CUTE YUMMY TIME BENTO COOKBOOK IN URBAN OUTFITTERS! JAPANESE POP CULTURE BOOKS CARRIED BY MAJOR CLOTHING RETAILER.March 28, 2010 at 22:07 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | 2 Comments
Amazing news: I heard my Japan bento inspired cookbook, Cute Yummy Time, is on display at Urban Outfitters! My book is carried in the NYC stores and other US locations, and coming to Canadian branches soon. You can also see more and purchase it here.
CNNGO published an exclusive, original cute recipe of mine: Winking Coconut Gelatin. Healthy and refreshing — and adorable. Also from the 4-part series: Penguin Onigiri and Tiger Chicken Tikka Masala. There’s info about my cute cookbook on this page — please consider checking it out, so that I can continue to put out books for you!
BENTO DEMO, HOW-TO TUTORIAL FOR CUTE CHARACTER BENTOS ON TV SHOW. JAPANESE COOKING SHOWS, KAWAII BENTO PROGRAM.March 11, 2010 at 01:00 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time, Videos | Leave a comment
The NHK documentary about cute bentos has aired! Come watch my segments on my YouTube channel (please subscribe) or embedded below. Japanese TV is absolutely bananas, isn’t it?
In Part 1, I show the reporter how to draw and create cute character bentos. How many times can you spot my Scottish Fold cat, Basil Farrow?
Part 2 documents my visit to the Harlem elementary school to teach children (and their parents) how to make cute and healthy sandwiches. Don’t you love their enthusiasm?
Some parts didn’t make the final cut: the reporter and I had a five minute race to make cute food faces, and there was a segment where I modeled my fashion line. But I’ll post behind-the-scenes videos from the shoot later on (shot by Shichi, as were the photos above). You can see more from the NHK Japanese TV show in the last few pages of this blog — and to learn cute bento-making, do consider my book Cute Yummy Time!
Yesterday was an interesting press day. The Guardian (UK newspaper) reported that Cute Yummy Time was named one of the oddest book titles of the year — along with “Bondage for Beginners” and other head-scratchers. I hope my book makes the shortlist…
HEALTHY EATING FOR CHILDREN, RECIPES FOR PICKY EATERS. KIDS COOKING, MAKING CUTE FACED SANDWICHES AT NEW YORK SCHOOL.February 1, 2010 at 08:32 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | 1 Comment
I began my speech by telling the Harlem schoolchildren that I brought a cute friend with me. I pulled her out of a large bag… and they awwed in recognition: “It’s Hello Kitty!”
I talked about kawaii in Japanese culture and character bentos, and gave pointers on healthy eating. The nine-year-olds were very high-energy and asked me rambling questions. Then it was time for the students to try making their own cute-faced sandwiches. They chose ingredients from the spread I had prepped the previous day. By the end of the shoot, almost everything was gone!
The children intuitively understood how to use cookie cutters, straws and other basic tools to make kawaii characters out of food. I went around the tables to help and encourage them.
Amazingly, the children ate vegetables that they’d never seen before — sprouts, green snap peas, red peppers — and said they tasted great. Their parents took away a fun, new approach to making healthy food accessible for kids. I was pleased.
Hana cheered, “Let’s make kawaii character bentos together!” — and we all raised our fists and yelled “Yayyyyy!” Ah, the wonders of Japanese TV.
You will love the episode of New York Wave, which will air next month on NHK (I’ll upload clips). Much thanks to Thomas, a teacher at the school, for his invaluable help in making the lesson possible. Arigato also to Shichi for the photos and help in dishing out the food.
Received my Akumi Ink x La Carmina t-shirts today and AHH the prints are so eye-catching! Each tee and hoodie is hand-screened; you won’t be disappointed by the quality. (They’re available for order at www.akumuink.com — I’ll post photos of me in them soon.)
