.ams PRO 3:58pm, 8 January 2007
This month marks the 1 year anniversary of this humble Flickr group ... 1 year, 325 members, and over 1500 lunch photos! Y'all are amazing! Thank you so much for being a part of the group. :)

To celebrate, I'd like to announce the Anniversary Contest, sponsored by Zojirushi and thebentostore.com!

How it works:
1. Nominate your favorite Mr. Bento lunches made during the month of January by linking it in the nomination thread.
Remember, lunches must be made in the month of January. You can nominate anyone's lunches. Nominate by embedding and linking the photo in the nomination thread.

2. Vote for your favorite Mr. Bento lunch in the nomination thread.
Vote by making the image a fave.

3. Whichever nominated lunches have the most "fave" votes by February 1st, 2007 win prizes!
In the event of a tie, I'll make the tie-breaking vote. In the event of a total something going totally pear-shaped and screwy with the contest screw-up, I'll judge the winners.


Grand prize winner:
Hi, I'm a prize in the Mr. Bento Porn 1 Year Anniversary Contest!
Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer, Never-before-seen Zojirushi lunch jar, $25 gift certificate to thebentostore.com

Second place:
Hi, I'm a prize in the Mr. Bento Porn 1 Year Anniversary Contest!
Never-before-seen Zojirushi lunch jar, $20 gift certificate to thebentostore.com

Third and fourth places:
Hi, I'm a prize in the Mr. Bento Porn 1 Year Anniversary Contest!
$15 gift certificates to thebentostore.com
Very special thanks to the two sponsors of the contest, Zojirushi and thebentostore.com! Honestly, the saddest part about organizing this whole thing is that I'M INELIGIBLE FOR PRIZES! Waaaaah! I want that rice cooker! Oh well. :)

Any questions?
_whitty_ PRO 11 years ago
Wow! I am totally bringing the ol' Mr. out of retirement for this one. And also the very rusty creativity.

Thanks for putting this together Ariel - so very cool!
brittney 11 years ago
KJF916 11 years ago
I hope skillful photography is of no concern to you. Otherwise I have to be Cosmo Kramer, slam my money down on the table and say "I'm out."
.ams PRO 11 years ago
Kate, I intentionally left the factors of what makes a lunch "best" up to the voting masses ... could be prettiest, healthiest, best use of space, best photography, etc etc. It all comes down to which nominations get the most fave votes! :)
Aktivistin 11 years ago
Wow, awesome contest, Ariel! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone pull out all the stops during this month. Hurrah!
Cometgirl63 11 years ago
wow~ this looks like fun! Thanks for doing this, Ariel!
Lalalaa Dolce Vita PRO 11 years ago
Omigod, I'm totally in! Ariel, you're a wizard! :)
nadja.robot PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by nadja.robot (member) 11 years ago
Wow that's so crazy crazy great, you're awesome for getting this together!

I am sad we can't vote for you!
ms.Tea PRO 11 years ago
very cool.
thinking lunch thoughts.
ramona.flowers PRO 11 years ago
I guess this is as good a reason as any to get off my fanny and start uploading the pictures I've been too lazy to upload.

And to think, there were a couple days last week when I didn't even take a picture of my lunch... :(
nadja.robot PRO 11 years ago
I've got a question about the voting-
Is it the member with the most votes in the month, or the single picture with the most votes?

Regardless, I am having fun going over the top with my lunches.
.ams PRO 11 years ago
Great question, Nadja. For this round of the contest, it's SINGLE PICTURE with the most votes. Maybe next year I'll organize a way to do member votes!
.ams PRO 11 years ago
Another question and answer:

Since I'd really like to try to win the Mr. Bento contest, I was wondering if we are allowed to ask people to vote for us, or do we have to be modest and hope that people who are already Mr. Bento orientated will like the Mr. Bento and vote for us.

