Earlier this summer, Walker Books released two illustrated books in a new “Moshi Moshi Kawaii” series, in which you search for the bunny-pill characters, kind of like the Where’s Waldo? books. However, these characters aren’t new; they are originally from Japanese company Mindwave and were released in 2002 as “Usa Colle.” The company sold a limited selection of Usa Colle stationery goods and toys at the time, though they’re pretty hard to find these days.
The old site at UsaColle.com is a bit dated now and is mostly in Japanese, but it has some neat things to check out. There are images of all the original characters, short Flash animations to watch, pretty desktop wallpapers and printables to download, and even a cute little game to play.
If you’re looking for a new source of inspiration for making cute bento boxes, there’s a book coming out in early June that might just do the trick. Even the cover of Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches is adorable, and I’m curious to know how they created some of the dishes (like that pig hamburger!).
The book is scheduled to come out on June 2, so you can pre-order the book on Amazon, or check out the official book site for more information. The authors also have their own bento-themed blogs; Crystal Watanabe posts at Adventures in Bentomaking and Makiko Ogawa is at Cute Obento.
I was browsing Amazon the other day and came across a brand new bento box cookbook called Kawaii Bento Boxes: Cute and Convenient Japanese Meals on the Go, by Joie Staff. The book includes recipes, basic nutrition and bento concepts, an overview of supplies, and instructions on making your food look kawaii.
Craft cute with Zakka Sewing: 25 Japanese Projects for the Household, a sewing project book of Japanese-inspired “zakka” projects. Make a squirrel-shaped teapot cozy or cute slippers to wear around the house.
Today, a bit of creepy cute, with the graphic novel Cinderalla by Junko Mizuno, the talented Japanese illustrator and artist. It’s a different take on the classic Cinderalla story, with a scarier, more Japanese-style spin to it. This was the first comic-style storybook by Ms. Mizuno, followed up with Hansel And Gretel and Princess Mermaid.
Creative bento boxes have gained quite a bit popularity online, and now you can enjoy other’s creations in book form as well, with the book Face Food: The Visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes. The book showcases some amazing creations, all crafted with food and completely edible, with interviews from some of the creators and tips on making your own bento box lunch.
Feed your hunger for Japanese pop culture with The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture, a collection of various tidbits on Japanese music, toys, pop culture, and more, from 1945 to the present.
This colorful photo book takes you through the streets of Japan, capturing images of cute characters adorning buildings, signs, products, and more.
Aranzi Aronzo‘s series of books has been gradually translated into English, and the latest installment is The Complete Aranzi Hour, a collection of comics with the whole cast of characters. Follow White Rabbit, Mechani-Panda, Sprite, and others, through mini adventures, games, and more.