Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tokyo Treat (Japanese Snacks) Premium Box Unboxing & Review, January 2016

You KNOW you've got a great subscription box when you have to climb up on a ladder to get the group shot for a blog post! I recently had the pleasure of discovering Tokyo Treat which sends hand picked Japanese snacks straight from Tokyo!  All of their treats are authentically Japanese and all are full size. Their boxes are nicely balanced with salty, sour and sweet treats, all factory fresh. If you've never been exposed to Japanese treats, you're in for an adventure! 

Tokyo Treat has three available subscription plans.  Their boxes are shipped via Japan Post Airmail and generally arrive between the 20th and 28th of each month. Amazingly, shipping is free no matter where you live!  

Small (5-7 snacks) - $14.99 per mo.
Regular (8-12 snacks plus a DIY candy kit) - $24.99
Premium (13-17 snacks plus a DIY candy kit, drink and special toy) - $34.99  

Discounts are available if you pre-pay for 3, 6 or 12 months.  As an example, an annual commitment for each size will cost:

Small - $164.89 ($13.74 per mo. equivalent)
Regular - $274.89 ($22.91 per mo. equivalent)
Premium - $384.89 ($32.07 per mo. equivalent)

This will be a review of Tokyo Treat's January Premium box which arrived in a big orange box. Japan Post has a reputation for being the most efficient postal service in the world so the speed of delivery may surprise you. This box weighs in at about 2 lbs., 5 ozs. (By comparison, the Small box weighs a bit under 1 lb. and the Regular box weighs a little less than 1.5 lbs.)

First off, let me say that Japanese candy is like no other in the world. Japanese snack subscriptions involve a level of craziness, a riot of color and silly cartoon characters that represent Japanese pop culture. Japanese treat boxes often include one or more DIY (do it yourself) treats, meaning you get personally involved with the preparation of your snack. This box was packed full! Here's my perched-on-a-ladder shot of everything inside:

In order to navigate a box like this, you either need to read Japanese or have a handy guide.  Fortunately for me, they provided a full color booklet with lots of tidbits of information about Japan and a full explanation of all the included treats.

This mini magazine tells about the snacks in all three sizes of the January Tokyo Treat box. Since most of the snacks are not labeled in English, I'll be relying heavily on this guide.  The first row shows the items included in the Small box.  The Regular size box contains items from the first two rows and the Premium box contains all of the items shown. 

This hexagonal box contains something called Yokai-Watch Fortune Seal Namaste Curry. Apparently, this is a savory curry flavored snack with fortunes inside....a Japanese fortune cookie?

This looks like a little box of candy cigarettes but it's actually Chocolate Ball Peanut or whole peanuts covered in chocolate.

Here is a familiar looking package from Lotte.  This is some kind of wafer cookie but the description talks mostly about the collectible Pokemon character picture that is evidently inside. (Brace yourself...there's a LOT of Pokemon on the way!)

Inside this color explosion is the first DIY candy kit called Neru Neru Nerune Soda Flavor. Assembly instructions are on the back. Mix the ingredients with water, let it sit overnight and it grows into a fluffy sweet puffed candy treat that you then top with various decorations. 

There is a second DIY kit in the box; this one is called Oekaki Kyanland Candy. Press candy into several different molds, mix the edible paint to your liking, then use the enclosed spatula to apply the coloring.  Ladies and gentlemen....I am NOT making these up!

In case you need assistance with the DIY kits, they've got you covered. Explicit "how to" instructions are included in the guide:

Back to sanity....there is a box of Chocolate Pocky.  There are zillions of Pocky flavors and variations out there; it's probably the most well known candy from Japan.  This version is chocolate dusted in cocoa which, for some reason, is considered a "winter" version.  Any self respecting Japanese candy box should contain at least one box or bag of Pocky!

This is a string of five Pokemon (pocket monster) candy packs. The flavors inside are pineapple, cola, soda, grape and five types of melon. There is also a possibility of finding a hidden monster in the package. (Silly me...I thought Pokemon marketing in the U.S. was out of control!)

Let me chili pepper flavored potato chips?  Close...these are Tyrant Habanero Who Came Back! rings. I suspect the five little habaneros lined up on the lower right edge constitute a warning that should be taken seriously.

One of the benefits of a Premium size box is the inclusion of a drink. This little pink can contains Amazake or High Quality Sweet Sake. The description says this should be enjoyed warm and that it is non-alcoholic. The next sentence says it contains 1% alcohol.  Error in translation? 

This one is called Pokemon Chewing Candy. Each pineapple flavored chew has a special monster seal on the paper that can be transferred onto the skin or paper like a temporary tattoo plus a monster quiz....more Pokemon craziness!

I am instantly apprehensive about any snack package with a fish on the front.  But the guide says this is a sweet and simple chocolate confection made in the shape of sea bream, a New Year's Thai custom. (Imagine associating any chocolate sweet in the U.S. with fish!)

More Pokemon insanity...this is sticker-matching chewing gum. This is one big flat piece of cola-flavored gum with a Pokemon game on the wrapper.

Finally, something I recognize....caramel corn!  But, it wouldn't be Japanese if it were completely recognizable caramel corn.  This is actually infused with soft-serve ice cream flavor and the packaging is a tribute to a hit monster and ghoul-oriented Japanese TV show called Yokai Watch. 

As promised, the Premium box also contains a "special toy".  Three guesses what the subject is.....OF COURSE, it's Pokemon!  You get one of 12 different collectible pocket monsters. Mine is labeled Takara Tomy.  Anybody know what this is? Here he is in the package:

I wanted to assemble this but after playing with the pieces for a while, I have no idea how to put it (him?) together. A Google search did provide a finished image but since the pieces don't click together, he doesn't stay put very well.  Not sure what the rotating base is for. Somebody, please enlighten me!  By the way, toys in Japanese boxes are NOT the Crackerjack equivalent. They are well constructed and durable; I can see why Japanese children would find them highly collectible.

Even though "Caramel Corn" was the only phrase I understood on all the packaging, the vibrant colors and silly characters made this box a lot of fun to dig through. Considering where these snacks come from and that you pay no postage, I think the value is quite good. I also like that these are all full size snacks; no tiny samples!  

If you're interested in trying Tokyo Treat, sign up by the last day of the current month to get next month's box. If you've never experienced Japanese candies and snacks, you are in for a unique multi-sensory cultural experience.  This would be a great box for kids but there's plenty here for the young at heart to enjoy as well!

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was received complimentary for review purposes.  Post does not contain affiliate or referral links.

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