22 Oct 2006


filed under: site news

(Last updated mid 2018)

How to get in touch with me

To get in touch with me, you can:

  • email me at maki dot the name of this site
  • My Twitter handle is makiwi
  • I'm also makiwi on Instagram
  • I am also on Facebook but I hate Messenger and rarely look at it. My personal page is here and my "public" page is here.

About me

My name is Makiko Itoh (伊藤牧子). Since 2009 or so I've been a full time writer. My main focus is Japanese culture and food, and the history of food and cooking in general. Prior to that I was a developer/designer of web and PDF related technologies.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, I've lived in numerous places for several years each - Japan, the U.S., England, Switzerland and France. I've actually lived in the US (the NYC area plus Long Island) the longest so far, so I do know how things work there. (I even know how the Electoral College works.) I've lived in all the places listed - Japan, England, the US, Switzerland, France - for at least several years each. It started very early, when my parents moved to England when I was 5. I guess I am a nomad to the bone. I've been in France for about 8 years now, but who knows where I'll be in 5 year's time.

I have native level fluency in English and Japanese; my French and German are considerably worse. I do get by in French on an everyday basis. My German has deteriorated unfortunately since moving away from Switzerland.

I currently live in a run down former stone warehouse in the Vaucluse region of Provence with my Swiss husband, in the middle of wine, olive and fruit orchard country, with a view of a bridge built in Roman times. Lavender fields to the north of us, sunflowers to the south. (Did you know that sunflowers and lavender are rarely grown side by side in Provence?)

I write about food at Just Hungry, a food blog that's mostly about Japanese home cooking as well as Just Bento, a site dedicated to the bento meal-in-a-box. The sites have been a bit dormant recently, for reasons detailed below. I do however post something almost daily on my Facebook Page.

I also have a monthly column in the Japan Times called Japanese Kitchen, and I occasionally write other food-focused articles for the same paper.

I have written two cookbooks: The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go, and its sequel, The Just Bento Cookbook 2: Make-Ahead, Easy, Healthy Lunches To Go. Both have done very well so far. (I've also written a book about JavaScript and CSS, which is out of print and way out of date of course.)

My other interests include: travel, languages, design, art, reading, history (especially the Sengoku and Edo periods in Japan, and the European Medieval period), and various handcrafts.

Fandom wise, I am a big fan of Funassyi, the sumo yokozuna (grand champion) Hakuho, and (unfortunately) the New York Mets. I don't really favor any particular genre of fiction - I just like great writing. I seem to be reading a lot more non-fiction, especially about history, these days.

In 2011-2012 I had endometrial cancer, which was beaten down after multiple surgeries, radiation therapy etc. Then in mid 2016 I developed a humongous and very rare malignant sarcoma in my small intestines. I'm still dealing with that one. Apparently the two cancers are unrelated. But in any case I am still here. My health issues have forced me to curtail a lot of my writing, but hopefully I can crank it up again.

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some of my flickr photos