry tomatoes and plums. I added dressing kept at work.

This time the Missus did not forget the dessert!
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September 8th, 2008

Today’s bento could be called “back to the basis”!
The truth is that the Missus iapparently went on a diet (actually I’m the one on a diet) and decided to lighten my bento! I don’t really complain as long as she keeps her standards as far as taste is concerned!


I admit that the “nigiri/rice balls” were a bit of an artistic affair inside their paper box:
Three of them contained fried salmon, were topped with “tobikko/flying fish roe” and partly envelopped in a shiso leaf. The one at the top, middle, contained sweet seaweed/”konbu”.
The one on the left, bottom, was topped with Japanese cucumber pickles and the one on the right, bottom, contained “takuan/Japanese pickled daikon”.

As for the salad, it came as a mixture: boiled and sliced goya, lettuce, half a boiled egg, three small asparaguses rolled and sauteed in bacon, finely chopped greens and cherry tomatoes.
I added dressing kept at work.

No dessert, but I bought myself a few nuts to munch on!
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September 6th, 2008

It must be the first this year that I requested a bento on a Saturday! Usually I have time to come for lunch (I work on Saturdays), but not this time as I had a lot to catch up with after our (short) summer holidays!

Usually the Missus prepare curry or stew on Saturdays. Accordingly she steamed rice mixed with mild curry paste and finely chopped red and green pimento. On top of a generous portion she placed “tonkatsu/pork schnitzels. She always makes plenty of them as they freeze well. She brushed them with “katsu tare/bulldog sauce” and added some cress for the greens.

The salad was a bit unusual: slightly boiled “renkon/lotus roots” salad with “Tobikko/Flying fish roe”, a half boiled egg, cherry tomatoes and plenty of mini cress. Hearty and well-balanced, I must admit!
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August 21st, 2008

Thursday is a bit unusual for the Missus making a bento for my lazy person, but she had to go to the beauty parlor and what with all the shopping she was planning to do on that day, it was certainly easier for her to make a bento for two (she ate her own at home) and get me out of her legs!

For the first time in a long while she came up with a favourite of mine, namely “soft ton”/very tender boneless pork cutlets. She fried them in shallow oil after after having prepared them in the “tonkatsu”/schnitzel fashion and seasoned them with white and black sesame seeds.
She put them on top of rice mixed with sweet seaweed and decorated the whole with edamame (out of their pods) and “shishito”/Japanese japalenos.
Some pickles and a salad side dish, and that was it!
She had forgotten the dessert again, but I had some ice-cream (made from soy beans, no milk whatsoever from Shibakawa Cho!) handy in the fridge!
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August 19th, 2008

This week, I will have (the pleasure of?) more bento than usual because of the preparations for our trip next week to Hokkaido. The Missus is only too happy to get me physically away from her, busy as she is with the luggage and all that!

This time the combination should tempt solid male eaters more than figure-minded ladies!
The main dish consisted of boiled “ramen/Chinese noodles” for which I had cold stock soup in the pouch featured in the pic at the beginning of this posting. The Missus decorated it with all kinds of vegetables, having my line in mind as ever:
From top clockwise=soft-boiled egg, vinegared cucumber salad, cut “yama imo/taro roots”, edamame out of their pods, boiled brocoli, carrot salad, and a sprinkle of chopped thin leeks in the middle.

The “accompaniment” consisted of chicken nuggets. Now, these have nothing to do with the frozen horrors served in notorious junk food eateries (no names, alright?). The Missus used “tori no sasami/Chicken breast fillets”, the tenderest and leanest part of the chicken, which can be bought separately in Japan. A bit extravagant, I must admit. They needed no seasoning as their batter was already spiced up. She included plenty of lettuce to wrap them in, as she knows I’m a bit of a savage, eating with my fingers whenever possible!
A few cherry tomatoes and home-made baby melon pickles.
No dessert again! LOL.
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August 18th, 2008

This week being particularly busy due to the preparations for our trip to Hokkaido next week forcing me into putting two weeks’ work into one, I will have to write quite a few articles about the Missus’ bentoes (that is, if there is no repeat or sandwiches. LOL)

