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Off topic, but I love Japanese cuisine and wanted to share these with you. NHK is a Japanese organization that an American would think of as a cross between PBS and the FCC, and they have a ton of excellent programming in their library. They have been streaming live online for a number of years, but they recently added an On Demand interface to their web site and their apps, so you can watch and listen to shows on your schedule. Besides the Manga/Anime/Games/Music shows I watch without fail every week, their collection includes an excellent assortment of Japanese Food programs, both video and Radio Recipe collections. Plus, they broadcast in 18 languages, one of which is English, so you don’t even have to learn to speak Nihongo to follow along. If you have ever gone to a Japanese restaurant and had a meal you really enjoyed, you will be surprised at how easy it is to cook them yourself. Just as a bonus, all of these programs are free to enjoy.

The NHK has launched VOD online, and if you love Japanese food you have to watch Dining with the Chef. While the Video On Demand site itself only has links to the last 2 episodes of each of the shows it is carrying, if you go to the main Dining with the Chef web site you can get the final “Let’s Review” portion of the program going back much further. That is where they give you the cliff notes version of the primary recipe for each episode, sometimes including the side dishes like the soups and salads.

You can also Watch NHK Live to see all of their programming from anywhere in the world, and they have a ton of excellent shows they have not yet added to their VOD servers you might want to check out. I have a number of other programs I make sure to never miss each week, including J-Melo for the latest music and Imagine-Nation for news about Anime, Games, Manga, and Otaku Events from all over the world.

While I may be all about everything Sci-Fi and Otaku, I am wearing one of these human bodies and do have to fuel it like everyone else. But there is no reason that shouldn’t be fun, creative, and sometimes silly, and for that I find Bento and Sushi are the best ways to go. The first example here is the simplest I could find that totally gets the concept across; how to use those tiny sausages to make cute stuff for your bento box, including octopi. The second gives you a simple way to create Panda Themed Rice Balls, and when combined with the first video gives you a great introduction to bento box basics. The third looks at the use of egg molds to add that kaiwaii touch to lunch. The fourth is an example of creating a cute bear from fish patties and other stuff, although since I don’t like fish I make mine from potato pancake fixings.

The fifth is rather more ambitious; making a Sushi Panda Roll. Please note that even though the execution of this last entry takes a lot more time to get right, all of these are ways to bring a bit of extra enjoyment and entertainment to a meal. There are tons more ways to create good bento, and the overall balance of the box isn’t even mentioned here, but once you start down this path you will want to share your lunches just to watch others reactions to your creations. If you have kids this is also a great way to get Parent of the Year nominations from their friends, as they gain all kinds of recognition on the school grounds. The final video is just to give you a hint of what is possible, and inspire you to create your own; there are no limits! And for those worried about non edible items in a lunch, I promise food coloring on rice paper is both edible and non-toxic.