TEACHING AT HARLEM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: JAPANESE COOKING & BENTO LUNCH BOX MAKING LESSONS. TUTORIALS, TIPS, HOW TO MAKE KAWAII CHARABEN BENTOS.February 1, 2010 at 08:26 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | Leave a comment
A 20 minute documentary about cute character bentos requires 20 hours of filming… and 200 hours of preparation!
The New York Wave reporter, Hana, got her army green dress from a boutique in Shibuya 109. My silky dress is handmade — it’s part of the cosplay outfit that I later put on. I own three skull scarves; this one is from a random mall vendor.
I was scheduled to teach sixteen rambunctious 9-year-old students how to make kawaii bentos. We set up the tables with Tupperware boxes, cookie cutters, straws, toothpicks, plastic knives and other tools for making sandwiches with cute faces.
On camera, I interviewed Principal Cesar of the Talented and Gifted School for Young Scholars. Her school is one of five housed in a large complex at East 109th and Lexington. It’s crazy: in the course of a few blocks, the neighborhood goes from fancy Chanel to Harlem housing projects.
Tamami helped me clip on my onigiri hat. This and the furry cardigan complete my handmade Phoenix Wright costume; I’m the bento lady Angel Starr. (You may recall I wore this to my LA book signings; more photos here and here.)
To hold the childrens’ attention, I drew cute animals, wrote on the whiteboard and dangled my stuffed Hello Kitty.
Time to hide in the back… the uniformed schoolchildren are about to enter the library! (All photos by Shichi. You can see a slideshow of the Harlem photos in this video-post.)
Thank you to each of you for reading my blog; you make my work possible, and I appreciate your comments and camaraderie. You can also view the posts by RSS and posts in your inbox. I also post updates several times a day on Twitter and try to add everyone back.
I know you’ve been waiting for photos of the Harlem bento-making class… so here’s a slideshow on YouTube! (I’ll post my favorite photos and tell you more about what happened in the next few days — so check back.)
NHK, Japan’s national public broadcaster, shot a 20 minute TV documentary about character bentos that focused on my work and recipe book, Cute Yummy Time. In this segment, I taught Harlem students how to make healthy, cute bentos. It was a success — the children loved it and ate vegetables that they’d never tried before! The New York Wave episode about cute bento boxes will air this February on NHK; Ill be sure to let you know the exact time and put up segments on YouTube (please subscribe so you wont miss out).
My cat Basil Farrow is featured as a character in my cute cookbook, inspired by Japanese bento decoration. If you want to get in on the charaben action, please consider my recipe book, Cute Yummy Time. (Now in major bookstores and available online.)
JAPANESE FOOD & BENTO BOX ART, COOKING CUTE FOOD FOR NHK NEW YORK WAVE TV SHOW ABOUT KAWAII LUNCH BENTOS.February 1, 2010 at 08:20 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | Leave a comment
Day 3 of the NHK Japan TV shoot. Regi came to NYC to witness the cute cookery. We both happened to be wearing black and our favorite shade of blue. She refers to it as hyper-active or BAM turquoise; I call it 0099CC (since that’s its hex color for CSS and Photoshop).
My long-sleeve top with a face on it: Etnies, an action apparel brand. Random, eh? This TV segment called for “casual clothes” so I had to do my best!
Skull scarf worn as a skirt: A mall vending cart. Casual, cheap and random: check.
Black leggings: Mall vending cart again.
Blue fishnets worn on forearms: Socks from Barcelona that I wear on my arms.
Cute penguin bands worn below knees: These are actually bento box straps from Daiso, the Japanese dollar store. I’d say the overarching theme of this outfit is… random?
Just like in Food Network competitions, I had to prep a large amount of food for the next day. Believe it or not, I was going to Harlem to teach nine-year-olds how to make cute bentos! Wait til you see the photos…
Since we’re in random mode today, I thought I’d go off on some thought tangents. Digital cameras versus film: this and the previous photo are from a vintage camera Shichi bought, and the difference is perceptible. I’m determined to tinker further with toy cameras — I think the results are worth the price of processing.
And I like Regi’s armbands. Practical and stylish. They add a Goth element and work with a variety of short-sleeved tops.