I can't track where faves come from, so all faves count towards winning the contest!
.ams PRO 11 years ago
Pulling the conversations over from the nomination thread, it looks like perhaps the idea of nominating lunches in a thread is being a bit clumsy for folks. Subspace came up with the idea that a SEPARATE group with a SEPARATE pool be started to track the entrants.

My only concern with this is that it means that only the owner of the photo can nominate their lunches, since they're the only ones who can post a photo to a group pool.

The nomination thread is definitely a little bulky, however, so I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks to everyone for their patience as I figure out these little wrinkles. The goal of this contest is FUN, and if it starts feeling not fun and icky and not worth it then I'll have to reconsider the whole idea.
amanky 11 years ago
I'd simply say... as an admin you can go in and share an actual thumbnail (or small) of each image... as they are nominated... this should eliminate people dual nominating... and ease the click through to the nominated images... you can go through an delete any extra commentary of repeated nominations... seems simple enough... maybe that's just me *shrug*

holler if you need any extra admin hands to clean out the thread!.
Subspace Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Subspace (member) 11 years ago
I erroneously posted this in the nominations threads (since removed):

"Also I've noticed some nominations are peddling "favorites" amongst all their contacts... the average favorite vote seems to be between three and ten, and then occasionally someone has over 50 votes. I'm speaking specifically of this bento. It's a absolutely cute and perfect bento and worthy of winning, but it brings up a issue for me: is this just a contest to see who has the most Flickr contacts?"

In response to Ariel's decision on this issue (stated before my observation, I should clarify): "I can't track where faves come from, so all faves count towards winning the contest! " I am afraid I am going to have to bow out of this competition.

This is starting to feel too strongly like that time in Girl Scouts when one of the girls got her dad's employees (all 2,000 of them) to buy chocolates from her when the rest of us thought we were doing really well at about 50. I don't like this feeling, and I feel a little like what was once a comforting, inspiring project (all of us taking photos of our lunches) is now a 'how can I tweak the system so that I win something' confrontation.

I am at a weird dilemma here: do I play what I think is dirty also and get my friends over at The 700 Hoboes Project to all vote for me, all 300 of them? Because they would, it's a really active group, of which my boyfriend is a moderator and he's got my back -- OR -- do I leave now while I'm still just grossed out to a degree I can recover from?

(p.s., my boyfriend has already stated that he doesn't like me playing "the boyfriend card," which I utterly agree with -- I was merely using it as an example of yucky ways to win)

Mainly I think actively soliciting for votes is sort of strange and outside the general vibe of this tight-knit group. I felt like a jerk entering one of my own photos into the thread, and now it's game to post an entry in half-a-dozen unrelated groups and solicit votes? Perhaps we should have seen this coming.

I apologize for being a downer, but I wanted to vocalize an intense emotional response I was having in the event that others were also feeling this way, but not as hyped about getting it out there.
amanky 11 years ago
@Subspace... a very valid point... yet at the same time I'd have to say that word was given on the matter, and maybe a next time approach could be taken *shrug* who am I to say, simply dialogue-ing... contests can be funky!

keep in mind. some of these shots may have already had faves from elsewhere (example: pacMan was recently featured in a gaming blog...) I honestly figured that all faves were counting in thought that any & all hype to this group and it's art would be welcomed, if not encouraged...

a suggestion if you choose to go the route of a different system: check out the Advent Calendar group the occured throughout December... they had a very particular voting system, one shot per user. in the thread, for all to see...
Subspace Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Subspace (member) 11 years ago

I agree that contests can be funky, and I have a dread of competition in general -- I can be pretty naive about the innocent nature of things like the Mr. Bento Porn contest, which often makes for a disappointing outcome. In this instance I underestimated how strongly people would want to win, and to what measures they'd be willing to go to.

I get it. It's a contest. I wanted to explain why I was no longer participating. It's like playing poker with your friends and then someone antes up waaaay too big. It's outside my commitment zone.
kusine 11 years ago

Competitions are weird, aren't they? They bring out the strangest feelings and make people do odd things.

