Design Explained –
Our Original Vacuum Glass Liners

Last year, we celebrated our centennial anniversary as a company, and with you as our customers, we’ve come so far. Founded in 1918 in Osaka, Japan, our company was founded as the Ichikawa Brothers Trading Company, producing vacuum insulated glass liners for carafes. These glass liners were state-of-the-art in 1918, and remain a proven, innovative technology along with our more modern rice cookers, small appliances and vacuum insulated stainless steel products.

Blowing glass by hand

Glass is a surprising material. We encounter it every day in our drinking vessels, windows, jewelry, art and so on. It seems so commonplace but it’s actually a marvel of science and engineering. In its basic form, glass is made by combining silica – one of the most abundant materials on Earth – with other elements in order to produce a material with unique thermal, optical, chemical, mechanical and electrical properties.

Our vacuum glass liners in the Air Pot® dispensers and carafes are made using medical-grade borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass is made by adding boric oxide, a form of the element boron. Because of it’s unique chemical composition, borosilicate glass is more resistant to thermal shock than regular soda-lime glass, meaning that it won’t shatter or crack when exposed to sudden temperature change. It’s also clear, moldable and easily cleanable, making it an ideal material for glass liners.

Carafe with a glass liner

To make these glass liners, we first create an outer vessel in the shape and size of the carafe or dispenser, then make an inner vessel, which is placed inside the outer vessel. We then coat the interior of the vacuum wall between the two vessels with silver plating to give it heat reflecting properties. Finally the air between the two vessels is removed to create vacuum insulation, which maintains the temperature of the contents of the inner vessel.

Vacuum Glass Liner

Words don’t do the process justice, so check out our video of how our glass liners are made in our factory in Osaka, Japan.

It’s no wonder that we’ve been obsessed with glass liners for a hundred years. We are proud to manufacture quality products for our customers, using this innovative and wonderful material.

Share your favorite Zojirushi product with us, and let us know if you have one of vacuum insulated glass liner products!

Bert-san’s Take—My Zojirushi Lunch Jar

It’s National Bento Month again! And even though I bring my lunch to work every day anyway, I thought I’d give the Zojirushi Lunch Jar a spin, to see how it really works. Hey, let’s all get behind this great holiday and get some momentum going. We’re supposed to be evolving from the brown paper bag, remember??

Actually, what inspired me to try the Lunch Jar out was the really, really good beef stew that we had the night before. I wanted to bring it for work, so what better way than to keep it hot enough to enjoy at my desk? But that wasn’t all that I was interested in—I wondered how easy it would be to pack everything in the first place, and after I was done, how easy it would be to clean.

I used the largest container for my stew and packed as much rice as I could into the bottom soup bowl. Then my biggest challenge was coming up with what else I wanted to bring to fill up the other 2 containers. Here’s a Zojirushi tutorial on how to use their Lunch Jar:

BTW, did I mention that in Hawaii, we always eat our beef stew with rice? It’s a popular kind of plate lunch, actually, normally served with a side of macaroni salad. Since I couldn’t place a chilled salad inside the jar with my hot beef stew and rice, I added some fruit and a slice of homemade cake in the top 2 containers.

This worked out pretty well—I had some slight melting of the frosting on my cake, but my lunch was still warm, so the jar did what it was supposed to do. And I didn’t mind the fruit being room termperature anyway. I also found the carrying tote bag that comes with the Lunch Jar to be indispensable, and the spoon-fork thing to be handy.

Next up was my chilled test. I again brought our pasta salad leftovers from the night before—looks yummy, right?

I have to say this worked better than the hot lunch; but maybe it was because you really don’t have to keep a salad icy cold—just chilled enough. And it didn’t really matter how cool the other parts of my lunch got; my peanut butter didn’t melt, so I was happy. The top container held a packet of instant miso soup, which was perfect because I couldn’t bring a hot soup with this cold bento. I’ve got access to hot water and paper cups at work, so for me anyway, no problem—I just made the soup there. The spoon-fork wasn’t as useful with this type of food; I just used a plastic fork from our office cafeteria.

