Betcha Can’t Eat EVEN One!

Here’s how our good friends, the Japanese, manage to stay fit and trim so that they can continue to hand our Cheetos-enhanced behinds to us in the cuteness department: Food so adorable you don’t want to eat it.  Go ahead — you order a plate of this stuff and see if you aren’t still staring at it three hours later.

Ah, this takes me back to the first time *I* woke up in a Dumpster.

Hey baby, how YOU doin'?Mister Ranger won't like it if you eat me, Yogi...

Top: Princess Leia?Bottom: Donald Trump?

Cow-men Moo-randa! (forgive me)Aye yam zee peenk poo-dell of zee loff, non?

Omygawd, this is, like, the most awesomest sleepover EVER and stuff!

It's Bullseye, the Wonder Snack!PTHHPTHTHHPHTTHHTT!

I think we've located the trouble with your guitar, sir...GRR! I'm a scary tiger! You're MY lunch! GRRRR!

NOTE: Does not contain actual crab.NOTE: Does not contain actual boy.

Mmmmmm ... crunchy frog!Hello Tasty!

Sweeeeeet Aaaaa-dooooo-liiiiinnnee...

Bon appétit, Paulina J.



  1. Now I know where they get the expression “so cute you want to eat it”.


  2. snoopysnake says:

    The ears on those Hello Kitty pastries sure look kronschable.

  3. Man, I want kids JUST so I can make these for them.

  4. Piggy Mama says:

    A whole new meaning of “Playing with your food”!

  5. so



    (that said, best hovertexts ever)

  6. I forgot how much I love that site. Japanese mom’s rule for making the cutest and most creative bentos in the world (and they look pretty darn tasty too).

  7. I think I still have my recipe book that shows how to make stuff like this… natsukashii!! T_T

  8. Such cute bento lunches! ^-^

    And yep, I’d be staring for a bit, but then my tummy’d rumble and I’d have to dive in.

  9. Totally, insanely, genius. I wouldn’t eat it anyway – I can’t stand Japanese food.

  10. I would love to know the inspiration behind the (clearly strife-filled) hot-dog octopus wedding. Looks doomed for divorce despite the soulful afroed wedding singer…?

  11. this is madness!

  12. That’s so cool! I love it that some of the bowls actually have ears. And Mike, “Hello Tasty” – BWAAAAAAAA!

  13. mejezabel says:


  14. Actually, it’s so cute I DO want to eat it.


  15. That’s it. I’m moving to Japan next time I need to diet.

  16. Obviously, Meg has taught us to nom the ears, first. If not the paws….


  17. yankeebird says:

    LOL – I found a bento-themed shirt I wanted to post the other day but didn’t want to hijack the threads for something so off-topic. I figure this is as good as it’s gonna get.

    (If any of you are shirt.wooters, go vote!)

  18. GAH!

    Viewing things like this while eating makes a banana seem totally inferior in comparison.

    It also makes me want to spend time learning how to make it for myself;).

  19. (the original) Mel says:

    American Cutologists have not yet reached this level. We may never, but we must strive.

  20. (the original) Mel says:

    Oh and crunchy frog may not have been popular, but it is one of my favorites.

  21. I would still perform soft cronches. That stuff gonna get in my mouf one way or another.

  22. I don’t know if this would catch on in the US- I put notes in my kids’ lunches, but I don’t think I’d have gone this far…

  23. metsakins says:

    crunchy frog? what about lime creme?

  24. CoffeeCup says:


    I guess I’m the only one who thinks it’s cute, but kind of creepy, and definitely not something that would catch on here.

    These aren’t kids’ lunches, people. The blurb at the top specifically says they’re ordered, so you’d get these bento boxes at a restaurant. I think there are some parents who would do that for their kids, but if Japanese kids are anything like how I was when I was a kid, it’d all get smooshed to one side by lunch time from my lunchbox being repeatedly rolled and spun.

  25. momof2kitties says:

    My kids could never eat those anyway, because the food is…touching! Oh, the HORROR! It’s contaminated!

    For me, it’s cute but a tad bit creepy. I’d have a hard time making that first cut. Where to start? It’s a little Hannibal Lecter.

  26. The only one I could eat without crying is Mr. Froggie Lettuce Head guy.

  27. Ok, to start I’ll have the Behbehs Ina Blanket. For my entree I’ll have the Cow Combo. Oh, and for desert the Octopus Family. Thanks.