Yesterday’s was more of the “expat’s variety” which should tempt big eaters like Foodhoe and Gaijin Tonic again!
the “nigiri”/rice balls were made of rice steamed with mushrooms and cockles (small clams) soup.
The Missus later added some curry paste to shape those brown balls. It made for a welcome change!
She added boiled broccoli, carrot salad, French pickles/cornichons, a half-boiled egg, some edamame out of the pod and “amera rubbins tomatoes”, a variety only grown in Shizuoka. Very small and sweet, they could be served as dessert with red berries!
Some cut “nashi”/Japanese pear and plums for the real dessert.
Just enough to last the day! LOL.
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August 14th, 2008

Yesterday, the Missus had to go home and visit her parents for the O-Bon Festival (Japanese Mid-Summer Festival when the deceased are being venered). She made a bento not only for me but for her siblings.
It is both seasonal in the sense it includes eel and tradiional as it is “Chirashizushi”


“Chirashizushi” could be roughly translated as “mixed sushi”. It is very popular with families as large quantities of it can be made. Allison will be glad to know you can also use it for the base of home-made sushi rolls!
The Missus mixed the “shari”/vinegared steamed rice with Japanese sweet scrambled eggs and pickles. She filled the box with one layer and covered it at radom with pieces of broiled eel. She put one more layer and topped it again broiled eel, scrambled eggs and boiled string beans.
She added some home-made baby melon pickles and cucumebr pickles.


The salad was pretty straightforward: Chopped fresh vegetables and boiled shrimps to which I added dressing at work.
She forgot the dessert!
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August 11th, 2008

I must admit that today’s bento was a bit of an overkill!
The Missus asked me as I was going for the shower if I fancied “temaki” (make your own maki) bento for my lunch. “Sure”, I replied.
I was looking forward to eating plenty of greens as I knew it would come with lettuce I would use for making my own maki instead of the usual dry seaweed.

She had been hassling me recently on my weight (which has not changed for at least three months…), stressing that I should cut on my food intake. Well, the “shari”/flavoured sushi rice was certainly succulent, but there definitely was a lot of it, mixed with finely chopped cucumber and daikon pickles and “tobikko”/flying fish roe. I ended up with not enough lettuce and had to finish up the lot with chopsticks. Incidentally this was more a full lunch than a bento. I do not know if I would dare make all these maki one by one in front of an audience (I always eat alone in my private classroom!). LOL.
Fresh cucumber, home-made pickled cucumber and a tiny “umeboshi”/pickled Japanese plum completed the “staple part”.

As for the “o yatsu”/accompaniment, a lot of it, she included smoked salmon seasoned with tartare sauce and capers (East meet West?), cut avocado dipped in lemon juice, soft boiled egg, plum tomatoes, processed cheese, sliced and boiled goya and fresh cress.

A grape jelly was added for dessert.
It certainly took me some time it to finish it, which should make her happy as she always complains I eat too fast!
Great bento, but a bit too much of it. Mind you, I don’t complain as I have a long day!
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August, 5th, 2008

This is mid-summer in Shizuoka, and as far as the weather is concerned it is a bit too hot (over 35 Degrees Celsius) and humid (over 85%)!
Light meals have suddenly become more welcome than those “stamina” lunches!

It actually also means more boxes and equipment. I have mentioned before tah Japan has come with some great Tupperware-style boxes. They are very light, rigid, solid and easy to close with a single push. Perfect for picnics, too!

Instead of rice, the Missus prepared “soba/buckwheat noodles”. The cucumber are home-made light pickles. The chopped leeks are for the soba dip/”tsuyu” inside the small round box. The tube contains yuzu/lime-flavoured wasabi paste to be mixed with the tsuyu, too. A hard-boiled egg was provided for needed calories,

with a green salad topped with “shabu shabu”/thin slices of pork poached in slightly salted water, cooled and seasoned with sesame dressing and sesame seeds. Some sliced home-made mini melon pickles and more home-made cucumber pickles.

The dessert consisted of “nashi/Japanese pear” slices. Crunchy, bursting with juice and delicious, they make for the perfect Summer dessert!
———————–
July 21st, 2008

Back to work after a long week-end holiday (yestrday was a national holiday). This is real time for simple “stamina” bento, what with the heat (over 35 degrees Celsius) and humidity (over 80%). One has to make sure to stock enough fuel for the day, and that does not entail fluids only!

