11/28/08

Perfect Gift from Ichiban Kan

Introducing Ichiban Kan web team's new project...

Clickety Click Gift Box!
Eleven popular items are packed in a gloss black box with three colorful tissues for void filling.
There will be Bear, Monkey and Rabbit sets.

Each set contains

  1. Clickety Click 2-tier Box
  2. Clickety Click Seal Lunch Box
  3. Clickety Click Square Seal Container
  4. Clickety Click Lunch Bag
  5. Clickety Click Lunch Box Belt
  6. Clickety Click Fork
  7. Clickety Click Spoon
  8. Animal 3D Food Picks
  9. Penguin Sauce Bottle 2P
  10. Silicon Food Cup 3P
  11. Glico Pocky
A lovely assortment box for friends, your family members, neighbors and colleagues! Nice and useful for both bento starters and experts.

The initial available quantity is limited to 10 sets per type. If these sets are popular, we will be happy to increase the quantity or expand the variety to Putifresh and/or Tenmari (depending on available stock).

After Thanksgiving Deal

We cannot lower our already super low prices, but reduced shipping fees will be offered for three days until 9:00pm PT on Sunday, November 30.

Here's the reduced fees!
$0.00 - $14.99: $5.00
$15.00 - $29.99: $7.00
$30.00 - $59.99: $8.50
$60.00 - $99.99: $9.50
$100.00 - $149.99: $12.00
$150.00 - up: $10.00

Although we try to have enough popular items in stock whenever possible, we may sell out certain items during these three days. If the warehouse has those items in stock, they will be replenished on the web between Monday and Wednesday next week.

11/26/08

Takoyaki Pan

We made real takoyaki balls and waffle balls using takoyaki pan. We actually did half of this a few weeks ago and procrastinated completing everything until now...

Since octopus isn't everyone's favorite, we wanted to create fluffy balls out of waffle mix.

(The lighting for photos are not so great and consistent as cooking was done in our own kitchen.)

========================================
Wisdom of Experiences to avoid burning the batter on the pan
(we received a wise tip on 11/27!)

  1. Apply plenty of cooking oil all over the pan. There should be a tiny pool of excess oil in each hole.
  2. Prepare a kitchen cloth/dishcloth well-soaked with water.
  3. Heat the pan with high heat until it starts smoking.
  4. Turn off heat.
  5. Cover the pan with the soaked cloth to cool down the pan.
  6. Remove excess oil from the pan.
========================================

Here's our first attempt!

First apply plenty of cooking oil on the pan. It's hard to tell in the photo, but you should apply enough so you have a tiny pool of excess oil in each hole. Prepare one bamboo skewer for flipping. Use low heat.
The batter started rising! woo hoo!
We tried to flip waffle balls, but it was either too early or not enough oil on the pan. We think this resulted from trying to flip too early.

Disappointed yet optimistic, we then tried making real takoyaki.
We bought flour for takoyaki and a piece of boiled octopus at a Japanese grocery store.
We tried to flip too early again, resulting in loss of the prime spots. (the top 3 center holes)
A lesson learned. Look at the photo below. We had to wait very patiently to cook the balls in this golden brown color. If the batter does not come off easily when trying to flip with a bamboo skewer, just wait. When the batter is ready, balls flip easily.
When you re-use the pan, don't forget to re-apply plenty of oil.


OK, here's our another (hopefully final) attempt to create delicious waffle balls!

We blended 1/2 cup of Krusteaz waffle mix and little less than 1/2 cup of cold water just like before. Just follow the instruction on the waffle mix bag to make your batter.
1/2 cup of waffle mix was a perfect amount for filling all 12 holes.
So far so good.
We flipped one of them. Look at that beautiful brown color!
All of them were flipped successfully.
This was the pan after removing waffle balls to a plate. Pretty clean, isn't it? Patience paid off.
Pour waffle syrup on top for flavor. Very delicious!

In general, the pan gets better at cooking waffle balls after a few attempts.

In summary, here's what we learned.
  1. Preferably, prepare the pan for cooking using the wisdom written above.
  2. Apply plenty of oil.
  3. Wait
  4. Wait
  5. Wait
  6. Never scrape the batter off the pan. Wait until balls easily separate! If you try to scrape the burned batter, the pan might get damaged.

11/25/08

How We Created the Gorgeous Platter

We wanted to express our holiday spirit in the bento box this time.
Lacquered Shokado Bento Box was chosen as the box for this deluxe meal.

1) The upper right compartment contains snowmen rice balls, sausage reindeer, macaroni salad and chicken & broccoli salad from grocery store deli.
The left snowman wears a scarf made of imitation crab meat. He also has Poker pick hands and face and button created by seaweed.
The right guy has a cone-shaped carrot nose. (Yes, that was a meticulous work!)

The reindeer is created from fish sausages with a carrot nose and black sesame eyes.