  28. I love that there’s an actual gadget in existence whose sole purpose is to make those hot dog octopuses!

  29. Catsquatch says:

    Its cute food….

  30. Hello Kitty hot pocket? *shakes head* Genius.

  31. Cutest…



  32. Jenn in IL says:

    The Hello Kitty snack things are super delicious. If they’re the ones I’m thinking of, they’re filled with yummy chocolate and the outside is a sweet sugar cone like substance. Mmmm!

    But the other stuff is TOO cute to eat. How could ANYONE eat that first one???

  33. Oh dear heavens, that’s Mr. One-Inch! Complete with his rice bowl boat and chopstick punting stick.

    Dang those Japanese! *shakes fist* They even make carbs cute.

  34. CoffeeCup- My mistake, and I don’t read Japanese, but I don’t see where it say ordered from a restaurant. I do know a Japanese Mommy now in the US who does make these for her children’s lunches on special occasions. Now, can you imagine some fine young go-go Japanese businesman sitting down to any of these in a resturant, clients in tow? Delightful concept, eh, what?

  35. Way too cute! Kinda perplexed what some of the ingredients are though on some of them.

  36. So, what do we have, Power Rangers cake molds and some snazzy Jello molds, so little competition there….

  37. Who says American mom’s don’t make this stuff… Remembers fondly the teddy bear and Animal shaped pancakes, fruit plate animals .. Pizza ala faces… shall I go on. They were fun and cute and it was done frequently.

    One of my Christmas cookie specialties is truffle filled mouse cookies and you would be surprised how many adults make over them…. and the bonus is that they are delicious.

  38. Hello Kitty calzones?! *faints*

    Those toast faces are adorable! And the cow. I love the cow.

  39. Balamuthia says:

    To CoffeeCup:

    The tradition of Obento is certainly used in Japanese school lunches- in fact parents pride themselves on just how over-the-top-cute they can make their kids lunch. The goal is to elicit a smile when the box is opened.

    That’s not to say that adults don’t equally enjoy them, they do.

  40. Balamuthia says:


    The hotdog people are just. Too. Much!!

  41. I don’t really like my food to have eyes especially big googly ones.

  42. I don’t get it. Why are the other hot dog people mad at the bridge. Because she gets to wear the designer outfit?

  43. OMG, are those hotdogs!!1!

  44. Uh, briDe.

  45. LOVE the crab with the sushi rolls for eyes. Not just cute, but damn creative. Awesome!

  46. okaasan59 says:

    Do Japanese kids really expect their moms to make lunches this elaborate? And do many of the moms actually do it??? If my kids had expected something like this rather than a hastily-slapped together PB&J they would have gone hungry.

  47. bunnybonnet says:

    I LOVE the crab with the shrimp “legs”, and the pancake/bread/donut faces – just adorable. The Japanese are truly the masters of Cute.

  48. berthaservant says:

    Ummm… dad used to write funny notes as absence excuses for my sick days….and sometimes my mom would cut the pb&j into the shape of the letter J….

    ….my parents, needless to say, are not Japanese.

  49. Juniper Jupiter says:

    Nope…can NOT eat tha riceball kitteh, even tho she’s got her adorabobble belleh exposed and she’s smiling up as if to say, “I just DARE you to pour soy sauce on meh!!!”

    The others….I might be able to.

  50. vespabelle says:

    someone (a school teacher in Japan?) needs to make a photoblog of bento boxes after they’ve been subjected to “the backpack treatment.”

  51. Ohhh the irony is too much!

    1) Once living bodies but now dead, arranged to represent happy, cute bodies.

    2) Society’s two tiers of animal status: Those beings legally enslaved and exploited through the financial support of people who want to eat them (the little guys dead inside the bento box) … versus … those beings society affords fuller rights to – like dogs and cats (the cute guys built out of the dead guys).

    3) People whose two tiers of status are so far apart they’d have no problem consuming the bodies of some animals yet would have a hard time cutting into food /shaped/ like an animal.

  52. It’s an odd nuff, but not bad, as these things go.

  53. Oh man these bring back memories of my lunches my mom made while I was in grade school ( my mom is Japanese and folks, this was years ago).

