Remember that bento contest I wrote about last month? It was a Cute Character Bento making contest organized by the Japan General Consulate in Los Angeles along with BentoUSA to celebrate the traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese. Of the 400 entries, 10 were chosen to be exhibited at the Japan Foundation. I was honored and excited to have my photographed entry chosen for display in the gallery. I was able to make a trip to L.A. to check it out in person, and it was pretty cool!
The other 9 entries were very impressive. I didn't realize they would be enlarged to such a degree, and it really felt like walking through an art gallery. I asked whether we might take our prints home, thinking they would otherwise be disposed of, but was told they planned to donate them to schools and hospitals. Wow, that's even better!
I was awarded second place, and received this beautiful gold embossed certificate, signed by the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles. It's pretty big (I placed the food picks there for scale). The sponsoring companies were very generous in their prizes; I was surprised to learn. I can't wait to cook from this gorgeous hardcover cookbook from Kinokuniya:
A box of snacks and treats from Nijiya Market:
And an induction rice cooker:
I am so blown away by the generosity of the sponsors; and the organizers were very helpful and encouraging. The Japan Foundation is a wonderful resource for Japanese culture and books, and if you get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it. I think they also host demonstrations and classes as well.
I've been on something of a bento hiatus, since all this occurred right before our Spring Break, when we were off school for a week, and then while I took some extra time to get back into bentomaking, my 11-year-old MisterMan has taken up the responsibility of preparing the bento for himself and TinySprite. Who am I to intercede? I will try to return here soon, though. We have one more quarter (7 weeks) left of this school year to go. Hope you are enjoying the arrival of Spring! Happy Bentomaking!