For those who like to play with their food, the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles and Bento USA are having a cute bento character contest. So get your penguin rice molds, bear head sandwich cutters and food tweezers ready.
To enter the contest, create your cutest, most creative bento box. And for those unfamiliar with bento box characters, they involve shaping your food into lovable animals, along with plenty of schoolgirl screams, "oohs" and "aahs."
The bento can be in the following four categories: bread, rice, pasta, other. The food must be arranged in a bento or lunch box. Food arranged in a dish or plate will not be accepted. For all the rules, see this.
Entrants must submit photos of their bento box characters to www.allthingsforsale.com/bento/contest/ by Feb. 22. The Japanese Consulate, BentoUSA and Ochikeron, a Japanese YouTube personality and bento expert, will pick 10 finalists.
The grand prize winner will receive a trip to Japan from the U.S., an award certificate from the Consulate General of Japane in Los Angeles, a rice cooker, a bento prize pack from BentoUSA and a prize pack from CuteZCute, a cookbook and a food gift bag from Nijiya Market.
Photos of the 10 finalists' entries will be on display at the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles from March 13 to March 28. Bento expert Ms. Sirinut "Jee Jee" Donham will also give a lecture on making bento characters on March 13 at 2 p.m.
To attend the exhibition and lecture, pre-register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 11.
Rice in the shape of Hello Kitty really does taste better. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_