Consequently, the “main dish” consisted of loosely packed sushi balls/nigiri containing deep-fried pork/tonkatsu, the whole rolled inside perilla/shiso leaves. As for the rice itself, it had been steamed with home-made pickled Japanee plums/umeboshi. The pickles in the centre are home-made cucumber pickles.
Plenty of greens for the side dish, and a fresh, very large, apricot from Nagano Prefecture (They apparently are grown here yet!) for the sugar fix!

Took some time to eat, though!
———————–
July 15th, 2008

Tuesday! After yesterday’s spaghetti Lunch Box, it was back to rice and Japanese-style today!

It certainly was a copious one!
Apart of the “salad side dish” to ensure I got enough greens to go with it, the Missus ventured into small meat rolls this time:

Two types: pork slices rolled around in shiso/perilla leaves and pork sices again rolled around softened home-made fresh ginger pickles. She had dipped them in a mixture of water, cornstarch and spice mix before coating them with breadcrumbs and “shallow-fried” them.
She included lettuce to rol them into before eating.

She is a specialist when it comes to soft-boiled eggs that she cooks at low temperature for quite a while (another secret?). The yolk stays liquid and does taste beautiful with a little soy sauce and black sesame seeds.

The “nigiri/rice balls” had been steamed mixed with home-made “umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums” and topped with home-made (again!) sansho/Japanese peppers seeds.

I can assure I was full (and satisfied)!
——————————-
July 8th, 2008

In the heat of the Summer, the Japanese make a point of serving hearty meals and bento as this is a time when you lose so much energy. As they say in this country, this is “stamina meals time”!

To that purpose the Missus had marinated chicken in sake, oyster sauce and probably rice vinegar (that is all I could extract from her!) for a whole night.
She fried them all with baby carrots, leeks and home-pickled Japanese pepper/sanshyo and placed the ot on top of a bed of rice steamed with finely chopped fresh ginger roots (she probably added some dashi/Japanese stock soup and a little sake to the water).

Served with homemade cucumber pickles, boiled brocoli, fresh plum tomatoes and a salad “side dish”, I reckon it was plenty!

Nota Bene: No dessert was included this time as “punishment” for having eaten it during the night!
——————————
July 7th, 2008

Today’s bento had a definite Shizuoka Summer flavour to it, even if it meant I had to carry three boxes and empty two dressing bottles at the office! LOL.

The Missus prepared “Tchya Soba”/Tea soba noodles from Shibakawa Cho at the foot of Mount Fuji. having boiled and washed them under running cold water, she drained as much as possible before putting them in the box topped withfinely cut “nori”/seaweed.

As for seasoning she had chopped some leek and myoga fine, which I added to the soba before pouring some “tsuyu”/clear cold stock soup (larger bottle) and gently mixing the lot as I ate them.
The other seasoning was “goma tare”/Thick sesame dressing (vert tasty! do try it!) for the salad part:

On a bed of finely chopped vegetables, slices of raw ham, spicy cheese and “candy tomatoes” from Kakegawa City.
For once I noticed that she had not included any dessert. Need I lose weight?
——————————-
July 1st, 2008

Today’s (Tuesday!) bento was almost a classic as it included my favorite: Japanese-style fried chicken. I think I finally broke the Missus’ secret when I took a sneaky view of her craft when she thought I was away in another room!
Rowena, I promise I will disclose it, especially knowing that Taste Memory Girl and Bill (and some others) are interested!

The staples were represented by four nigiri/rice balls which for once were loosely packed and made for a lghter fare. The toppings are from top clockwise: yuzu kosho furikake/dried lime pepper seasoning powder, wasabi konbu/wasabi-flavoured seaweed, umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums and kyuri tsukemono/finely chopped Japanese-style “green” cucumber pickles.
Add to this home-made cucumber and ginger pickles, and fruit (pinepapple and American dark cherries)

The “garnish” consisted of deep-fried chicken (“thighs”), half a soft-boiled egg atop plenty of greens I seasoned with sweet wasabi dressing I have andy at work.

