I reported on this little lady a while back, when she was making quite the buzz with her unique charabens of popular record sleeve art (which she has dubbed jacketben). I had the pleasure of sitting down with her (in a Starbucks, of all places) while in Tokyo...
On average, how much time and money do you spend on making one jacketben?
It takes me anywhere from 30 minutes to over 2 hours, depending on the level of difficulty. I think it takes about 500 yen per bento, but I use whatever is in the fridge.
Did you know about charaben before you started making jacketben? How is charaben different from your jacketben?
I always made lunch for myself, but I got bored with the traditional bento, and so I made my first illustrated bento.
Instead of an anime or cartoon character, I used my favorite illustration as the motif. My friends liked it, and so I’ve been doing it since.
Charaben is usually done with a popular or famous character, but my jacketben is not recognizable by everyone, so I consider it sort of underground culture.
How do you feel about the fact that charaben has become so popular and well-known across the nation?
I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. It’s a total combination of cooking and art. I think it’s great for kids to have something creative as part of their daily lives.
What is the most challenging or difficult thing about making charaben?
The most difficult thing is to find the time to make one. I also make sure to choose the right CD jacket and to make it without using artificial coloring.
What tools do you use when you make charaben?
Eyebrow scissors, bamboo sticks, saran wrap
What is the moment that makes you love/hate charaben?
Love: I love it when my friends show appreciation for my work. I love to draw and to make things, and jacketben is part of that.
Hate: I hate it when my job is busy. I can’t make a good jacketben when I’m stressed out or upset.