Top-hatted Shichi took all the photos in this post (except the one he’s in, of course). People often ask if my hair is the result of extensions. Nope, it’s all me. For this style, I tied small bundles with black elastics to fluff up the natural volume.
There was a major kitchen clean-up after the cameras left. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a clean freak are you? I’m probably around a 9…
Two random recommendations. Patti Smith’s new book, Just Kids, is impossible to put to down. It’s a memoir of her adventures with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe; 1960s NYC bohemia is a time that has always fascinated me. Pick up a copy and share it with your partners in crime.
Second, if you’re in New York City, go to Kenka. The Japanese word means fighting…
… and it’s the name of a much-loved Japanese izakaya (bar-style restaurant) on St Mark’s Place. There’s always a lineup outside, so try to come at 6pm when the doors open. If you put down your name, don’t go away — the man in the turban skips over absentees!
Don’t order the soggy gyoza, but do get a bottle of sake and yuzu shochu. Gather a group of friends and sample the takoyaki, unagi (eel), grilled mackerel, cod roe onigiri (rice balls), miso tofu, egg and mushroom rice, okonomiyaki, yakitori… so so yummy. At the end, you get a little cup of magic to pour into the cotton candy machine outside. Then you grab a stick and swirl it around and… FAIL. (A Kanae manga for your amusement!)
CUTE YUMMY TIME AUTHOR LA CARMINA ON NHK JAPAN TV SHOW. CHARACTER BENTOS, KAWAII HELLO KITTY PLUSH TOY.February 1, 2010 at 08:15 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | Leave a comment
Ah, the scratch-your-head experience of being on Japanese TV! Here’s day two of behind-the-scenes photos from my NHK Japan filming (courtesy of Shichi). I call this my “genki outfit”; think energetic, fun, bright:
Cobweb sweater top: Black Peace Now, from Closet Child. (It comes with trailing sleeves, not worn.)
Ganesh elephant god top: Vivienne Tam. Bought it almost 10 years ago in Hong Kong.
Punk plaid skirt with furry dangles and detachable leg covers: Peace Now, from Closet Child. (Such a unique piece.)
Hair: tied up in two loose, messy bundles. The TV director marveled: “How very spiky!”
The cameras filmed me doing what I do: chilling with Hello Kitty, reading Japanese bento books, blogging and writing all day. Let’s play Where’s Waldo! Can you spot…
† The blue feather I wore at the Halloween Vampire Masquerade ball?
† The gift that came with Blablahospital’s Xmas card?
† The dead kitty scarf I wore to Christon Cafe Shibuya?
† Part of my Phoenix Wright bento lady cosplay outfit?
The director interviewed me about my work. I don’t mind cameras in my face; I’ve had a lot of practice on my YouTube.
After, I Gothed up my lips for a fashion segment. Black lipstick from Lime Crime and a dab of dark blue from Make Up For Ever.
Fuzzy black beret with sparkles: Nile Perch, from Laforet Harajuku.
Silver and black crucifix ring: What’s your guess? Guess again? (Oh that never gets old!)
Crystal and black leather cuff: Yohji Yamamoto (one of my favorite pieces ever, from a Shibuya vintage store)
Spiky ankle boots: Tripp NYC, from Trash and Vaudeville in NYC
Here’s a closeup of one of my favorite eye makeup techniques. First, put on loads of black eyeliner (I use Urban Decay). I swept Aromaleigh Sonic Rocks in a teal shade over the edges, added blue glitter from Too Faced to the inside of my eyelids, and finished with Japanese dollar store stickers.
In one of those classic “montage” segments, I modeled the coats from my previous collection. Can’t wait for the first printing of the Akumu Ink collaboration t-shirts, now available for order here (and more info here – thanks for your enthusiasm!).
You’ll see how the TV shoot turned out in early February when it airs on NHK (and I’ll put up video clips on my YouTube.) Please keep in touch: I added Google Friend Connect and Facebook Fan boxes to the right sidebar. You can also receive special announcements via my Twitter and mailing list; please subscribe by entering your email in the top right box on the sidebar.