Speaking of instant miso soup; if you’ve never tried these, I highly recommend them if you love miso soup and you want some fast. It comes with a packet of real miso paste and a packet of dried ingredients like green onion, wakame seaweed, and dehydrated tofu. Combine them in a cup of hot water, and boom—instant soup!

Just for fun, I tried one more cold bento of cabbage salad, Chinese broccoli, and chicken wings. And using a trick that some of you may find useful, I loaded that bottom soup container with ice. I figured the soup container is leak proof, so it could work as a cold pack for the ice to keep my salad even colder for even longer.

This worked pretty well, surprisingly. I don’t know how often I would need to use this hack, but if you have that extra container available, why not? The ice sits at the bottom, so it kind of acted as a mini fridge for my salad.

Finally, after all is said and done, Did I have fun washing all of these containers? Ha-ha! Since I’m the primary dishwasher at our house, I didn’t think it was a big deal. We handwash everything anyway, and I do believe handwashing is the best way to make the product last longer. Air dry overnight, and it was good to go the next day!

IMHO, the best way to use the Lunch Jar is to plan what you’re going to bring the next day, whether it be a hot or cold lunch, and you can decide for yourself whether your night’s leftovers would work or not. All the containers have to be used to keep everything from rattling inside the larger jar itself, so you may as well find something to pack. The trick is to figure out what to keep temperature controlled, and what to leave room temperature. You might think the containers are too small for you, but trust me, if you use them all for your lunch, the SUM TOTAL of food is plenty for a complete meal. And the best part is that it makes you think about filling them with a balanced, healthy meal, instead of gorging out on one big lunch!

 

 

Images by @ironchefmom and Bert Tanimoto

Foreign Foods in Japan –
Omuraisu!

Chicken rice. Omelet. Ketchup.

Our Foreign Foods in Japan series keeps getting better and better!

Omuraisu!

This month we’re featuring omuraisu, or Japanese omelet rice. It’s not found on most menus in the United States, but it’s hugely popular among those who love Japanese food. Omuraisu is a combination of rice, cooked with chicken, vegetables or ketchup, covered by a thin omelet and topped with a savory ketchup. The rice often contains chicken, but can be made vegetarian with items like onions, corn, carrots and peas, and is seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, tomato ketchup and salt and pepper. Home cooks often prefer leftover rice for this dish, so it’s a great way to make an entire meal from a few components.

Chicken rice

The omelet used when making omuraisu is usually thinner and softer than a traditional French or American omelet. Beaten eggs are quickly shirred in oil heated in a skillet and folded over, thin and soft. The cooked rice is plated and the omelet laid on top, both covered with thin drizzles of savory ketchup, usually a mix of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.

Omelet

There’s nothing more comforting, unless it’s the delicious variations on omuraisu! Omuhayashi, or omuraisu made with hayashi sauce is deeply satisfying. The base of the dish is the cooked and seasoned rice, the soft, draped omelet and then a cooked sauce made with beef, mushrooms, butter, wine and lots of savory seasonings. The hayashi sauce is poured around the omelet, surrounding it like a moat. Every bite is delicious!

Hayashi raisu

Omusoba marries the best of yakisoba and the soft, tender omelet. Yakisoba is prepared as usual, with noodles and vegetables cooked, then stir-fried in a soy-based sauce. Then, the noodle mixture is topped with the omu-style omelet and drizzled with okonomiyaki sauce and creamy Japanese mayonnaise. (Mouth watering, yet?)

Yakisoba

We have a great recipe for omuraisu on our website. Our special version adds mushrooms to the chicken rice along with other delicious ingredients, and uses rice made in our rice cookers. Check it out and tell us how you like it. Wasn’t it the most delicious thing ever?

Product Inspirations –
Go for Gold with the Ichimatsu Patterned Mugs!

