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May 1, 2013 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Kyaraben (or charaben) is a style of elaborately arranged bento which features food decorated to look like people, characters from popular media, animals, and plants. Mari Miyazowa (previously) creates stop-action animated shorts featuring her bento box creations. Waking Up is the latest from the lunchbox auteur.

  • The Shark and the Dolphin
  • Sausage Proliferation
  • Sumo Rice Ball Ring Entrance Ceremony
  • Bento Theater Opening Animation

  • Bento how-to
  • Charaben (character bento) recipes
  • Rice Ball Anime "Koron"
  • e-弁劇場 (Valve* Theater)

  • Picnic Bento
  • Lunch
  • Children's Day Lunch
  • How to make Momotaro Amman
  • How to make character

    *Allegedly, according to Google Translate
  • posted by Room 641-A (10 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

    This is dark stuff. The pig sleeps under a blanket made of ham!
    posted by dr. boludo at 8:59 PM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

    I don't even understand how she eats those.

    I would pick one up and just scream "Oh Egg Piggy! You are too cute!"

    And then try and fail with Mr. Cranky Sausagepus.

    Eventually I would starve.
    posted by louche mustachio at 9:05 PM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

    I am Purposeful Grimace and I totally approve of this playing with your food. Umai!
    posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:10 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

    Nothing like bento to make me feel inadequate as a parent. I just packed my toddler's lunch and the most elaborate I could muster was cutting his grapes in half (and that was out of necessity so he doesn't choke at daycare).
    posted by HMSSM at 10:56 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

    The kind of competition that these bentos inspire (seriously, it's a cut-throat world when it comes to raising your child; gotta have the right stroller, the right clothes, etc) inspires some parents to look for schools which have cafeterias and don't allow kids to bring their own lunch.

    That said, these are awesome. I wish my mom had expressed her love in a form like this, rather than the harsh lessons in self-sufficiency that lead to peanut butter and jelly every day from 1st to 6th grade...
    posted by Ghidorah at 11:51 PM on May 1, 2013

    I suddenly recall my own childhood, after my father lost his job and went back to school, and my mother became the sole breadwinner of the household. Dad, who was in charge of packing the kids' lunches in the morning, thought it would be funny one day to include a ziplock bag filled with a few dog biscuits and a note signed from our family dog telling me to have a good day.

    My friends at elementary school ribbed me for it all afternoon, so I in turn gave my dad shit for when I got home. I didn't fully understand his humor at that age, because if I did I would have known that my getting on his case would only encourage him to do it more. From then on, every couple of weeks for the next year or two he would include a bag of cat food, dog biscuits, bird seed, dry macaroni, or some other joke snack with some kind of goofy pun-filled note. Even in high school, years after I started making my own lunches, he would sometimes sneak some dog biscuits into my backpack, which I wouldn't discover until whatever point in the morning I would reach in to grab a pencil.

    Sure, sending a kid off to school with a bag full of bird seed in his lunch doesn't take the time or creativity that it takes to make one of these amazing bentos, but the message it sends is the same.
    posted by Kevtaro at 4:03 AM on May 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

    This combines 2 of my favourite things. Food, and cute.

    I think I pretty much grasped the plot, but is there a translation anywhere?
    posted by pianissimo at 5:23 AM on May 2, 2013

    Sure, sending a kid off to school with a bag full of bird seed in his lunch doesn't take the time or creativity that it takes to make one of these amazing bentos, but the message it sends is the same.

    It sounds more like when my mother would send me boxes of peeps and circus peanuts, which I detest. I am very vocal regarding my opinion of Satan's own confections, and she finds this hilarious. (She never resorted to Twizzlers, which would have been a bridge too far, and a bit too spendy for a

    So it's a facet of the same gem - it's not making dinosaur sandwiches to amuse your kids love, but finding subtle ways to irritate and confound them love. It's like a memory bento box that you unpack when you have both had too much wine.
    posted by louche mustachio at 6:25 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

    This was something that frustrated me when I first got a bento so I could start brown-bagging it to work. I got all excited and went to check out a couple of "bento ideas" cookbooks, thinking that I'd get menu ideas for foods that could get served together as a traditional Japanese meal-on-the-go. But instead, all there was was a shitload of tips for how to sculpt apple slices into bunnies or make Ewoks out of hot dogs or whatever.

    I gave up and just went with "whatever leftovers I had from last night's dinner."
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:21 AM on May 2, 2013

    pianissimo: " I think I pretty much grasped the plot, but is there a translation anywhere?"

    The Waking Up video has closed captioning you can turn on! I know they don't all have that option but you'd have to check each one.
    posted by Room 641-A at 12:27 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

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