Personally, I'm having fun competing against myself - seeing which lunches of mine are getting the most attention. I've been lackluster lately in the lunch area, and this is a great way to get me thinking fun again. So thanks, .Ariel!

On the other hand, some view competition differently. And that's just the way it is. And having run contests like this before, I know you can't please everyone, especially the first time around!

I think that if we all just remember that this is supposed to be fun then everything will be all right. I'm certainly having a great time! :-)
.ams PRO 11 years ago
Amanky: I welcome your admin help! I may have over=commited myself this month what with simultaneously losing my job, promoting my book, trying to find work, AND doing this contest. I sent you a flickr mail.

Subspace: I'm really sorry that you're having such a strongly negative response to this and that you've decided to bow out of the contest. Making people feel bad (let alone "grossed out!") certainly wasn't the goal of this whole thing.

It's true the the infrastructure of the contest is simple and low-tech. That said, I don't think it's "tweaking the system" to mention the contest in the caption of a photo. The contest isn't a secret. The loveliness of a lunch isn't something appreciated only by other Mr. Bento Porn members.

Amanky sums it up for me best: I honestly figured that all faves were counting in thought that any & all hype to this group and it's art would be welcomed, if not encouraged...

That's where I was coming from when I set up the contest. I'm really genuinely sorry if somehow that's lead to feelings of ickiness and frustration.
mossyliquor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by mossyliquor (member) 11 years ago
I agree with Subspace 100%.
I feel as though I should just drop out now, because I don't have a chance in hell to actually win.
What was once very fun, seems to be downright depressing.

The worst part? I feel like a big old baby for even feeling this way.

But...on second thought....

Onward lunch soldiers! Make the best darn lunches you can and maybe when this month is over and the competion is behind us, we can get back to being the same supportive and fun group we started out as being.
nadja.robot PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by nadja.robot (member) 11 years ago
I actually felt really bad when Ms. Pac Man started getting all those votes. I was going to contact Ariel and make sure it was OK since I got blogged by that (actually kinda mean) gaming thingy... but I am not pedaling my pics around to get votes! I swears! But maybe now I should? It gives me a bad feeling to do that though... meh

Seeing so many faves for someone who's not an active member of the group kinda bums me out, I gotta say.

edit- it really bums me out.
KJF916 Posted 11 years ago. Edited by KJF916 (member) 11 years ago
I have one comment to make in response to Nadja's comment:

"Seeing so many faves for someone who's not an active member of the group kinda bums me out, I gotta say.

edit- it really bums me out."

That simply isn't fair.

If you are ticked off, be so for the right reasons, and not the wrong ones. Whatever your feelings are -- one way or an other -- about how one of our group actively markets a contest entry and gathers votes, the status of the member who's Birdie Bento Lunch we are talking about, shouldn't be penalized for being NEW with her lunches.

I "met" this very affable member in November, when she posted about trying to get a Mr. Bento sent to her in the Netherlands, here:


Before that, she had been visiting this group, and watching our lunches, and getting inspired by them, for quite a while.

The reason her lunches are fairly new, are not in response to *this* contest -- not for a free rice cooker. It's because she asked for help getting a Mr. Bento shipped to the Netherlands, which Amazon wouldn't do.

Other posters are right -- this is a nice, supportive, and sometimes tight knit group. So I emailed her and offered to help. I ordered it for her with her funds, shipped it to her in the Netherlands, and she finally got it -- very recently -- after it cleared customs. She was one determined Mr. Bento enthusiast!

She has just begun to post her beautiful lunches because she's only had her little adopted Mr. Bento for a very short time.

*Active* can be looked at in a number of ways -- and watching us and getting enthused by us -- and getting a Mr. Bento sent through customs on the Underground Market so she can participate with us -- long before she knew a contest would be held -- is certainly one of them.