CUTE BENTO LUNCH BOXES! NHK NEW YORK WAVE DOCUMENTARY ABOUT CHARACTER BENTOS, LA CARMINA CUTE YUMMY TIME TV SHOOT.January 21, 2010 at 21:30 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | Leave a comment
NHK Japan documentary shoot, day one… lights, cameras, action! Photo-journalist Shichi took a zillion behind-the-scenes photos, which we’ll share with you in upcoming posts. He also gave me this stuffed Domo (the NHK mascot!).
Dress: Yumi, a flirty London brand inspired by Asian fashion. I couldn’t resist the Yorkie terriers print and the price (on sale for $70).
Leggings: Vivienne Westwood, a gift from my cousin and aunt. This is the first Westwood item I’ve owned!
Cute animal hair ties: from Daiso, the 100 yen (dollar) store.
TV shoots involve a truckload of equipment: lighting, tripods, cameras, you name it. The crew consisted of a cameraman, audio person, director, reporter, makeup artist — and yours truly. (The NHK team spoke to each other in Japanese; luckily, I knew what was going on!)
Before the cameras roll, there are hours and hours of preparations. The previous night was a mad rush to create sample character bentos (animal pancakes, frog pita sandwich, eggs dyed yellow with turmeric and transformed into chicks). I showed the host, Hana, how to draw kawaii animals.
Top: We had a five minute race to make cute faces out of healthy ingredients. Right: Our completed character bento sandwiches (can you recognize my cat, Basil Farrow?). Left: This is Japanese TV — so we had to be extra smiley and energetic and cute. Hana picked up a cashew nut and said, “This looks like a smile.” I held raspberries in front of her eyes and made them dance. V-fingers!
Filming involves take after take after take… Hana had to repeat a line six times: “Kawaii, ne? I’m going to turn this into a sandwich!” We began at 10 am and kept on going until well past 6pm. TV work is tiring, but oh so fun…
The New York Wave episode about cute bento boxes will air this February on NHK; I’ll be sure to let you know the exact time and put up segments on YouTube (please subscribe so you won’t miss out). More goofy photos from the shoot to come.
In recent press
† Popular Philadelphia radio show Chef’s Table interviewed me about my recipe book Cute Yummy Time (you can stream the show on the site).
† CNNGo is doing a four-part series about Cute Yummy Time recipes; the first one gives a tigerish makeover to India’s chicken tikka masala.
† If you’re interested in many more cute-faced recipes, please check out my new cookbook, in stores and available online.
ADORABLE BENTO CREATIONS BY CUTE YUMMY TIME COOKBOOK READERS. LA CARMINA TV APPEARANCES IN 2010, JAPAN KAWAII FOOD DOCUMENTARY.January 3, 2010 at 03:26 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | 1 Comment
Happy New Year! Thank you to everyone who bought Cute Yummy Time and sent me photos of the recipes they made. Siouxsie Law built a coffin tiramisu — it looks deadly delicious. The stylish Gari Ouji threw a Cute Yummy Time birthday party, where the guests made food inspired by my cookbook — what a great idea! Finally, Meg Tweeted to me: “Looook!! I made a baby bird egg salad wrap like @lacarmina !! Best cookbook ever. I love the book, got it for Xmas & can’t wait to try everything out! So kawaii!!” If you’re interested in finding out more about the book, click here.
I’m excited about 2010… plans include more TV work and time in Japan! In May, French TV station Canal Plus will fly me to Tokyo to be featured in a 90-minute documentary. It’s part of an ongoing series that takes a surprising and subversive look at world capitals. And the host is none other than Antoine de Caunes, one of France’s biggest TV and film stars. Perhaps you may know him from the hit UK series Eurotrash, which he co-hosted with Jean Paul Gaultier!
