J-Okini Shop Featurette

Today I’ve got a review for you, featuring J-Okini: Products From Japan. This is a lovely little shop stocks a wide variety of beautiful gifts and accessories, focused on traditional crafts and materials. Founder Sumie Nakamura was kind enough to offer me a few items to review when I reached out to her, and I can’t wait to share this great shop with you!

The first item I chose was this beautiful pair of mizuhiki earrings. Mizuhiki is an ancient Japanese art form that involves creating tiny, tightly-wound cords out of washi paper and bending them into knots and shapes. They are often used as decorative items or tied in auspicious knots attached to gifts and cards.

These earrings are absolutely beautiful and very well-made, They arrived carefully packed in a sweet little gift box, which both helped protect them in the mail and would make for a beautiful gift presentation. What I love about these is that they will undoubtedly look great with kimono but would also look amazing with western-style outfits that need a bit of wa flair. I actually found a really great little black dress with traditional looking kiku and ume motifts on it at Wal-Mart, of all places, and these earrings will definitely elevate that dress to a more chic level! I can’t wait to pair them together.

Browse their selection of mizuhiki accessories here.

Next up is this charming tiny little zipper pouch. I can’t get over how well-finished it is for something so small. I’ve including the Canadian quarter for scale – it’s the same size as a US quarter or a 50 cent Euro coin. It would make a great change purse or a little case for a special piece of jewellery while travelling.

Despite its tiny size, it’s smoothly finished inside and out and the zipper is great quality and opens without any fuss. I love the cube shape so much, it reminds me of a large die. I tend to leave the house without my hearing aid or jewellery when I fly, because I know I’ll have to take it all off when I get to security and deal with the hassle of collecting it all afterwards. Next time, I think I’ll put it all in this charming little cube and equip myself properly once I’ve settled in at the gate.

Browse their selection of kimono fabric wallets and pouches here.

Aside from these items, they also offer a wonderful variety of teas and tea tools (bowls, whisks, strainers, etc); a huge selection of bento boxes and products ranging from the adorable (I’m in love with this Geisha set) to the elegant (like this classic kimono-inspired motif); and obiage that can be worn as elegant silk scarves, or if you’re a fellow kimono addict, can be the finishing touch to your coordination.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for a gift for a loved one who is passionate about Japanese culture, J-Okini will have something for you. They are based in Europe (Malta, to be precise) so if you’re in that area they’re an excellent place to shop from. They will ship worldwide, though! It took a while for the package to get to me, but I place the blame for that squarely on the recent Canada Post strike, not J-Okini.

 I received this item from the retailer or manufacturer for honest review purposes.If you have a topically appropriate craft, product, or service you would like me to review, please contact me. 

Review – ZenPop Stationery Subscription Box

Today we’ve got something a little different, but very cool. ZenPop.jp offers a selection of themed subscription boxes featuring all sorts of neat products from Japan, curated and delivered directly to your door! There are boxes that focus on sweets, one with a focus on ramen, a mix of sweets + ramen, and then the one I have here for you today, filled with an adorable assortment of Japanese stationery. I was offered the choice, but since I have a fair number of food allergies I felt like this was the safer bet. I’d hate to receive a box of things I couldn’t review properly!

The box was mailed on Nov 4th and arrived on Nov 29th, but Canada Post was on rotating strikes for most of the month so I’m fairly certain the long delivery period was due to that, not due to anything on ZenPop’s end. The first thing I noticed was the mailer box itself. They could just as easily send these in plain mailers, but seeing this custom packaging with the adorable mascot in the mail added to the whole experience. It’s a really nice touch!

Upon opening the box, you’re greeted with a sweet little thank-you note and a paper detailing the contents of the package. This insert was very useful, since the packaging on the items is nearly all in Japanese. Removing the insert and unfolding the tissue paper feels like unwrapping a present, and was very exciting. Since this is the last box of the year, the overriding theme is winter/new year, which seemed like a wonderful introduction to the service.

  • First up is a sweet little 2019 calendar. The cards are roughly the size of a photo or large index card, so this will easily fit on any desk. The designs are super cute.
  • Next is a packet of incredibly charming dog stickers. This past year was the year of the dog, so this is a nice little farewell to 2018. The stickers are really nicely made of heavily textured paper with gold accents. I know I’ll be using these in next year’s planner.
  • The third item is a nice little paper and envelope set. I’m really quite terrible at keeping up with physical correspondence but maybe with such cute stationery I’ll be more motivated!
  • This fourth item is really awesome – it’s a portable staple-less stapler. Is it still called a stapler? Who knows! But it’s really nifty. It cuts and folds the paper into a secure little flap. It’s not ideal for large reams of paper, but for someone who is constantly losing receipts and medical papers in the bottom of her purse, this is going to be really helpful.
  • This next picture actually showcases three items. First up – the notepad, which is a great little portable size and has sweet little winter scenes on it. My only issue is that it’s clearly intended for a Japanese audience and the rules on it are vertical. But for scribbling a quick note or two, it’s still totally useful. The red pen is a really fun little glitter jelly Sakura pen – I tried my best to capture how shimmery the writing is, but I’m not sure it picked up well on camera. The Beetle Highlighter by Kokuyo is incredible! The tip is very strange-looking, definitely reminiscent of a staghorn or rhino beetle, but it makes it very practical. Depending on how you hold the marker you can either get a standard wide line, a thin underline, or even a double-line. These would be incredibly helpful for a student or someone who needs to take a lot of notes.
  • Next is another adorable doggie item, this time they’re little self-adhesive flags. Great for marking up textbooks, planners, or just your current relaxing read. I can’t wait to see these cute faces sticking out of my stuff.
  • The ninth item is clearly intended for the holidays, and may not be useful in its intended purpose to people outside of Japan. These are decorative envelopes intended for gifts of money. However, they’re a good little size and very sweet-looking, so you could absolutely use them for a love note or a gift card.
  • Last but not least is a roll of washi tape, again with pretty winter landscapes on it. I love washi tape and use it to decorate so much stuff, this will definitely get great usage.

