Bento #69: Nekobus #3

January 19, 2010

in bento,studio ghibli

Hooray! I finally made the first kyaraben of this year!

I wanted to make it a lot sooner, but I just couldn’t come up with an idea. I thought of making a different/easier bento but I really wanted the first kyaraben to be “new year themed.” I was worried about not finishing it on time since I was so out of touch, so I made it on our day-off. :P

Bento #69: Neko bus #3

Bento #69: Neko bus #3
Created and eaten on: 1/18/2010

After I sauteed renkon (lotus root) and put it in the bento box, I started making kadomatsu. In Japan, they display a kadomatsu for new year. “A kadomatsu (“gate pine”) is a traditional Japanese decoration of the New Year placed in pairs in front of homes supposedly to welcome ancestral spirits or kami of the harvest.” (from wikipedia) It looks like three pieces of bamboo stuck on a big pot with some pine. I cut string beans like bamboo and used chikuwa, a tube-like fish cake, to wrap around it as the bottom part of kadomatsu. Chikuwa was a bit small for three string beans, so I cut the back of chikuwa for three string beans to fit. I used the pink part of kamaboko and wrapped around chikuwa.

Nekobus #3 detail

Looks kind of like bamboo, doesn't it?

Pine and plums are also believed to bring good luck and often used on new year’s cards. So I carved a carrot in the shape of plum and boiled it together with asparagus. Then I wrapped them with thinly sliced pork and cooked it. (Three green round shapes side-ways with the middle one sticking out a little bit higher than the other two symbolizes the classic shape of pine.)

Nekobus #3 detail

Actually, carving carrot wasn't that hard.

Nekobus #3 detail

For the Nekobus, I mixed rice with ketchup and molded the rice using plastic wrap, put cheese on its stomach, and placed it on lettuce.

Nekobus #3 detail

Now that I look at this Nekobus, he is very simplified. :P

I made Totoro using rice with ground black sesame seed and a bit of salt with salmon flakes inside, and molded him with plastic wrap. (see “how to make Totoro with rice”)I made chibi-Totoro with a quail egg, kamaboko and black sesame seeds. (see “how to make chibi-Totoro”)

Nekobus #3 detail

Oh good ol' Totoro. I've missed you~.

I had frozen meatballs I had made previously, so I put them in the bento, sliced kamaboko and cut out makkurokurosuke’s eyes with a round plastic cap.

Nekobus #3 detail

Makkurokurosuke are more curious this year.

After everything was in place, I put broccoli, snowpeas and asparagus to fill some spaces between the food. I cut seaweed and cheese for Neko Bus’ eyes and mouth. Lastly I also cut out seaweed for Makkurokurosuke’s eyes and Totoro’s face.

Nekobus #3 detail

Nekobus says "Happy New Year!"

If I had a little more time, I would’ve definitely made it with Neko bus’ mouth open… This new year’s bento made me realize that I’m soooo out of touch, and I need to keep making bento and practice more! Yes, that’s definitely one of my new year’s resolutions!

Well, happy new year (again) everyone!

Neko bus:
- rice mixed with ketchup, cheese, carrot, kamaboko, seaweed

- rice mixed with ground black sesame seed with salmon flakes inside, kamaboko, seaweed

- quail egg, kamaboko, black sesame seed

- meatballs, kamaboko, seaweed

- string beans, chikuwa, kamaboko

- asparagus wrapped with thinly sliced pork

- plum wrapped with thinly sliced pork

Other food:
- renkon
- snowpeas

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Silvia McFarlandNo Gravatar January 20, 2010 at 10:02 am

Absolutely gorgeous! Love it!


Jen @ Tiny Urban KitchenNo Gravatar January 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I love it! I really like the New Years bits. And of course, it’s adorable.


kaiNo Gravatar January 20, 2010 at 8:02 pm

it still looks good! :)
i’ve always wanted to eat bento!


Daughter of FoodNo Gravatar January 21, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Awesome work Anna! Much praise to you.


Lady BNo Gravatar January 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Oh my word, this looks INCREDIBLE!


ynglaNo Gravatar January 23, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Adorable as usual…

You are such an inspiration! And your tutorials are awsome.

Of course you can put my Totoro on your “your food” page. I´d be honored!


aprilmNo Gravatar August 18, 2010 at 4:28 pm

i’m a huge Totoro fan (or make that Miyazaki-san fan!) and this creation is soooo adorable. very well done!!!


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