girly bento

this is from aji-hey! (or is it aji-hey!! ?), an izakaya-style restaurant in front of my condo. they just opened a bento place in our office building as well, so there's no escaping them! another name i like to say: aji-heeeey-what's that? aji-hey! where are you going with that?! it's run by an insanely cute japanese couple, and it features 6-8 different bento boxes each day.

this one is soooo girly, it's all about the grazing, with each element in the forest of food consisting of one or two bites each. starting from the top left-hand corner, going clockwise: fried salmon chunks pickled with radish and carrot, a corn croquette, shu mai, shoyu-cooked hot dog, karaage fried chicken, a cherry, a piece of pumpkin stewed in soy and mirin, tamago egg omelette, a tiny panko breadcrumb-coated prawn, grilled salmon, and pickles. >whew!< did i forget anything?

aji-hey bento/snack house
itc building, tamuning


Hi Santos,

Nice to know you can get a decent bento in Guam. Actually, I understand that loads of Japanese visit Guam. Is it true? In any case, this looks better than some of the bentos that I've had, and a bit more "Japanese".

bento is a funny thing on island--it gets better when more tourists are around, and in the slower tourist months, it gets boring. i guess there's more room to be creative when there's demand.

90% of guam's economy comes from tourism, and about 60% of that is from the japanese. it's so close to japan that it's one of those places where you can get a bonus vacation from your company (that is, if your company still gives out bonuses). supposedly it's cheaper to fly here than it is to okinawa from tokyo!

at my old condo building, about 40% of the units were vacation properties for japanese nationals. at my new one, i'm surrounded by japanese porn actresses (okay, two, but that's two more than none) and the occasional celebrity (okay, one). i know a lot of young japanese couples who move here because it's so less stressful than home, but close enough that baby can visit grandma, you know?

hello! so glad to come across your site! via mari/ watashi to tokyo!

what? no home made mini-rice crispie treat in the shape of a plum blossom?


Hi Santos - between your site and Reid's I've been seeing lots of bento lately, but I'm not sure I understand what it is. I think Reid described it as a boxed lunch. So is it just a question of how it is packaged or is there something else that makes a bento a bento?

hi maia--thanks for stopping by!

hi monkey! probably didn't want to compete with yours :-)

hi cathy--bento a bento, what a great name for a bento place, i'll have to remember that. a bento is basically a boxed lunch--it can be anything from sandwiches to full meals, but the basic idea is that it is well-packaged, and meticulously arranged. in japan (and guam and hawaii, actually), there are little shops that only sell bento, and some regions and shops are well known for their particular boxes.
there are quite a few blogs online that are specifically about bento, one of my favourites being mizuko ito's chronicle of her children's lunches, which will also bring you to a link about the the cultural politics of bento. another favourite is this one which shows that some people really have a lot of time on their hands....

Thanks Santos! Amazing - the bento shown on that last link are adorable! I sent the link to my brother and sister-in-law who just had there first baby and told them they better start practicing!