A comparatively light bento in spite of all the rice and very well-balanced I must eckon as I was hungry until late in the evening!
————————–
June 24th, 2008

Today’s bento was more suited for the solid appetites of Foodhoe and Gaijin Tonic, although a big man like Bill may be tempted to emulate to feed his family!

The “main dish” consisted of nigiri/rice balls made with rice steamed with home-made umeboshi/Pickled Japanese Plums in shiso/perilla leaves, and Pork fillet slices shallow-fried with bredacumbs, each skewered on a toothpick to make it easier to dip in a mayonnaise and sweet miso I was provided with. The pickles are home-made cucumber and ginger pickles.

The “side dish” was a very simple assortment of raw vegetables (chopeed cabbage, plum tomato, stringbeans, carrots,…) and fruit. I used the wasabi dressing at the office to season it!

Plenty to last the whole day!
————————–
June 10th, 2008

Today’s (actually yesterday’s as I’m writing) bento would have pleased a big eater like Foodhoe!

The steamed rice was topped with freshly grated carrots before switching on the fire and mixed after cooking.
The meat, “ton/pork toro/soft part as of tuna katsu/Japanese for cutlets” was deep-fried and then dipped in tonkatsu sauce.

Half of the box being occupied with rice, the Missus layed half of the remaining space with finely chopped vegetables before topping them with boiled eggs sprinkled with black sesame and home-made ginger pickles (pink).
The rest was layed with Japanese lettuce leaves topped with home-made baby melon pickles and fresh Shizuoka tomatoes.
With the season fruits and the wasabi dressing I keep at the office, I certainly enjoyed the hearty meal!
—————–
June 9th, 2008

Today’s bento (yes, on Monday! Tomorrow will be sandwiches, then!) was more a combination “East Meets West” than a usual bento!

Instead of rice, the Missus prepared cold “ramen” for which a small bag of “tsuyu/broth” was provided to pour before eating.
The topping was more of a second dish than anything else: smoked salmon salad (with the capers!) and boiled “sora mame/broad beans) inside chicory leaves, soft-boiled eggs, asparaguses and fresh Shizuoka tomatoes.

I could have poured in the broth immediately (and make a mess of it!). Instead, I ate half of the “barquettes/stuffed chicory leaves”, and only then poured the broth.
For dessert, oranges, grapes and cherries.
Very satisfying during this very wet rainy season!
————————
June 2nd, 2008

Today (Monday) should have been a day for a simpler takeaway lunch, usually sandwiches. But last night the Missus found the edamame too salty for direct consumption and decided to include them in a bento today to attenuate their saltiness. Talking of edamame, you can expect a posting soon!

Therefore today’s lunch box consisted of edamame nigiri/rice balls with edamame and a little furikake/Japanese seasoning mix, Chicken Karage/Fried Chicken (not deep-fried, although prepared the same way and sauteed), Tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette (another posting soon!), pickled ginger and French pickled cucumber, cherries and orange.
Had a side salad to complete the lunch (and dressing in the fridge).
I won’t complain about saltiness!

—————————–
May 27th, 2008

Today’s bento was very simple, but very Japanese in the sense that leftovers were used (The Left Over Queen might get interested!)>
The Missus had plenty of rice from the evening before:

She prepared “Omu Raisu” (Omelette Rice) by frying the rice with small cubes of chicken, tomato sauce and I don’t know what (I’m not allowed inside the kitchen then!). Then she made a thin omelette and covered the rice with it. She made a cut in the omelette to allow excess humidity to escape. Omu Raisu is a typical Bento fare in Japan (and the Missus was not so happy about my taking pics of it for the blog!) popular with children and grown-ups alike.
The rice amounting for quite a lot she added a simple salad with fruit.
I certainly had a bellyfull!

————————
May 13th, 2008

-”Rice or noodles?”
-”Well, I had cold ramen salad yesterday, so please make it rice!”
-”OK Doc!”

And my other half went into the kitchen to steam the rice for Tuesday’s bento.
Biggie might be interested in those lunch boxes my wife recently found. Tupperware type, they are rigid and strong but very light and close very tightly, although even a child will find them easy to open.


The side salad of greens and cheese came into a softer type of box, but still very practical and safe. For once, I start the other way round to feature the usual veg juice (samll) carton and the wasabi dressing I keep handy in the office fridge.