So you can look forward to much more Tokyo Decadance (literally — we’ll be painting the town red with party organizer Adrien le Danois.) Of course, all my favorite Tokyo Spooks will be involved in the filming, like the Andrew Zimmern Bizarre World shoot (which will air this April).
Next week, I’ll be in front of the cameras for a Japanese TV station, NHK. As I mentioned before, I’ll be the subject of a New York Wave documentary on cute food and character bentos. Hello Kitty and schoolchildren will be involved… yes!
And where will I be in February/March? The City of Angels, with the infamous Yukiro Dravarious! (Above: Yukiro with Das Ich and DJ SiSEN.) We’ll be rooming together (!!) and collaborating with LA luminaries, leaving a trail of ostrich feathers and blood in our wake…
What else do I have planned for 2010? Quite a lot. I’m continuing to write about Asia pop culture/music/fashion/food for CNNGo (see all my articles here), and I want to get started on my next book project. There’s additional TV stuff in the works, which I can’t talk about quite yet… but so far, everything’s pointing to a green light. And the fashion collaboration will be revealed soon, so keep checking back.
2010 is going to be a killer year of filming, friends, fashion, and flamboyance — can’t you feel the electricity in the air? Who’s coming along with me on the wild ride?
BIG NEWS: APPEARING IN NHK JAPAN DOCUMENTARY! CUTE YUMMY TIME RECOMMENDED IN WASHINGTON POST HOLIDAY COOKBOOKS GIFT GUIDE.December 18, 2009 at 22:00 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time | 1 Comment
I’ve been juggling projects recently, and something awesome was just confirmed… NHK, Japan’s national public broadcaster, is shooting a 20 minute documentary about cute cooking that will focus on my work and book, Cute Yummy Time! I’m currently brainstorming with the producer and director, so I can’t say much more about it yet. But NHK will be shooting the “New York Wave” episode in January, and it’ll air internationally (many US cities receive the channel). There might even be some way you can be part of the filming… I’ll keep you posted.
I’m still reeling: The Washington Post listed my book Cute Yummy Time in their Holiday Gift Guide! Recommended “for globally minded cooks,” Bonnie Benwick describes my cookbook as “Japanese fun with food that is irresistibly charming.” (You can find more info on my book here.)
Hope you’re enjoying the holidays! If you’re looking for holiday gifts, please consider my Japanese charaben-inspired cookbook, Cute Yummy Time — thanks for your continued support!
WHERE TO BUY JAPANESE BENTO COOKBOOKS, RECIPE BOOKS AT KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE, LOS ANGELES. KAWAII RECIPES, CUTE LUNCH BOX BENTOS.December 12, 2009 at 05:36 | Posted in Press, The Book: Cute Yummy Time, Videos | 1 Comment
Why so serious, Carmina-sama? It’s a sunny day in La-la-land, you’re flanked by cute Visual Kei rockers, and you’re at a signing for your very own books! But one must always stay in character for cosplay — at least in my mind — and I’m the bento lady with a grudge from Nintendo’s Phoenix Wright. Grr. (More photos of my costume are here.)
Ementhy attracted random passersby to the table by beckoning frantically and calling: “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Come here! Hey! Hey!” Half of the time, his approach worked. The other half averted their eyes and speed-walked away in terror.
Here’s a closeup of my octopus choker, made from red felt and black thread. (If you want the edible version, there’s a recipe for octodogs in my cute cookbook!)
Annenberg TV featured me in a news story about “how La Carmina’s Cute Yummy Time is changing the way people think about healthy food.” You can view it here and below:
As I say in the video, all the cute-faced creations in my book are made from healthy ingredients.
Thank you to everyone who came to my signings. It was lovely to speak to you in person, and your outfits rocked.
I’d say Hi Hi Caro wins the award for “most kawaii haircut.”
And this pic wins the Nobel Prize for Awesome. Come join in the fun! My J-pop books, Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo and Cute Yummy Time are in all major bookstores and can be purchased online. Perhaps you’d consider putting them on your Xmas wishlist? Thanks, everyone, for your continued support.