Olympic fever is already underway in Tokyo, host of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, and the themes of the games brings together the heritage of old Japan with the modernity we’ve come to expect from the nation.

This concept infuses current Japanese design trends, drawing upon the Ichimatsu pattern, a traditional Japanese two-toned checkerboard design that originated during the Edo Period (1603-1868). During that time, Kabuki theater was hugely popular, and a famous actor, Sanogawa Ichimatsu, elevated the art form with his performances. He had an iconic style and wore pants with the checkerboard pattern on stage. His style became so popular that the pattern was named after him. Today, this design element from centuries ago connects us to fresh imagery in modern times.

SM-NAE48SA

The Ichimatsu checkerboard pattern is part of our new set of Stainless Mugs (SM-TAE48SA and SM-NAE48SA). The pattern is beautifully displayed on the white, black, red and blue finishes. The SM-TAE48SA model features a flip-open lid, and the SM-NAE48SA model features a twist-open lid.

SM-TAE48SA

Along with these gorgeous finishes, these Stainless Mugs come with a double nonstick coated interior that repels stains and odors. They were made using a special manufacturing process to round the bottle opening, making it more comfortable to drink directly from the mug. Both lid types – flip-open and twist-open – are interchangeable with each mug, allowing for a customized look and drinking experience. And both lid types disassemble for easy cleaning. As always, our Stainless Mugs are built with Zojirushi’s superior vacuum insulation, which minimizes heat transfer and keeps beverages hot or cold for hours. The 1 5/8” (4cm) wide mouth opening makes it easy to fill the mug with ice cubes and all areas that come into contact with beverages are BPA-free.

Rounded Opening

Grab one of these Stainless Mugs and fill it with fresh water, Black Iced Tea or Simply Iced Coffee. We know you’ll love these new, lightweight Stainless Mugs as much as we do. Check them out and let us know what you think!

Design Explained –
Our Innovative Lids

It’s summer time and we always have one of our vacuum insulated mugs on hand. Water, iced tea, hot beverages…no matter what, our stainless mugs are designed to let you carry your favorite beverage in style.

Over the years, we’ve listened to your feedback, and incorporated four smart design features into the lids we use for our stainless mugs: the two-step release and the safety lock in the flip-open mugs, the covered sipping area and the disassembling parts for all mugs.

Step 1

Flip-open lids are super convenient. They’re great in any situation where one-handed operation is required, such as when traveling. The two-step release in our flip-open lids works by allowing the lid open in 2-steps. The first step happens when you push and hold the open button. The open button hooks onto the lid and prevents it from opening, and at the same time, allowing condensation on the lid to flow back into the mug. When you release the button as the second step, the spring at the hinge of the lid will allow the lid to spring open, and because of the first step, wont’ fling any condensation at your friend while doing so. As long as nothing is impeding the back of the lid, the lid will open all the way and stay in place, making it easy to drink without getting bumped in the face by a wobbly lid.

Step 2

The smart safety lock feature of the flip-open lids ensures that the lid doesn’t accidentally open in a bag or purse, causing leaks and spills.

Safety Lock

Along with these great features, both the flip-open and twist-open lids are designed to keep the sipping area clean by keeping it covered when you’re not taking a sip, so you don’t have to worry about getting sand on the sip area if it tips over at the beach. . Perfect for summer beach days!

Clean sipping area!

And finally, the disassembling parts of our lids, whether flip-open or twist-open, mean the lids can be thoroughly cleaned. It’s the worst to find that you’ve been cleaning the lids of other bottles and yet there is still dirt, or worse, mold, inside the components. Each piece is washable and gaskets allow the re-assembled lid to fit tightly and securely.

Disassembling lid of SM-TAE48SA

Disassembling lid of SM-NAE48SA

Each of these features make our stainless mugs stylish and functional…all part of our commitment to smart design. Let us know which mug you have and how you like the lids in the comments below!