In weeks past, we've covered beauty, accessories, and fitness subscriptions, but this week we get to go cute and adorable. We found the best kawaii-themed boxes and gave them all a run so you can see which purveyor of squee is the right one for you. Had no idea kawaii boxes were a thing? Neither did we!
If you're a fan of everything Sanrio, Pokémon, Japanese, Korean, and cute (duh), then read on. We got boxes with everything from delicious sodas to DIY pastel bracelet kits to yummy and tiny green tea cookies. No matter if you're snack-minded or want a packet of delicate stationery, we have you covered. According to a sociology professor in Japan, "cute" is a "magic term" that encompasses everything desirable in Japan, and, we have to agree. Not only is it a delight to receive surprises every month in the mail, it's even more enticing when those items are hard to find and are intentionally made to make us say, "ureshikute tamaranai!" (That's "I'm so happy, I can't contain it" for you non-Japanese speakers). Get your kawaii on, below.
Our Favorite: Japan Crate
Cost: $12 for a Mini crate with 4 to 6 items, $25 for an Original crate with 8 to 10 items, and $30 for a Premium crate with 12 to 14 items.
The dirt: While we tried Japan Crate's yummy, snack and candy-based subscription box, they also have the Doki Doki crate, packed with plushies, miniatures, and more for $30 a month. Our Premium Japan Crate was absolutely jammed with amazing treats, like a strawberry ramune (a type of soda where a marble is popped down into the bottle in order to open it), a DIY chocolate lollipop kit, and green tea mini Kit Kat bars. Some items we received were fun simply for the WTF factor (a corn soup-flavored snack?) and others were delightful items we had never seen before (sweet chips drizzled with icing, yum!). The proverbial cherry on the cake: a booklet that accompanies each box. Not only does it detail every product within, it contains an actual comic book, and is designed to be read like a classic Japanese manga, right to left. As an additional bonus, every month one lucky subscriber will be chosen to win the Sugoi Crate, which contains giant Japanese candies, Tokyo-exclusive toys, just-released gadgets, and brand new game consoles and games.
Code: Use "NYLON" at checkout for $3 off a Doki Doki or Premium Japan Crate.
Super Cute Box
Cost: £18.00 for a single box, with discounts for a subscription.
The dirt: Super Cute Box lives up to its name. With everything from kawaii stationery to jewelry and accessories, from new and established lines, this is a squee-worthy box of fun. Not only is everything delightfully adorable, Super Cute Box aims to include at least one item every month that is from a small business or an independent designer. As the company says, "There is so much talent out there and [we] want to encourage individuals and creativity from growing artists." Among our favorite items, was a lucite cookie jar necklace, a notebook with the happiest carton of milk ever to exist, and delicate, silver Hello Kitty earrings. While they specialize in kawaii stationery from Japan and Korea, they also source from creators around the world, keeping the vibe cute with a little bit of kitsch.
Code: Use 'NYLON' at checkout to get £3 off a subscription (excludes limited-edition, birthday, and retro boxes).
Cost: $18.90 a month, with discounts for six-month and 12-month subscriptions.
The dirt: Every Kawaii Box contains 10 to 12 handpicked items that are a mix of Japanese and Korean products. One lucky subscriber will also be the recipient of the Megabox, filled with the usual kawaii items, but also bags, purses, phone accessories and more, all totaling over $100. While we were not so fortunate to receive the Megabox, we will say that our Kawaii Box was a HUGE bang for the buck, literally overflowing with cuteness. Tiny green tea-and-chocolate biscuits were included as well as 3-D stickers, the most adorable paper clips, and several DIY craft items, like a bracelet kit. Considering this box also includes free shipping, we'd say it's well worth the cost.
Cost: The snack box is $25 a month, with discounts for six and 12-month subscriptions. The kawaii box is $35 a month, with discounts for six and 12-month subscriptions.
The dirt: While we didn't get the snack box, they promise 8 to 12 items in each one with more chocolatey treats in the winter and more chips and dry snacks in the summer, along with a DIY kit always (they really love their DIY candy). The kawaii box, which we received, contains a mix of plushies, stationery, stickers, bags, and yep, the occasional kawaii snack item. Among our goodies we received a Gudetama coin bank (Gudetama is a Sanrio character that's an egg with a negative, defeatist attitude), Hello Kitty washi tape, and richly delicious chocolate truffles. Nandemo means "anything" in English and that certainly seemed to sum up our kawaii box. For those who don't want to commit to the full box, they have a mix and match kawaii bag for only $7.50 that allows you to pick between several items to build your own mini kit.
Code: Use "NANDEMO10" at checkout to receive a 10 percent discount (good through April 30).