Now that I've cleared that one aspect up ... back to your debate and good lunches to all!
.ams PRO 11 years ago
So I've now got members who are "grossed out," "bummed out," and "downright depressed."

Awesome. I'm so incredibly glad I took the time to organize this contest.

(Sorry, sorry: I don't mean to be a drama queen. I know it doesn't help.)

I'm stepping away from the computer for a day or so to figure out whether I should just pull the plug on the contest. Making the people who the whole thing was organized for feel bad about themselves doesn't really make the whole endeavor feel like it's worth my time. Also, I have a zero-drama tolerance, and I don't see a drama-free way to resolve this.
KJF916 11 years ago
I'm sorry, Ariel. It sucks to be Queen, sometimes. :(
Look at my photos Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Look at my photos (member) 11 years ago
First of all thanks for the kind words KateFord.

I would like to reply, since the discussed "Birdy Bento" was made by me. What started out as a fun to do, as I was so excited when I finally received my Mr. Bento, has turned into a dissaster. As Kate mentioned I had been lurking since November when I discovered this wonderful group and I couldn't wait to get started and be able to post my own Bento's.

When I posted the Birdy Bento along with the comment to vote for me, I had contacted Ariel to ask if this was something I was allowed to do. I have a moderate small contact group and I certainly have not posted in half a dozen groups and asked any of the groups I moderate as an Admin to vote for me. I had no intention either to "tweak the system", which I really feel I haven't done.

I'm sorry to have spoiled the fun for some people.

amanky Posted 11 years ago. Edited by amanky (admin) 11 years ago
oh me, oh my!

I can see both sides, but as I said before, and shall repeat ad naueum, basic rules, expectations, standards, etc. have been set... let's roll with it and have fun folks!?

new, old, frequent, or random, you all make lovely creations with your own sense of flavor!

anywho, I wish I had a MrBento, so I could join in the fun... were I to be humbley nominated... until then, I'm off faving some greats and wishing the best for y'alls!
amanky 11 years ago
ok... the nomination thread is all cleaned up.

crisp, clear, pix to show nominations!
KJF916 11 years ago
coolness, thanks!
mossyliquor 11 years ago
Good responses, gang!
I am off work for the weekend, so no Bento making for me, but I will be back on Monday trying my best.

I am over it now and I am going to go on making the best lunches I can, faving and nominating the ones I love, and looking to you all for inspiration!
Subspace Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Subspace (member) 11 years ago
Ariel, the non-dramatic way to continue would be to just continue. Don't pull the plug and ruin it for the people who are really gunned out about it.

I certainly did not mean to create drama where there was none before. Yes, the game is no longer for me. Part of why I think it is not for me is internal -- believe me, I had a loooong and strangely soul-searching talk with my boyfriend last night about whether my response in all this was right. Mr. Bento has taken me so many places I never expected to go!

That being said, I stand by my original feelings. We ended up coming back to the same point: something seems unsportsmanlike about where the contest has gone (again, to demonstrate I feel like just being mean and starting a massive petition to vote for my photos despite interest and relevance to our project - or is that just demonstrating a healthy desire to win and a way to draw more attention to our group?), but it's not really my business. It's not my game and I don't like being mean.

It's good that people are having a chipper response and carrying on, and though I always have found you all to be very inspiring both in humor and in this bizarre life process of having to eat so often, I'm just asking you to respect my observations.

May the best bento win.
halcyonsnow Posted 11 years ago. Edited by halcyonsnow (member) 11 years ago
Hiya folks!

As a Mr. Bento enthusiast, I have to point out that Mr. B is not about fussing over contest rules, it's about fussing about how to put delicious and beautiful food into cylindrical food-transport units.

In that spirit, consider this simple solution:

>Top prize for faves as the current rules stand. Anything goes.

>Add a "Best in Show" prize, chosen by the nominees; each would get one vote and they would not be allowed to vote for their own bento.

