Bento #72: Setsubun Totoro

February 3, 2010

in bento,studio ghibli

Today, February 3rd, is the day of Setsubun in Japan. It’s the day to drive away evil spirits, which means to throw roasted soybeans at Oni (evil creature/ogres from Japanese myths). In almost all kindergartens and schools, students make an Oni mask for Setsubun, so that kids can take the mask home, have someone wear it, and throw soybeans at them.

“Roasted soybeans are thrown either out the door or at a member of the family wearing an Oni (demon or ogre) mask, while the throwers chant “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!”. The words roughly translate to “Demons out! Luck in!” (wikipedia)”… bizarre, isn’t it?

Bento #72: Setsubun Totoro

Bento #72: Setsubun Totoro
Created and eaten on: 2/2/2010

First I put sauteed renkon (lotus root) on the bento box and lettuce at the bottom part of the bento box. Then I mixed rice with black sesame seed and using plastic wrap molded it into the shape of Totoro. I molded Totoro’s stomach with a little bit of plain rice also using plastic wrap. (see “how to make Totoro with rice”)

Setsubun Totoro details

Look out! It's Oni Totoro!

I wanted to use edamame instead of soybeans for this bento, and I also wanted to make Totoro look like he’s eating all the edamame that were thrown at him. I dug a hole in his face, put ham for the inside of his mouth, and made his teeth with kamaboko (fish cake). Then I stuffed edamame inside his mouth.

Setsubun Totoro details

Totoro looks always hungry.

Classic Japanese Oni have curly hair and horns, and wears tiger striped clothes. So I put broccoli on top of his head and cut carrot for his horns.

Setsubun Totoro details

Look at his scary horns! He makes one mean Oni.

I wasn’t planning on making tiger striped clothes for him at first but he looked very naked, so at the very end I decided to make an egg sheet with seaweed for the stripes and put it on him .

Setsubun Totoro details

Who knew Totoro looks good in tiger striped clothes?

I still had a little bit of rice left, so I made Chu-Totoro (medium Totoro) by wrapping a small rice ball with seaweed. I was going to use string beans for his ears, but I realized that there was already too much green in this bento. So I cut the left over egg sheet for his ears.

Setsubun Totoro details

His eyes are all funky, but I'm glad that I could put him in the bento. (I tend to forget Chu-Totoro when I make Totoro bento)

As usual, I used a hard boiled quail egg to make Chibi-Totoro (mini Totoro). (see “how to make Chibi-Totoro”)

wm_totoro_Setsubun Totoro details

The kamaboko was very moist. =/ As you can see, seaweed quickly started absorbing the moisture.

For meat, I put four homemade frozen meatballs as makkurokurosuke on each corner. I also wrapped asparagus and carrot in the middle with bacon, pinned it with toothpicks, and cooked in a pan. Bacon shrinks and wraps around veggies tightly, so you can take the toothpicks out and it won’t fall apart.

Setsubun Totoro details

Makkurokurosuke were bigger than usual, but still very yummy.

To fill the empty spaces I put broccoli, the rest of the asparagus, some edamame and snow peas. I felt like it needed more color, so I took out carrot flowers I had made before from the fridge (see “how to freeze carrot flowers”) and sprinkled them around the bento box.

Setsubun Totoro details right angle

Oni-wa soto! Fuku-wa uchi!

To finish it off I cut kamaboko for their eyes and cut seaweed for Totoro’s whiskers, nose, and eyes.

Although it took a longer than I expected (because I didn’t prepare the night before >_<), it came out pretty okay. I think the frozen carrot flowers really brighten up the bento.

This was my third bento that had Totoro with his mouth open. This one was harder to work on than the other bento because he was smaller than the other two. I don’t know why but I just love Totoro with his mouth open. =D

Oni Totoro:
- rice mixed with ground black sesame seed and salt, plain rice, seaweed, kamaboko, ham, edamame, broccoli and carrot, egg sheet

Chu-Totoro (medium Totoro):
- rice wrapped with seaweed, kamaboko, egg sheet

Chibi-Totoro (mini Totoro):
- quail egg, seaweed, kamaboko

- beef meatball, seaweed, kamaboko

Vegetable flowers:
- carrot
- asparagus and carrot wrapped with bacon

Other food:
- rencon
- lettuce
- broccoli
- edamame
- asparagus
- snow peas

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

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

LeeAnnNo Gravatar February 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

You do such nice work! I love this bento and think it is adorable. I only hope that when I try to make totoro I will be able to make him as cute as you do. How long did he take?


ReeceNo Gravatar February 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm

This looks awesome! Totoro looks cute as an Oni :D


RachelNo Gravatar February 16, 2010 at 11:10 pm

So Cute!


YunNo Gravatar March 1, 2010 at 1:07 am

Hi Anna, thanks again for coming out to Wellesley, your bentos are so cute! I was debating whether I should eat my Totoro or not….hahaha. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on your blog (it’s going to be my new procrastination site I think lol), please keep creating :)


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