Thursday, February 7, 2008

MUKU Interview

With Face Food, I was enamored by the passion-play process that goes into the making of charaben. Notwithstanding the heart's natural ego, every artisan was eager and willing to work with me, and to share their own photographs, designs, ideas and personalities. One such friendly face was MUKU. Here is an interview I did with her while in Tokyo. (Note: the images within this article are all ones that failed to make the cut of the book!)

Since when and why did you start making Charaben? How often?
Since about 1.5 years ago, to lessen my daughter’s dislikes. I make them almost everyday.

Who do you make Charaben for? How is his/her response?
For my daughter, who is always delighted to see them. She is now more interested in food and eats anything I make.

On average, how much time and money do you spend on making one Charaben?
About 30 minutes. Less than 200 yen.

Describe a typical Charaben-making day’s schedule.
I make a drawing the night before. I wake up at 6 and finish making Charaben by 7. I have two daughters so I always make two.

How do you choose which character to make? Which character is your favorite?
Whatever my daughers’ want. Disney princesses, Lilo & Stitch, Pokemon, Hello Kitty


This image © MUKU.

What is the most difficult/challenging thing when making Charaben?
I always try to make Charabens that not only look nice but are nutritional also. Characters with small and complicated parts are hard to make.

What do you think draws people to Charaben?
That Charabens make children happy.


This image © MUKU.

List the following three in the order of importance: nutrition, taste, and visual.
All are the most important. A good Charaben has all of these three.

What is the moment that makes you love/hate Charaben?
Love: My daugher eats everything and anything that I make, which I enjoy making also. I was once on TV for making Charaben!
Hate: When it just doesn’t look like the character my daughter requested.

What is Charaben to you?
Charaben is a way of communication between a parent and a child. I started making Charaben for my daughter, and now I talk with her more, mostly about food. She makes suggestions as to how I should make the character, for example. She now eats even the vegetables that she used to hate. Now that I am on TV sometimes making Charaben, I am more serious about it, and I hope to continue improving my skills.


This image © MUKU.

1 comment:

Cora Hardin said...

This is so inspiring! Though I am 23, I am a picky eater myself, and I am now going to start an adventure of learning how to make obento... not necessarily this pretty, but the idea of nutrition with portion control and an appealing design really appeals to me. Congrats on the book!