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Posted on Jun 22, 2007 in admin | 17 comments

Exploitation of the bento community by marketers


I’m too annoyed to make a proper post today — sorry everyone. Here’s why.

Plus a quick reminder to update your links to point to the new Lunch in a Box blog at Thanks!

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  1. oops, copy/paste error, sorry

  2. Just a note of support. I think it’s a shame that someone would exploit a community in that way and that people are so accustomed to it that they just shrug it off.

    I also think it’s terrible that some people are responding to her attempts to defend herself by pointing to your amazon links. There’s a huge difference between funding a website with ads and joining a community in order to sell people stuff (and then telling other people how well it worked). It’s a shame that some people don’t see that.

    Anyway, love your tips, and the site. It would be great if you posted more recipies, too. Everything you have leftover always sounds so delicious. And you’ve improved the quaility of my curry to no end.

    • Thanks for the kind comments, Sue, and the request for more recipes. I tend to undervalue my own recipes because I freehand so much — I should try to measure what I’m doing more and pass it on if folks are interested. Glad to hear about your (Thai?) curry! That was another freehand “master recipe” — I don’t think I realized people were actually cooking from my blog!

  3. I love your site as well, even link to it (haven’t asked you permission though, my emailaddy is affixed with comments, let me know if you don’t want to be linked to). Please do not stop blogging.
    Although I get what is at issue I will leave it with saying that you are appreciated, and I’ve read many japanese and english lunch sites since starting.
    My attempts to order lunch gear has not gone through though, due to the international angle. If I could give you a paypal donation or something I would.

    • Thanks, Jessica! It’s terribly nice to hear that I’m appreciated. No worries on the linking; it’s very flattering. If you wanted to paypal me (which I’m NOT soliciting!!!), you could use the lunchinabox AT gmail DOT com address — I linked it to my private PayPal account.

      • I know you are not soliciting it. Trust me. The proposal did after all come from me. And since I know that it is time consuming to run a blog, well…

        As troubling and annoying as the situation seems, in terms of being used etc., I think that the best approach is to let it go. Online-fighting never amounts to any good. And as with any arguing no-one walks off the stage as the “winner”.

  4. I’ve stuck a reply over at the bentolunches group as well, but just a quick message of support. I love your site and you’ve really helped my lunches get interesting and more healthy.

    And BTW, I’d still like to know what your lunch was today:)

    • Thanks docsarah! My Friday posts are usually our Thursday night dinners out of the house, but yesterday we were at an event with food so I just packed Bug a quick snack bento and didn’t take a photo. You’re not missing out on much: Costco chicken salad, leftover shells & cheese with sauteed shimeji mushrooms and green onions, and a separate side dish container with lovely raspberries (got an entire flat at Costco for something like US$7). I was initially going to work up a tip post or something, but my time/energy went towards the bentolunch LiveJournal community today instead. I’ll make it up to you next week…

  5. I just found your blog through stumbleupon and I have to say it brings me joy and inspiration to see such colorful foods in such interesting arrangements. You obviously put a lot of thought into the bento you make for yourself and your child. It’s a lovely artform.

    • Thank you Jessant! Cooking is my passion, and bento-making ties in so neatly with my background that it just makes sense. I’m enjoying reading about the speed bento tips in Japanese books and magazines and adapting them for an international audience!

  6. Hello,

    We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for . We’d like to give you the opportunity to
    give us some insight on the “person behind the blog.”

    It would just take a few minutes of your time. The interview form can
    be submitted online at

    Best regards,

    Mike Thomas

    • Thank you for the invitation, Mike. I’ll fill it out this week and submit!

  7. Wow, I didn’t even know this kind of profiteering was going on, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Anyway, it’s always a “caveat emptor” market-someone who can’t figure out how to make their own bento box or lunch gear from stuff at Dollar Tree or Target just because they don’t live near a Japanese store-probably deserves to be overcharged online. It’s called “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection.”

    Keep up the good work, Biggie!

  8. @18 from Tory: Thanks, Tory! I’ll keep on keeping on. All is good with me, so I’m focusing on content.

  9. Sherie, you won’t have to read bento fight posts from me — I promise! I’ll be returning you to the food ASAP next week, and will continue to focus on providing solid content.

    I do make (literally) pennies on the dollar on the Amazon links; last month I made a whopping $20 and change from them. World domination, here I come? It does finally start to cover my hosting & Flickr fees, though, which is nice.

  10. Stumbling across your pictures on Flickr is what got me into bento in the first place. Before then, I’d never even heard of it. That, of course, led me to your LJ and from there I found the bentolunch community. I now have an LJ account that I use so I can participate when I can. If it weren’t for you, I would never have discovered any of this, and thanks for that.

    I love your pictures and tips and hope that the Amazon links on your site will eventually provide more funds for you. I appreciate you being honest with everyone.

  11. Ah, OK, I think I understand it better now. But as I was reading your reply, another question came up: If a blogger has access to cheap supplies, marks up very little (enough to cover their time packaging and driving to the post office), AND made it known that s/he was getting their cheap supplies locally, would that be more accepted?