Now the bento consisted of two types of sushi:

“Inarizushi” or sushi rice ball enclosed inside a pouch of fried tofu. The rice contained “hijiki” seaweed and tiny bits of home-made chicken ham.
The two nigiri balls encased in lettuce contained finely chopped pieces of pickled vegetables. The one on the left also contained pickled sakura/cherry blossom with one whole on top for decoration. The other also contained boiled “shirasu”/ baby sardines (a typical Shizuoka marine product) and “tobiko”/flying fish roe. I can hear Rowena sing I’m being cruel again!
The mini tomatoes were also grown in Shizuoka Prefecture. The pink strips are home-made pickled ginger sticks. The dessert are kinkan oranges cooked and marinated in water, honey and Cointreau (team work for once!).

Who said I’m a lucky “what”?
——————————
May 1st, 2008

Thursday is not a usual day for my Bento Lunch as this is the Missus’ free day of the week. But as she had to visit the family, she asked me to eat the office. Mind you, I don’t complain as it in fact allows more time for my own.

As we have planned to go to the movies this evening, she prepared a hearty lunch to last me until after the flicks (I wonder where she plans to go after that?). Even a hungry high school kid should have been satisfied with it!
The main dish is “dry curry” (a Japanese misnomer if there was one!) made up with canned tuna and beans enhanced by onions, all fried together with curry paste and what else. On top she “sprinkled” some soft-boiled egg with Italian parsley from our balcony (the parsley, not the egg!). Very tasty, actually.

As for “salad”, on a bed of cress she placed chicory leaves with ham, mini tomatoes, carrots and orange.
I used the wasabi dressing in the office fridge for seasoning.
I surely need no more food until after the movie theatre!
————————-
April 7th, 2008

Today is this kind of grotty day you have no wish to go outside and prefer to stay cozy at home or at work. In my case since it is a work day, the Missus prepared the kind of bento a hard-working (whom am I fooling?) man welcomes: hearty, healthy and well-balanced (Rowena will say that this time I’m making it up! On the other I know a certain Carlos who might convince his dear one to take notice. LOL):

On a (not that thick, and covering only two thirds of the bottom) bed of steamed rice coated with a layer of fresh “hime mitsuba/”princess trefoil” she placed “ton toro katsu” seasoned with “tare/Japanese sauce”. “Ton” means “pork”, “toro” is the fatty meat of tuna and “katsu” means “cutlet. You could translate the lot “fatty soft pork cutlets fried in batter”. Lighter than you might think.
Bottom middle are a couple of “rakkyo/pickled Japanese shallots”.
Top are cherry tomatoes, some “wasabizuke/wasabi plant pickled in sake kasu/sake white lees”, home-made pickled wasabi plants. To finish a semi-soft boiled egg sprinkled with black sesame seeds.
With a couple of biscuits and mini-bottle of yoghurt drink, I must say I should stay healthy until the next drink!

—————————-
April 1st, 2008

bento-04-01.jpg

The Missus has recently found these cheap hard plastic bento boxes which come into all kinds of sizes and are so practical to use, wash and carry around. Lids are very secure. No danger of spilling or oozing anything out!

Today’s (Tuesday!) bento was very Springlike!

Three smallish “o-musubi/rice balls”, one tipped with “konbu/sweetened seaweed” (bottom middle), another one with “furikake/dried seasoning mixture” (bottom right) and the last one with “umeboshi/salted plum”.
Cherry tomatoes and fresh mini-cucumbers (the latter on a bed of sweet miso paste) for fresh vegetables.
The other cut vegetables, soft pimentoes, peas in their pods and mini onion had been steamed with the “ika shuumai/cuttle-fish dumplings” (from Hokkaido) sprinkled with “tobikko/flying fish roe”
I used the wasabi dressing in my office fridge to season the veg.