  54. Balamuthia says:

    Yes, it’s me again…

    The little toasts! So awesome!

    How can I make toasts like that??

  55. somehow this scares me….

  56. Ok, apparently I’m the only one who got Oriental Fairy Tales books as a kid.

    Ricki-Ticki-Tempo anyone?


    someone’s already got the octopus/hotdog market in the bag.

  58. I had/(havne in storage somewhere?!) a book of japanese fairy tales. But it is full of stories about the-tongue cut sparrow, a female ogre after her severed arm, a monkey who has a quarrel with a crab, and Uroshima Taro.

    Rather uncute, but full of just desserts!

    One of my favorite books of all time,too.

    (Did I just writer that?! Gads! XD)


  60. Kristin C says:

    I was beginning to wonder when C.O. was doing a Bento post. ^^

  61. Hey, I always had a hard time eating the chocolate bunny in my Easter basket. I’d be helpless staring at this.

  62. eikoleigh says:

    Way too cute to eat. I’d feel so guilty!

  63. Noelegy,

    Then this will break your heart!

  64. Not That Mike The Other Mike says:

    @taj: I remember that scene from the ending of “Raiders of the Lost Chocolate Ark.” 🙂


    FAH CRYIN OUT LOUD that’s the cutest food in the ho’ wy whirl!!

  66. Ya got us six ways from Sunday, krc, but ya know, I think you may be overthinking it just a tad….

  67. Okay, does anyone understand what is going on at the hotdog octopus wedding?!? Why do the baby (?) and the groom (?) have bandages on their heads? Why are they mad at the bride? What’s up with the wedding singer?!? Please help! Even if you don’t know, if someone made up a story to go with this scene, it would make me okay.

  68. @coffeecup – No, these ARE kids’ lunches. There are a number of these sites, including this one, that actually teach mom how to make these bentos and also to showcase their creativity. I’ve visited a few of them before this CO posting. Not sure where the reference to this being a restaurant order is from. The Japanese on the middle pick just reads the equivalent of “Happy New Year” (so clearly a New Year’s special lunch box).

  69. [sweatily approaches your table]
    Um.. N’cha! you guys?
    [sets down jar of caterpillars, frowns into Garfield thermos, adjusts spectacles]
    Wanna trade the tonkatsu from your tanuki’s ear for my pillowy mound of mashed potatoes?
    [tilts thermos so you can see]
    They kinda look like kodama, huh?

  70. @taj – In my recurring nightmares, I am that bunny.

    I would nom the ears, but beyond that, I would be helpless to eat any of these adorabibble munch’ems. I’m already a vegetarian who has issues eating animal crackers!

  71. Taj, that was…weird! Points for style for the haunting “la, la” music, and the odd monochromatic backgrounds.

    What was disturbing was how many “related” videos there were. It’s that popular to film a melting chocolate bunny?!


  73. Raemie L. says:

    Yay, cute and elaborate bentos are definitely C.O. post-worthy. LOL’ed at the rollover text, esp. the awkward puns.

    Damn. My advertisement-conditioned mind has the urge to run to the nearest Japanese grocery market.

  74. Gail (the first one) says:

    I dunno, but from the expressions I think the last one is portraying a shotgun wedding!!

    They are so cute!!!!!

  75. DixiesMom says:

    Gonna have sweaty-hot, melty, chocolately, eye-splooshing bunnymares tonight…. 😦

  76. Yitzysmommie says:

    I’m afraid, I’m very afraid of what is the pink stuff that makes the paw pads & ears & tongue…..
    I couldn’t eat these, they are indeed way too Qte.

  77. yes theo, i agree! best hovertext ever!!!!

    i’m cryin’ over heah!

  78. MaggieMarvel says:

    I’m going to try the CuteDiet now. I have an overeating problem and I’m sure that I wouldn’t WANT to eat so much if I were so busy squeeing over how cute the food is. XP

  79. I don’t know — I don’t think the Japanese have us so beat. My mom and dad used to make adorable pancakes for me, and toast. And my brother was one of those guys who could create all sorts of animals out of vegetables. So there.

  80. Yay for the sushi!

  81. this is totally how to get kids to eat their veg-e-tuh-buhls fo’ sho’!

    Japan is rockin’ awesome. they sell the cutest little bento lunchboxes at the 100 Yen [think MOST AWESOME DOLLAR STORE EVARRRR] so you can practice making your own. 🙂

    love it!

