Kizuna Subscription Box – Deliver Japan to your door

Today I’ve got another awesome Japanese subscription box to share with you all. This is Kizuna Box, a monthly themed box delivered right to your door. Kizuna offers a Snack box, Healthy box, and a Lifestyle box, which is the one I received. Due to a lot of complicated allergies and food sensitivities, I tend to avoid snack-focused boxes, but theirs do look like a lot of fun.

Each month there is a new seasonal theme. I received December’s box, which had the theme of Toshi-Koshi Box, all sorts of lovely items for the upcoming New Year.

The box arrived wrapped in a plain weather-resistant mailer, but the inner box had this lovely label on it so you know exactly what you’re receiving. The items inside the box are very carefully wrapped and elegantly presented. Included is a little pamphlet explaining each item – a very important touch when dealing with a box that’s not in your native language. Because this was the end-of-year box, there was an extra gift, an ema that I’ll elaborate on below, and there was a separate note explaining that too.

Let’s start with the housewares and lifestyle items.

  • First there’s a masu, or cypress wood sake vessel. It has the cutest little chidori motif, and I’m a sucker for anything chidori!
  • Because we’re coming up on the year of the boar, the next item is a charming ceramic boar, painted with gold and decorated with a little crystal.
  • A small selection of stationery, including a card, a small decorative banner, and a package of envelopes meant for gifts of money for the new year. They’d make great little personal notes to tuck into a gift or a loved one’s lunch or purse as a surprise.
  • A furoshiki with really cute toy representations of all the animals of the zodiac. This is a really nice touch, since it’s got all twelve it can be displayed every year.

After the lifestyle items come the food items!

  • Nissin brand donbei, or instant soba noodles with tempura.
  • A great rice/donburi bowl. It’s got a really versatile striped pattern, and feels great in the hands. The donbei will fit perfectly in here, and you can bet when I eat it I will be posting a photo on Instagram.
  • These chopsticks themselves are simple enough, the chopstick rest is the real star here. It’s a hagoita, decorated with tiny orizuru paper. I’m admittedly afraid to use it, since it doesn’t look particularly washable. I may put it in a display case with other odds and ends rather than risk dirtying it.
  • Kagami-mochi candy, representative of the traditional larger traditional mochi displays for the new year.

And now the bonus gift, an ema with a toy dog on it, representing the end of 2018. An ema, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is a wooden plaque you write a prayer on and hang at your local shinto temple. This one comes with a note suggesting that if you don’t have a temple nearby, just to hang it somewhere in your house as both a wish and a decoration. I have a few goals I’d like to accomplish in the upcoming year, so I’m going to use it to bring me some good mojo. I actually have two for this upcoming year, as my friend Kansai Gal sent me one in her box of goodies too.

 

Overall, Kizuna Box is a great experience, and I definitely recommend it. It’s clear they put a lot of thought and effort into curating items to fit each theme and it’s always fun to get a bunch of beautiful surprises in the mail! You can subscribe to Kizuna Box for $34.95 per month here, along with their sister subscriptions of Kizuna Snacks and Kizuna Healthy if you find those more appealing.

Kizuna Box is approved by both Tribble and Vinnie!

 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.