Love Spring!
———————–
March 18th, 2008

bento-03-18a.jpg

For once the Missus had to bring my Tuesday’s bento to my office before she went to work as I had to leave very early to attend a Primary School Graduation Ceremony away along Abe River.
It was quite a hearty one I must say!
bento-03-18b.jpg
The “Salad” part consisted of fresh cabbage, cress, tomato and “Tori no Tsukune”/Sauteed Chicken Balls wrapped in shiso/perilla leaves. All vegetables are locally grown.
bento-03-18c.jpg
The “Rice” part consisted of Maki/Rolls made of sushi rice mixed with “Tobiko”/Flying Fish Roe contained smoked salmon and wrapped in lettuce. “Kamaboko Dango”/balls of fish paste (steamed and filled with tuna or cheese bought at the supermarket) and pickled cucumber and “Gobo”/Burdock Roots we bought in Kyoto last Friday.

I can tell you I was full and happy!
——————-
Ekiben/Station Bento: Minato Aji Zushi

ekiben-mishima2.jpg

“Ekiben” is the abreviation for “Eki”/Railway Station and “Ben”/Bento-Lunch box.
These packed lunches are extremely popular in Japan (I counted more than 90 in Shizuoka Prefecture alone!), as not only they make for a very satisfying lunch during a long trip, but they are usually made up with local ingredients, thus offering a good idea of what is eaten in the particular region you are visiting or going through!

ekiben-mishima1.jpg
I found this limited seasonal (Spring only) ekiben at Mishima JR Station Shinkasen Platform.
It is actually made in nearby Numazu City, one of the major fishing harbours in Japan (it does have a JR Station, but no Shinkasen stops there), and consists of Aji (sebream) sushi.
The lunch includes three types of sushi: nigiri (a piece of fish atop a ball of rice) secured by a band of pickled cherry tree leaf, another nigiri made up of a ball of rice mixed with the same fish inside a pouch made of pickled cherry tree leaf and a sushi maki also envelopped in pickled cherry tree leaf instead of the usual “nori”/seaweed. The fish is caught and pickled in Numazu City, therefore absolutely safe for consumption.

ekiben-mishima3.jpg
The beauty is that we are provided with a piece of real fresh Wasabi (from Amagi Plateau in Izu Peninsula) with a grater and soy sauce!
You could not find something more typical of Shizuoka Prefecture!

—————————-
February 25th, 2008

bento-02-25a.jpg

Today’s bento, what with all the eating and drinking during the week-end, was a light affair.
It turned out to be of the “expat” (European/American) style and could well appeal to Rowena, Allison and Biggie!

bento-02-25b.jpg
I wonder how I could call those “nigiri/rice balls”. They are of the “loose/soft” variety, made with “shari/sushi rice” mixed with chopped Japanese green cucumber pickles and “tobikko/flying fish roe” with a slice of French cucmber pickle and tartare sauce in its core and pieces of smoked salmon, seasoned with lemon juice and capers, randomly inserted. The nigiri are served in lettuce for easy eating as they tend to crumble away easily.

bento-02-25c.jpg

The salad consisted of semi-soft-boiled eggs, greens, plum tomatoes and pieces of Shizuoka-made Gouda cheese.

Problem is that my (?) half forgot to include some dressing I had to buy in a local shop! LOL

—————————
February 18th, 2008

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Usually, on Monday, my bento/lunch box consist of (home-made) sandwiches and I do not bother to describe them. But today, the Missus reverted back to normal Bento. I hope Rubber Slippers In Italy will like it!
DeLuscious Life might also be tempted for its balance!

bento-08-18b.jpg
Rice came under the form of three “nigiri/rice balls” of rice mixed with “umeboshi/Japanese pickkled plums” and “goma/sesame” partially envelopped in “shiso/perilla” leaves and accompanied by three kinds of “tsukemono/pickles”: home-made wasabi stems and leaves pickles, red daikon pickles, and home-made “asabata” daikon pickles

As for the “garnish”
bento-08-18c.jpg
(From left to right), potato, cucumber and pepper ham salad, deep-fried cuttle fish dumplings wrapped in lettuce, boiled mini asparaguses and mini corn, cherry tomatoes.

All meade from “leftovers”!
————————-
February 5th, 2008

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Tuesday is basically the day when my better half (I’d better say not my worse, or Rubber Slippers in Italy will clobber me!) is preparing me a solid rice-based bento. She tries to keep it both balanced and hearty as it is a long day until dinner.

