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TEACHING CHILDREN HEALTHY EATING HABITS, CUTE CHARACTER BENTO-MAKING AT HARLEM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. NHK TV + SCOTTISH FOLD CUTE OVERLOAD.


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I know you’ve been waiting for photos of the Harlem bento-making class… so here’s a slideshow on YouTube! (I’ll post my favorite photos and tell you more about what happened in the next few days — so check back.)

NHK, Japan’s national public broadcaster, shot a 20 minute TV documentary about character bentos that focused on my work and recipe book, Cute Yummy Time. In this segment, I taught Harlem students how to make healthy, cute bentos. It was a success — the children loved it and ate vegetables that they’d never tried before! The New York Wave episode about cute bento boxes will air this February on NHK; Ill be sure to let you know the exact time and put up segments on YouTube (please subscribe so you wont miss out).

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Paws up! Baby paws up, gimme your heart gimme gimme your heart, gimme gimme…

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Because we can all use some Scottish Fold kawaii to make our day a little sweeter.

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When Basil Farrow is in an especially good mood, he rolls onto his back and puts his fat paws in the air…

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… and gives you “the look” until you come and rub his tummy. You can see zillions of cute photos of Basil and his flop-eared friends on his Scottish Fold blog. Come see!

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He’s also featured as a character in my cute cookbook, inspired by Japanese bento decoration. If you want to get in on the charaben action, please consider my recipe book, Cute Yummy Time. (Now in major bookstores and available online.)

Have a super-cute day!

Song of the Day #293: The Creatures – Believe In Yourself and Mike Mareen – Dancing In The Dark (Galactica Mix). Because feel-good Italo seemed appropriate for my Harlem bento lesson video.

62 Comments

  1. Javeton
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    :D awesome! hope you had fun there~

  2. The Florida Butterfly
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    That was so great, I bet that was a wonderful experience.

  3. Milena
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    You look like you were having so much fun and kids were so interested and ate vegetables.
    That is great way of introducing food to children.
    Your cat is so cuddly :)
    My is bit evil, she bites and argues but that is her nature i think, she is siamese.

    • lacarmina
      Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Yeah! Many of them had never seen sprouts or green beans before, but were encouraged to try them. The parents were there too, and said they picked up new ideas for packing lunches!

  4. Avon Cheese
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    That is so cool that you got little kids to veggies they never ate before! The music was great to!

  5. Marie
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Your cat is so adorable!
    Hope you had fun with the kids :S You should come to my school too, haha!

    • lacarmina
      Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      It was ridiculously fun! So much preparation, but well worth it for the experience.

  6. murbela
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Looks like everyone had fun making and eating kawaii characters :) I do have a technical question about those sandwiches… if you make it at home and you take it with you to work or make it for kids’s lunches how do you make everything stay together? It’s impossible to keep the sandwich always face up and by lunchtime when you get to open it you’ll scream in horror at the sight of what used to be a cute character, heh. You could wrap them tightly but then when you eat them you won’t really notice the kawaii aspect anymore.

    What’s a bit funny is that they look like they were committing the ultimate sin: eating in the library! Is that true or is it just a classroom with a lot of books?

    Basil Farrow is as cute as always ^^ I like the devilish look he seems to have in the first pic :D

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 27, 2010 at 12:52 am | Permalink

      It was our library ^^, don’t worry we don’t have any librarians so there is no one to yell at them!

    • lacarmina
      Posted January 27, 2010 at 3:00 am | Permalink

      Great question! Everything stays in place if you pack it tightly enough into a tupperware or bento box. Example, I made this sandwich face and brought it to the school the next day as a bento sample, and none of the components shifted. https://www.lacarmina.com/blogpics/100121_nhkprep7.jpg

      For the more complicated elements, toothpicks are key (although tell the kids to watch out for them!)

  7. Javeton
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    :D awesome! hope you had fun there~

  8. All Women Stalker
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    It’s a wonderful thing that your bentos help children to try new veggies. I guess the cuteness makes them forget how icky they think veggies are.

    • lacarmina
      Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:58 am | Permalink

      Exactly! They looked at the vegetables as materials for creating cute faces — and that encouraged them to try them. I was surprised at how willing they were to eat the new veggies — almost everything was gone by the end of the day.

  9. The Florida Butterfly
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    That was so great, I bet that was a wonderful experience.

  10. Milena
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    You look like you were having so much fun and kids were so interested and ate vegetables.
    That is great way of introducing food to children.
    Your cat is so cuddly :)
    My is bit evil, she bites and argues but that is her nature i think, she is siamese.

  11. Avon Cheese
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    That is so cool that you got little kids to veggies they never ate before! The music was great to!

  12. Marie
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Your cat is so adorable!
    Hope you had fun with the kids :S You should come to my school too, haha!

  13. lacarmina
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    It was ridiculously fun! So much preparation, but well worth it for the experience.

  14. lacarmina
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Yeah! Many of them had never seen sprouts or green beans before, but were encouraged to try them. The parents were there too, and said they picked up new ideas for packing lunches!

  15. choco333
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    i wanna meet you!
    but i live in canada :(

  16. just a prayer
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Ahaha, fun. I’m jealous of those kids.

  17. Thomas
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Friggen adorable! Both the kids and your cat! (and I’m not much of a cat person but Basil is amazing). Very exciting! The one rather funny/sad part is that whole library it was shot in, while part of our ‘building’ actually belongs to another school in the building, and thats the first time in 2 years I’ve ever gotten to bring a class into it lol.

    • lacarmina
      Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:57 am | Permalink

      It was such a cool experience! So much energy in the hallways of the 5-schools-in-one!