Overall, I’m really quite impressed by this box. For $29.50 you get a fantastic assortment of items that are both adorable and very practical. If you’re like me and you love getting little surprises in the mail, or you’re looking for a unique gift for someone who loves all things cute and Japanese, I highly recommend one of ZenPop’s offerings. Click here to check out ZenPop for yourself!

Bonus: ZenPop is 100% Tribble Approved!

 If you have a topically appropriate craft, product, or service you would like me to review, please contact me.I received this item from the retailer or manufacturer for honest review purposes. 

Review – Paperless Post Project

Recently, I was contacted by the Paperless Post Project, offering me some credits to explore and review their service. At first, I admit that I was uncertain about a way to tie it in to the content of this blog, but my worries were unfounded. We had a kimono club event coming up, and there’s such a wonderful variety of invitations and digital paper products that I knew it would be a great way to send out invites.

Paperless Post is a fantastic alternative to traditional mail. It’s infinitely customiseable and eco-friendly, but still feels exciting and cohesive, like receiving a physical invitation. The interface is fantastic – you can personalise nearly every aspect of the “mail” you’re sending, from the card to the envelope and stamp to even the backdrop surface the envelope opens on! For people who don’t have the time or skill to create their own designs, many of the pre-existing designs are absolutely gorgeous. However, if you enjoy that sort of a thing and like being in control, you can change or alter every element involved. As you know, seasonality and aesthetics play a huge part in kimono, so the fact that you can tweak and customise and find designs for nearly everything really appealed to me.

There are plenty of options on the site that are free, but some premium options do require an in-site coin currency. However, it’s totally possible to make and send a beautiful card or invitation without using any coins!

The interface is very straightforward and intuitive;  to change an element simply click on the part you’d like to edit. All the options will be displayed, and a small text in the upper corner will tell you how many coins you’ll need for each card or invitation you send out. You fill out your information and then finally enter the names and email addresses of your desired recipients. One feature I would like to see here would be some sort of integration with Facebook Events. In this modern age of social media, collecting email addresses seems almost archaic. That’s really my only “complaint” about Paperless Post, and it’s definitely a minor one. But if you’re hoping to share your card or invitation online, it’s something to keep in mind.

Now that the event is over and done with, here’s the lovely little invite I created for our kimono club meetup! You can see how much it looks and feels like “real” mail, from the envelope front to the card sliding out of the flap. It’s a really fun and charming experience.

Will Paperless Post replace physical mail entirely? Probably not. But in this brave new world of long-distance friendship, increasing postal service costs, and awareness of carbon footprints and environmental impacts, it’s definitely a service worth looking into!

 I received this item from the retailer or manufacturer for honest review purposes.If you have a topically appropriate craft, product, or service you would like me to review, please contact me. 

Tea Time – Dollar Tea Club

I originally came across Dollar Tea Club through a sponsored post on Instagram. Clearly those targeted ads work!

I love monthly subscription boxes. It’s a bit ridiculous how happy getting a little surprise in the mail makes me. I’ve been a subscriber to services like Ipsy and LootCrate before, but with the low Canadian dollar and ever-increasing shipping costs I’ve had to cancel them both. But Dollar Tea Club is so affordable that I know I’ll be sticking with it for quite a while. For the price of one drink at a cafe, you get three generously sized packets of loose-leaf tea and three compostable filters delivered right to your door. It’s such a great little treat.

I’ve been subscribed for several months now. I wanted to stick with it for a while before writing this review, just to make sure I’m as happy now as I was when I first signed up. I won’t be giving each specific tea a thorough review, this is more of an overview of the service itself.

There’s always a good variety of standard classics and interesting custom blends. Every tea I’ve tried has been lovely. During the summer, they sent several varieties of fruit-based herbal teas and they all made excellent iced tea drinks, so this is definitely a subscription service you can enjoy year-round. Admittedly, with a surprise selection like this, not every tea will be to everyone’s preferences. For instance, I have no interest in the supposed health benefits of things like Ease n’ Fit, but I will acknowledge that it was still quite tasty!

If you’d like to try out Dollar Tea Club for yourself, my referral code will give you $1 off your first month and give me a little bonus towards next month’s package. Since each month only costs $1, you’re basically getting to try it out for free. All you have to do is pay for shipping! Use code REFV8G0DF3D91 during your checkout.

 This post contains affiliate link(s). If you choose to purchase, I receive a small rebate or commission which goes to the continued maintenance of this site. 

Movie Review – Batman Ninja

If you know me, you’ll know that aside from being a big kimono geek I’m also a big comic book geek. So when I saw that DC Animation was collaborating with Kamikaze Douga (an anime production studio known for some very bizarre cult titles) on Batman Ninja I knew I was going to have to watch it. I had zero plans to review this movie, I initially just thought I’d watch it for fun, since it combines two things I’m very fond of. But then I started watching it and realised I had A Lot Of Thoughts that called out to be shared.

First off, let me say, this movie is a trip and a half. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just be prepared for ninety minutes of utter ridiculousness. The animation studio are the same folks who put out some of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and all of Pop Team Epic, so if you’re familiar with either of those shows you’ll have an idea of the flamboyant craziness to expect. If that intrigues you, click through to read on! Continue reading