Sun, 1 November 2009
A couple of years ago, Japanese mother Makiko Ogawa's son found kindergarten a traumatic experience. He hated school and every time she took him there he would cry himself silly. In order to comfort him, Makiko started making special "charaben" lunches for him.
"Bento" is a Japanese term for a boxed lunch, which can be homemade or bought in a store. "Charaben" means character bento. In other words, Ogawa shapes and decorates the food to look like anime characters or cute little animals, etc.
Ogawa is so good at making charaben that she has fans all over the world. She has even been approached by corporations that want to commission her work. While she is flattered by the attention she still sees her charaben primarily as a show of love for her children. She has a blog in Japanese:
If you just want to see pictures of her bento she also has a Flickr site that has English captions:
I will be adding her Flickr page to my website under "Japanese Sights & Sounds". She says she updates it about every two weeks. She encourages you to leave comments in English.