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So she concocted three “nigiri/rice balls” of steamed rice mixed with finely chopped Japanese green cucumber pickles topped with pitted “umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums” of the sweet variety, or I shall end with too much salt, as it was accompanied by French pickles/cornichons, home-made red turnip pickles and Kyoto-style “shibazuke/pickled cucumbers”. “Pickled Cucumbers” uber alles, as you can see!
bento-02-05b.jpg
The fare to accompany the rice consisted of “kara-age”/deep-fried chicken. This is one dish whose secret my wife has always steadfastly refused to reveal. The only thing I know is that it involves a two-step frying process… Lettuce and plum-tomato grown in Shizuoka Prefecture, a medium soft boiled egg and some potato and broad bean salad. I was given a few “mikan”/mandarines for dessert and needed vitamin C.

By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a lady from the States who lived quite a few years in Japan before going back home and devising a professional Bento Website called Lunch in a Box! You will find all you need to know there to prepare lunch for your own and loved ones!

—————–
January 21st, 2008

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When I talked about today’s bento/lunch box with my better (worse?) half last night I “ordered” plenty of vegetables to help me recuperate from the usual heavy toll my body takes on week-ends.
Here what she came up with:
bento-01-21b.jpg
Three “nigiri” rice balls, left with “hijiki” seaweed and amatare/sweet sauce, centre with “umeboshi”/salted Japanese plum and right, with “hujiki” seaweed and sesame seeds.
A piece of processed cheese, French pickles and homemade Japanese pickles.
bento-01-21c.jpg
Boiled brocoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, white sausage from Fukuroi City and chorizo sausages. Dressing came apart.
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Boiled eggs mimosa-style on a two-tiered vegetable bed of beans and small greens, boiled mini asparaguses and cherry tomatoes. Dressing served apart.
A few biscuits for dessert to go with coffee. Et voila!

———————-
January, 15th, 2008

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Tuesday is one of my “regular bento day”!
Well, today my better (worse?) half happened to have some fresh “anago”/conger eel ready.
She concocted “Anago Kabayaki Shirashizushi”
She first prepared sushi rice that she mixed later with some finely chopped cold Japanese pickles.
She then cooked sweet Japanese-style scrambled eggs she spread over the rice after they had cooled off.
She then made Anago Kamayaki. This usually done over a grill, but she cut the fish into appropriate pieces and fried with Japanese seasoning. Once cooked she mixed them with Tare/Japanese sauce in a bowl and placed them over the rice. The last touch was Italian parsley leaves on top of each fish piece:

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As for the salad to go with it (Vitamins C…), she used already greens topped with cheese, pickles and boiled baby corn. The dressing was added separately for later seasoning!

———————-
January, 9th, 2008

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It seems that lunch boxes, bento in Japanese, are increasingly becoming popular with foreigners, not only in Japan but with a lot of former of expats who spread the word back home.
Since my better (worse?) half does have to prepare a bento for me at least three times a week, It is only doing justice to her to introduce what she concocts (I will ot impose the sandwiches I sometimes “order”!) with a lot of care, I must admit.

Today’s fare was “hijiki gohan”, rice steamed with hijiki seaweed, carrots, soy sauce, sake and I do not know what else, with some homemade Japanese pickles. The accompanying “dish” is from bttom to top, left to right, “kamaboko/fish paste” inserted with Shizuoka-made “wasabizuke/pickled wasabi”, boiled eggs, sweet violet yams dessert stew/”murasaki satsuma imo ni”, fresh plum tomatoes, roast pork and sauce, French pickles/”cornichons”, lettuce and greens!

A complete lunch as you can se!
Look forward to the next posting!
————–
June, 4th, 2007

On Mondays, as I’m too busy to come back home for lunch, my better (worse?) half usually prepares a bowed lunch, or “bento”, in various guises.

This time, it was all very Japanese:
bento3.gif
As for staples, she made “shirogoma to tobiko tsuke shyouga nigiri” (balls of rice steamed with fresh ginger topeed with white seame seeds and flying fish roe), “tamafoyaki” (Japanese omelette) and pickled fresh ginger roots.

bento2.gif
As for garnish, she fried asparaguses inside bacon to go with French pickles, fresh mini tomatoes, golden kiwi fruit, lettuce and processed cheese.

All this with avegetable juice pack.
Cannot complain, can I?

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