Q: How did you get started making bento?
A: One day I was packing lunch with leftovers from the night before for my boyfriend and myself. I only had Japanese-style hamburg and rice in it. It wasnâ€™t enough, so I made a chicken with a hard-boiled egg and octopi with fake (fish cake) sausage and put them in.
I had seen hard-boiled-egg chickens on some sites before and wanted to try it. It looked nothing likeÂ charaben (character bento). Itâ€™s not inÂ my blog orÂ my Flickr; you can only see it onÂ my boyfriendâ€™s Flickr because Iâ€™m so embarrassed by it. But when my boyfriend saw the bento, he just went “Awwww.” Thatâ€™s how it started. I simply wanted to hear it again.
Q: How long does it take for you to make a kyaraben?
A: First thing I do is draw a sketch of the bento which can take around an hour. Then the night before I put it together I’ll spend around an hour preparing any ingredients that can be stored in the refrigerator. Then in the morning up to three hours putting it all together.
Q: What tools do you use to make your bento?
A: Â You can read more about my tools in this post, but the essential tools I use are: hole puncher, exacto knife, scissors, college tweezers, single blade razor, paring knife, straw, toothpicks and several different sized plastic caps. I also have some specialized cookie cutters and seaweed punch tools, but don’t use them as often.
Q: Do your bento taste good?
A: All my bento are meant to be eaten, and because usually my boyfriend is doing the eating taste is very important! Usually the more colorful the bento the more nutritious and tasty it is. I don’t use any artificial coloring because it looks very unappetizing. I keep blue colors to an absolute minimum because blue is an appetite suppressant.
Q: Which bento you’ve made is your favorite?
A: Katamari Damacy and Sleeping Totoro are my favorites. Not only because I had so much fun making them, but because they came out pretty much as planned. I also think they’re very well balanced in terms of color and nutrition.
Q: Can you send or sell me a plush or pattern of any plush you’ve made?
A: Sorry, Â unless you are the owner of the copyrighted character I don’t sell plush or patterns, but many of the plush like Invader Zim piggy are made from very simple shapes, so if you need help making your own just email me for tips!
Q: Are you taking commissions for plush toys?
A: Yes! If you have a plush toy you want made or prototyped email me at AnnaTheRed[at]gmail.com and I will send you back a quote. Of course, no trademarked or copyrighted characters unless you own the property or represent the owner of the character.