  18. Thomas
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    And so Shichi is the man I met there with the fantastical hat? That’s what i thought after the last post, but as he was the photographer clearly I now know his secret identity lol.

  19. Kelly
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    Looks like a blast!

  20. murbela
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Looks like everyone had fun making and eating kawaii characters :) I do have a technical question about those sandwiches… if you make it at home and you take it with you to work or make it for kids's lunches how do you make everything stay together? It's impossible to keep the sandwich always face up and by lunchtime when you get to open it you'll scream in horror at the sight of what used to be a cute character, heh. You could wrap them tightly but then when you eat them you won't really notice the kawaii aspect anymore.

    What's a bit funny is that they look like they were committing the ultimate sin: eating in the library! Is that true or is it just a classroom with a lot of books?

    Basil Farrow is as cute as always ^^ I like the devilish look he seems to have in the first pic :D

  21. Moon Maiden 90
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    It looks like u did such a good job those kids. the pictures really look like they enjoyed themselves.
    & those pics of Basil Farrow are so cute also!…when I’m away from my kitty Taz, they make me miss him though! lol

  22. Aidoedoe
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Aww, this is so adorable! :3

  23. Thomas_Goblin
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    It was our library ^^, don't worry we don't have any librarians so there is no one to yell at them!

  24. All Women Stalker
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    It's a wonderful thing that your bentos help children to try new veggies. I guess the cuteness makes them forget how icky they think veggies are.

  25. Seiran
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Basil should have his own manga xD He’s so friggin cute!!
    It’s good that you reached out to those kids. The Bento experience is a good way for kids to eat foods they normally wouldn’t eat lol

  26. choco333
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    i wanna meet you!
    but i live in canada :(

  27. just a prayer
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Ahaha, fun. I'm jealous of those kids.

  28. Thomas
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Friggen adorable! Both the kids and your cat! (and I'm not much of a cat person but Basil is amazing). Very exciting! The one rather funny/sad part is that whole library it was shot in, while part of our 'building' actually belongs to another school in the building, and thats the first time in 2 years I've ever gotten to bring a class into it lol.

  29. Thomas
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    And so Shichi is the man I met there with the fantastical hat? That's what i thought after the last post, but as he was the photographer clearly I now know his secret identity lol.

  30. Kelly
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    Looks like a blast!

  31. lacarmina
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    It was such a cool experience! So much energy in the hallways of the 5-schools-in-one!

  32. lacarmina
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Exactly! They looked at the vegetables as materials for creating cute faces — and that encouraged them to try them. I was surprised at how willing they were to eat the new veggies — almost everything was gone by the end of the day.

  33. lacarmina
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    Great question! Everything stays in place if you pack it tightly enough into a tupperware or bento box. Example, I made this sandwich face and brought it to the school the next day as a bento sample, and none of the components shifted. https://www.lacarmina.com/blogpics/100121_nhkpre

    For the more complicated elements, toothpicks are key (although tell the kids to watch out for them!)

  34. shichi
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    I've been discovered!

  35. Moon Maiden 90
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    It looks like u did such a good job those kids. the pictures really look like they enjoyed themselves.
    & those pics of Basil Farrow are so cute also!…when I'm away from my kitty Taz, they make me miss him though! lol

  36. Aidoedoe
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Aww, this is so adorable! :3

  37. Seiran
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Basil should have his own manga xD He's so friggin cute!!
    It's good that you reached out to those kids. The Bento experience is a good way for kids to eat foods they normally wouldn't eat lol

  38. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    As I said on myspace, Basil should have his own manga~~ ;D スゲ冒険のスコットランド猫バゼールファーロでいきましょう! (Let’s go The Epic Adventures of Scottish Fold Kitty Basil Farrow!)
    See? It even has an epic name lol I’m losing it hehe

    • lacarmina
      Posted January 27, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      I love it!!!!

    • lacarmina
      Posted January 27, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      In Cute Yummy Time, he is an anime character and has adventures in kawaii-land… so it’s kind of like a manga!

  39. stillprince
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    As I said on myspace, Basil should have his own manga~~ ;D スゲ冒険のスコットランド猫バゼールファーロでいきましょう! (Let's go The Epic Adventures of Scottish Fold Kitty Basil Farrow!)

    See? It even has an epic name lol I'm losing it hehe

  40. Fluffy Conti
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    omg… that first picture of Basil… XD
    there are no words to describe.

    • lacarmina
      Posted January 28, 2010 at 4:24 am | Permalink

      hahaha imagine living with that special fuzzy bear-creature! When he’s not sleeping, it’s impossible to get anything done! XD

  41. lacarmina
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I love it!!!!

  42. lacarmina
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    In Cute Yummy Time, he is an anime character and has adventures in kawaii-land… so it's kind of like a manga!

  43. Fluffy Conti
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    omg… that first picture of Basil… XD
    there are no words to describe.

  44. Comoyoko
    Posted January 28, 2010 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    The kid at 1:41 made my day!!! God bless him forever!!

  45. lacarmina
    Posted January 28, 2010 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    hahaha imagine living with that special fuzzy bear-creature! When he's not sleeping, it's impossible to get anything done! XD

  46. Comoyoko
    Posted January 28, 2010 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    The kid at 1:41 made my day!!! God bless him forever!!

  47. Anonymous
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Your cat is too cute to actually be alive. I don’t believe you.

  48. gilimalili
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Your cat is too cute to actually be alive. I don't believe you.

  49. lacarmina
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    He's actually a stuffed teddy bear…

  50. gilimalili
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Knew it.

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