That way you can popularize Mr. B without alienating the original contributors. I think it's what Mr. Bento would want.
Asling 11 years ago
I have only been posting here for a few weeks, so I don't feel I have a huge opinion, and I don't know you all yet.
I think the contest was a fun idea, but mostly I am just glad that I can be inspired by the creativity I see, and I am tickled that some of you have enjoyed my bentos as well. Having recently suffered the loss of my Mom, this has been a fun new project to do every day for me.
Thanks for your great pictures and for turning me on to Mr Bento!
Subspace 11 years ago
Oof. I'm sorry, AppleBooty (I do like typing your name, by the way). Things were very touch-and-go with my own mother recently and it turns my stomach to think about it. Viva la Bento!
KJF916 11 years ago
AppleBooty, it's the same for me, having lost my father very recently. He and I used to pack our lunch and go out, so I've found taking healthy lunches for myself, and going out to lunch with ALL OF YOU, instead of him, has been a nice way to get my mind off of it.
Look at my photos 11 years ago
So sorry to hear AppleBooty. Losing a parent is such a big thing. I lost my mother at a young age, nearly ten years ago. My thoughts go out to you. Yay for Mr. Bento!
Asling 11 years ago
Thanks, you guys!
I didn't mean to highjack the thread, and I thought bringing my Mom up might be weird, but it is nice to hear that KateFord and some of the others have a similar connection to Mr B.
I actually found this group while sitting up every night in the hospital with my Mom, and told my husband to order Mr B! It is nice that I got a few nominations and I don't want anyone to have hurt feelings or weird feelings about the contest, I just really like seeing your pictures every day and making my husbands lunch while having happy thoughts about my Mother laughing as I cut flowers and stars out of carrots and cheese.
.ams PRO 11 years ago
Ok. I'm back and the contest is STILL ON! I agree that the best way to deal with the bumps on the road are just to keep on keepin' on, so keep nominating, keep voting, and keep packing those adorable lunches.

Halcyonsnow said it best: As a Mr. Bento enthusiast, I have to point out that Mr. B is not about fussing over contest rules, it's about fussing about how to put delicious and beautiful food into cylindrical food-transport units.


Also, a very special thanks to Amanky for cleaning up the nomination thread.
kusine 11 years ago
That's great news, .Ariel!

(Especially since I just bought the cutest little farm animal cutter set and I want an excuse to use them. :)
nadja.robot PRO 11 years ago
I also went cute bento stuff shopping!
I am excited to pack lunches this week.
Lalalaa Dolce Vita PRO 11 years ago
omigoodness, I need, *NEED*, I tell you- to find a set of cute cutters! I scoured the aisles of Uwajimaya today, and while I did find some great bentccessories, I did not locate any little star, bunny or flower cutters. so sad. help?

I am also very sad when contests or situations like this go awry and am very happy to see it's still on.

yay bento!
I haven't been bentoing a lot and have been feeling a little disappointed in myself for not participating wholly in the contest, and then I realized I was fine before I ever knew about the contest, and if I don't win (likely), then I will be fine without having won. You all still love me and Mr. B, right? Of course you do.

Let's make lunch.
amanky 11 years ago
I'd try ebay.
kusine 11 years ago
lalalaa Dolce Vita: try JoAnn's, if you have one, or online. Or any store that carries cookie cutters. All of my local groceries carry at least a few little cute sets!
Subspace 11 years ago
La Dolce,

I found good ones at Sur la Table, in the cookie-cutter section.
sobodda PRO 11 years ago
Williams Sonoma has really cute tiny cookie cutter sets - like fall leaves. (I've never used them in a Bento - but I have used them for apple pies and stuff).
nadja.robot PRO 11 years ago
Amazon! They carry the company I found at Sur La Table. Look for 'mini cookie cutter', they have sets with really good shapes. I am going to go on a rampage and buy them all pretty soon. Clearly, I am hooked.
amanky 11 years ago
Groups Beta