  82. Saint Pomme says:

    I’m suddenly hungry. I want to go to my local sushi place and show them these pictures, asking if they can make multiples for me. *L*

  83. Yitzysmommie, I think the pink ears/paw pads may be Kamaboko, which is a yummy fish loaf.

  84. I really need to go to Japan.

    One thought, how do the Japanese not EXPLODE from cute what with all the stuff they are producing? Maybe they are born with a cute-anti-body in their system that can successfully fight off any cute infections? 😉

  85. They all look delicious! 🙂

  86. eehhnn!!! would love to try and make these. though i would know my efforts would end up in food poisoning somehow

  87. Holy Crap! I love reading those chopstick papers with their mangled English translations, but this is even better, “(The mark of the straw with the doll to have made with marshmallow.)” Just wonderful.

  88. Barbarella von F – It’s true; the Japanese are immune to teh cute.

    I would eat these, but only if they’re vegetarian (though I wouldn’t worry too much about that – the Japanese do love their veggies!)

  89. Totalee Puppy says:

    LIZZY–Love those issues eating animal
    My family had to tell me that eating a chocolate bunny is the only way he can go to heaven and become a REAL BUNNY…I also have trouble eating PEEPS little chicks and other cuties…

  90. Totalee Puppy says:

    OOO-KAAAY, something else to feel guilty about…cause I know I would never do this…No Obento, no way! Not T.Puppy–I have no initiative, no talent, little money…LOVE these cute foods, tho…my favorites are Mr.Frog, the crab, the black-and-white puppy, the cow…Think of the market in Japan for OTUPPERWARE–Just to store all these ingredients in the fridge…

  91. Looks like fun tastes like shit.

  92. I most enjoyed the TopCat, the Frog & the Cow. Just communicated with my mother to be sure she saw these. We were Navy & stationed in Japan shortly after WWII (while it was in post-Hiroshima disaster mode) so saw a lot of long-term Japanese cultural developments & then their shifting back into a successful postwar nation.
    Her assessment of these examples is that they represent “typical” quality level. Meaning — your original caption is correct: the Japanese hand us(was this the phrasing you used?) our American Cheetos-encrusted behinds in terms of product appeal.

  93. oops — sorry — my computer terminal said that the session had expired. Editors: help & delete the second one, please? So sorry — Leslie

  94. OMG, time to cronshe away! 😮

  95. Is anyone else thinking about Fruity Oaty Bars (makes a man out of a mouse) when looking at these?

    (sorry, that’s a completely random and tricky reference to Serenity. it’s a weird commercial playing in the background of one of the scenes and I SWEAR the hotdog octopi pop out of someone’s shirt.)

  96. inspired. i will be testing out presentation to see how much happiness it generates in our home.


  97. Kazae Kazami says:

    If you liked these, check out – non-professional bento done by a mom with a taste for the adorable.

  98. I am new to making bentos and have been searching for sites. My favorite site so far is, I found her pics on flickr.

  99. These bento (not obento. sheesh. why so formal?) are absolutely not the norm. I only once or twice in four years in Japan saw a parent put so much effort into their child’s lunch and it was on a day that other parents would see it (sports day).

    Also, we may have “cheeto-encrusted butts”, but these calorie bombs are not the reason that Japanese are skinny. The children play sports for a manditory 2-3 hours after school and eating disorders amongst 18-30 year olds is estimated at 50% of the population in that age group. In spite of that, I had more than one 150 lb. 4th grader.

    I mean, these lunches are cute, but get over it with the Japanese. They’re just people just like us.

  100. I’ve got it give it to the chef,this dishes are off the hook!!!!congrats……

  101. I’m really curious as to what the white rice-kitty’s legs and tail are made of — looks like egg white, but it can’t be. Tofu, maybe?

    RK in Denver

  102. I’m really curious as to what the white rice-kitty’s legs and tail are made of — looks like egg white, but it can’t be. Tofu, maybe?

    RK in Denver

  103. so cute! can i post them in my blog? i’ll credit u, thanks 🙂

  104. those are so cute but a master piece like that should not be eaten but adored

  105. OMG that is sooooo cute

    I had a nightmere 1 night about homer simpson eating them!!

    I have 1 thing to say