The BentoYa ladies taught us how to make character bento!
Earlier, we had interviewed BentoYa Cooking, a group of ladies who hold vegan cooking classes in English, so that you can make your own vegan Japanese food. We were recently invited to try their new cooking class geared towards companies. Though we’re just a small design agency, we decided it would be cool to try it out!
A Mini Lesson on Bento
Class started with a brief overview of what bento is and how it came about. We learned a lot of little tidbits about bento. There’s eki-ben at the stations and sora-ben for airports. And who knew there were different bento boxes for the aristocracy versus the plebs? (Not too surprised, though.)
Making Shawn the Sheep Character Bento
Onto the best part! We signed up to learn to make chara-ben, and our subject today would be Shawn the Sheep! They have the license to use the character, which is pretty cool.
First, we made some decorative carrots with little cookie cutters. They have each of us a chance to fiddle with the cooking equipment.
We fumbled our way through the decorative vegetables, then got to the soy “karaage chicken.” They had some oil to deep fry it in. Delicious.
We also made some “tamagoyaki,” a pseudo-egg roll which, of course, was vegan.
Finally, we worked on Shawn’s head, using the rice and seasoning to create rice balls. We arranged them in a sheep shape, and then put some eyes in.
Topped it off with some chest hair made of rice. It was certainly interesting to see how everyone’s sheep came out, as well as the decorations around it.
(Were these design decisions made for aesthetics or personal hunger? Hmm.)
For us, it was a fun little thing to do together, since not all of us see each other all the time. We usually keep it pretty casual so it’s not like we broke down barriers and whatnot (a larger company may benefit). That said, it was great to come together and do something creative without computer screens!
Join a BentoYa class
BentoYa Cooking typically runs classes in Tokyo and Yokohama. You can see if they have upcoming classes on their Facebook page. Otherwise, you can book a class with them on their website, in case your schedule doesn’t quite align with the predetermined class dates.