2) In the small center compartment, a small bird, colorful stars and raspberries are placed.
The cute birdie is again created by cutting fish sausages and carefully shaping carrots into a tiny heart, oval and isosceles triangle. The eye is a black sesame seed. Yep, this was another challenging piece!
American slice cheese is cut into small stars using Cookie Cutter - Stars 6P and then a few are dyed with red food coloring. The yellow cheese turns into beautiful orange that resembles fresh carrot.


3) The right bottom corner houses two teriyaki chicken drumsticks, heart-shaped ham, and cheese birds.
The drumsticks are so tasty when served warm right out of the wok.
Regular sandwich ham become pretty hearts with the help of Cookie/Food Cutter - Heart. Again the red food coloring is used here. Cookie Cutter - Bird come in handy for those birds.


4) We forgot to take a picture of the left bottom corner. It has "pan asian" slaw from deli, Thai style shrimps and spaghetti, rain shoe, and a gift box.


5) Moving up to the upper left container, you can see star shaped sandwiches and blue berries.
To make these multi-layer sandwiches, Cookie Cutter - Stars are convenient. Butter milk bread appears to be another key for having a clean shape. Long food picks like Ocean Food Picks hold these sandwiches very well.


Well, how do you like it?
It took two people a few hours to make this box (many attempts to cut carrots & seaweed into presentable shapes), but the results were so worthwhile!

Your holiday meal/hors d'oeuvres in a Shokado box and Party Food Container would be a nice surprise for your family and guests this year.

We wish you all a warm, delicious and nutritious Thanksgiving day!

11/24/08

Out of Control Blown Up Images

We started seeing very large images at random on our web store on Wednesday, although the image setting had been kept the same since the store opened in last April. We haven't utilized any irregular digital camera features, either.

Initially the problem was only seen in some of the new items. We immediately contacted the tech support and a support person asked us to change the setting a bit, which adversely resulted in many more huge images... *sigh*
We went back to the original image size setting and hoped that the system was whimsically and temporarily going nuts. However, as you can see, there are a lot of blown-up images.

The e-commerce service provider has just acknowledged that this is a defect and their quality assurance team is working on it.

We sincerely apologize for the ugly appearance and thank you for ordering with Ichiban Kan under this circumstance.

-------------------------------------
In the meantime, get ready for Ichiban Kan's Black Friday Special!

Amazon Universal Wish List Button

We've added the Amazon Universal Wish List Button on each product page for those who have wish lists on Amazon.com.

Amazon.com has developed a really cool tool bar for you to consolidate your wish list on one place.

Using either the button on Ichiban Kan's web store or the Wish List Tool Bar, you can easily list your favorite Ichiban Kan items on your Amazon list.

We had trouble installing the button everywhere on our site, so you see the button only when you click to see each individual item page.

Enjoy holiday shopping!

11/20/08

Fun Videos

Thought it would be fun to share these videos and show how these new toys run around! What a great stocking stuffer for kids!

Backflip Car/Plane (4975887565347)


Energetic Insects (4975887565316)

11/18/08

Time For Something New...

Introducing a few new additions to the web store.
Wine Gift Bags (Blue or White) will come in handy when you visit someone for a holiday party.
More cute key caps will be added along with popular Black Cat and Frog.
Large Eco Bags with "ethnic" or "map" (not pictured) design. Folds very compactly when not in use.
Gift Cake Box with a clear bag and message card. Great size for cup cakes and muffins.
Beautiful chirimen pouches. Due to various fabric designs during manufacturing processes, we import them in assorted packs. One of these will arrive when ordered.

Many items that have been out of stock will be also replenished.
Can't guarantee the exact time, but everything should be updated by the end of tomorrow (Wed).

11/12/08

More Wrapping Items for This Holiday Season

Two new wrapping papers have been added.

Hello Kitty Wrapping Paper 2 sheets
These Hello Kitty papers are available in 3 colors. (A photo for the white one will be up soon)
Great value for two sheets of papers.
Japanese handmade papers
These handmade washi papers are commonly used for arts and crafts. These particular wrapping papers are relatively thicker than other wrapping papers.

11/11/08

Now it's easier to track UPS packages on Ichiban Kan Store

Now you can check your package status on our web site by entering the last four digits of the order number and the destination zip code after receiving email shipping notifications.

The web query will open tracking information on a different window or tab, depending on your browser setting.

If you see a list of multiple packages like the image below, narrow the Ship Date Range by clicking "Modify Reference Criteria" (circled in red).
Hope this makes your life easier. Let us know how you (dis)like this function!

11/10/08

Stuff Your Stockings For Under $3

Beautiful winter illuminations have been already set up in many metropolitan areas of Japan. The photo shows gorgeously adorned Roppongi Hills with Tokyo Tower in the background.

Scenes like this reminded us of a quickly approaching holiday season. While we do not have fancy electronic gadgets, we carry a great selection of stocking stuffers for everybody.

Go to For Men
Go to For Women
Go to For Boys
Go to For Girls

Don't forget to browse the entire store! You may find more knick knacks not listed in these stocking stuffer ideas.