The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!


Contests are a great way to stretch your bento making skills and see how they compare with your fellow bentoists. And one of the biggest and most hotly contested ones, sponsored by Bento&co is back again this year! I’m honored to be one the judges again. First prize is a 20,000 yen (about US $250) gift certificate plus a lacquered bento box made in Kyoto, and second prize is a 10,000 yen (about US$125) gift certificate plus other goodies. And - both prizes include free shipping! There are several other prizes too.

Go to this page for the announcement and all the rules as well as the complete list of prizes offered. One interesting twist this year is that your bento must include at least two onigiri (rice balls). The entries must be Ebetween June 29th and July 9, 2012, 8am Japan Time.

If last year’s contest is any indication, there’ll be a lot of great bento eye candy to look at. I can’t wait to see what people come up with.

(Personal note: I know I haven’t been updating JustBento for a while. If you’ve been wondering what’s going on, this post and this post on Just Hungry should explain things. I will be back though…so, thanks for your patience. And get your contest entry ideas going! ^_^)

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Re: The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!

Can we submit a bento which we have done previously? Or does it have to be a bento which we made during the contest period? Thanks ;)

Re: The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!

Hi DZ, please direct your question to Bento&co since it's their contest. ^_^

Re: The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!

Two onigiri? When I tried making them, one was plenty for a bento! I suppose I can make them smaller if they don't have filling.....

I am intrigued. Thanks for posting this information!

Re: The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!

I am so getting into this contest for fun!!!

Re: The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!

I'm so excited to see the top 10! =^.^=

Re: The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!

The pictures are making me hungry! One nitpick that I see a lot with bento pictures: A few of those bentos wouldn't actually fit in the box for transport. I mean, isn't that the idea behind a bento? That it is a transportable meal? For instance, look at #9. It's gorgeous, and those onigiri are beautifully formed. I am truly jealous of #9's skill. The whole thing is mouth-watering. But it wouldn't fit in that box. Both tiers spill over, rendering the whole thing un-transportable. Contrast that with #2. It also looks amazing, and I can only wish my fried chicken turned out that crispy! The cucumber rose is especially well done. But the difference is that every item fits within the box and it can be closed and taken to work/school. To me, it makes it more realistic. That doesn't make a difference for this contest; it isn't about which bento you'd take with you to work! It's just a nitpicky little thing that's been bothering me.

Ever since I started bento-ing, I've noticed this. I see pictures of beautiful, appetizing bentos, just not something I could actually do because my bento has to survive an hour and a half commute! That's one thing I love about this website - the bentos Maki displays are realistic. So I admire those other bentos, but I am not inspired by them.

Re: The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!

I agree with you, the Elf. Some of them look very pretty, too, but when I imagine sitting down and trying to consume all of their contents together, it turns my stomach. So I picked the 3 or 4 that I'd actually want to eat, and then voted based on balance/healthiness, apparent deliciousness, and appearance/skill. Of course this meant all my favorites were in the bottom half!

Re: The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!

This is my complaint, too. What good is bento that you can't take with you. They shouldn't win if they don't work.

Re: The Bento&co 2012 Contest is here!

It helped me be less irritated with the unportability of some of the meals submitted, to think about it more like a photography/art contest. And within that the "onigiri-bento" was simply the prompt like setting art students to capture"light". That way the shot of a street lamp reflecting off the hood of a car in the rain is just as valid as sunbeams through some clouds over a meadow.
So it's more the interpretation of the prompt with the mash of other traits the judges look for on their own, be it color brightness, cuteness, deliciousness, or simply creative use of a design. That way you get a whole bunch of super different ideas about what a pretty dream lunch idea would be, executed to it's advantage without the concern of "I have to now fit this in my bag somehow and haul it around until meal time hoping for the best". Like how beautiful cakes can be made to look absolutely stunning with a lot of fondant, but they won't really taste very good.
I think next year I won't worry too much about being able to transport my entry anywhere, or if it'd be things I'd personally want to eat together, and use the box as a foil to bring the lunch idea elements together. Open my scope a bit more and work on the photo and an adorable cohesive interpretation of the theme/prompt given.
Most showcase lunches don't seem plausible to me anyway, more of a maxed out runway sort of guide to style idea. But I've always wondered how people actually moved the super cute boxes they take pictures of.

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