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Unboxing: July YumeTwins

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And so, as predicted, my July YumeTwins box arrived in record time. Typical! At least this means it’s safe to order new subscription boxes, something I’d been putting off doing whilst the post was so unreliable!

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The theme of July’s box was ‘Work kawaii, play kawaii’! I did feel like the items in this box didn’t really fit the theme, and it did seem like just a bunch of random items put together. One of the items, the ‘mystery plushie’, just felt like it was in there to get rid of stock.

As you can see from the photo, the ‘mystery plushie’ was very prevalant in my box – Donald Duck staring at me as soon as I opened it.

 

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I’m not the biggest Disney fan, I would have much rather had a Sanrio plushie, so immediately I was feeling a bit miffed. This is potentially one item I’ll be selling as I don’t really see a space for it in my plushie collection, but we’ll see. It might grow on me.

 

 

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My next item was a Splatoon x Sanrio cup. I’m not a fan of Splatoon, having never played, but obviously I do like Sanrio. I’m not sure where My Melody rates in my Sanrio league chart, obviously I would have preferred a Pom Pom Purin one, but this isn’t so bad really. I like pink at least!

 

 

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So far, not particularly work or play themed. Up next was an Animal Crossing sticker. It’s really cute, and I do like Animal Crossing but I don’t have anywhere to put the sticker. I’m giving the sticker to a friend who I know will appreciate it a lot more than I will!

 

 

I also got the above, which, though very cute, I have no idea how it fits with the work/play theme. It’s billed as a ‘pocket surprise towel’. I think the character is Tokage from Sumikko Gurashi (feel free to correct me in the comments!), which I don’t feel strongly about either way, but it is pretty cute so I’m not too bummed out about it (though, again, Pom Pom Purin was an option, so sucks to be me I guess).IMG_7354

 

Finally, this Gudetama mousemat. Probably the only thing in the box that fits the theme. It’s pretty practical too, as now I’m working from home I do use a plug-in mouse for my work laptop, so I’ll definitely get use out of it. Again, the options were Gudetama or My Melody, and out of the two I definitely would have preferred My Melody, which is pretty typical of my items in this box.

 

What did you think of the items in this box? Do you think they fit the theme?

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July Purchases

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True to my word in my last purchases post, I think I did pretty well in July! I see a lot of memes at the moment equating online shopping to the only bit of happiness available during lockdown, and whilst it is funny, it’s also true.

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My first category of purchases this month is games. I did go a little heavy on the games this month, I will say that. Catherine and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest I picked up preowned for a pretty decent price each, so I couldn’t really say no. Langrisser 1 & 2 was a really spontaneous purchase as I’ve never heard of the series before, or considered it in any way, but it was on sale and I thought, why not? I also bought AI The Somnium Files after it having been on my wishlist for many months. I’ve only heard good things about it!

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Next up, blu-rays. Or should I say, blu-ray? That’s right, this month I only bought one! That’s practically unheard of! I added to my Studio Ghibli collection and bought Tales from Earthsea.  

 

 

 

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And finally, what would a month be without buying some manga? I think this month I’ve actually only bought BL (no surprise there). I finished my collectiong of Ten Count (finally), and bought the new given volume, but I also bought Replay and Blue Flag, which I haven’t read yet but I’m excited to get stuck into!

 

 

That wraps up July! I think I’m going to try and have another pared back month in August, but we’ll see! I have to go on full lockdown, not even leaving the house for supermarket shopping, as my nan is having an operation, so little deliveries might be the only thing that gets me through!

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Unboxing: June YumeTwins

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Who could have predicted this? Apart from everyone, I mean. A mere week after my May YumeTwins box arrived, up rocks my June box. Subscription boxes are like London busses, or something. Anyway, terrible jokes aside, it’s a relief to be back up to date with my subscription boxes after the shipping nightmare. I do still have a July box to come, but I’m not expecting that for another couple of weeks or so. I may be pleasantly surprised on that estimate, but we’ll see! The theme for the June box was ‘Ghibli Night In’.

IMG_5747I mentioned in the last Unboxing post that food and drink items tend to be a recurring theme in subscription boxes, and the June box was no exception. I think the more subscription boxes and the more tupperware and bento boxes I acquire and sneak into the kitchen cupboards, the greater the risk of my mother killing me becomes. I’m hoping these Jiji tupperware boxes get a free pass for being so cute!

My next items, above, were both My Neighbour Totoro themed. The bag looks extremely out of proportion here next to the toothbrush, but I can assure you it isn’t the world’s smallest bag! It’s actually a pretty decent size, easily big enough for phone, keys, purse with room to spare. It’s definitely not an all the time bag, but I think for just nipping out, it’s fine! My lack of forward planning is clearly evident here as the Totoro toothbrush blends in with the colour of my coffee table perfectly, whoops! I’ll be using my new bamboo toothbrush to take on trips with me, so I don’t have to take my electric toothbrush and charger, a huge space saver!

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I seemed to have very good luck with my selection of items, as I got this Howl’s Moving Castle postcard print, which I am extremely happy about as it’s my favourite Ghibli movie!

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Lastly, I got this A4 clear folder with a scene from Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’m trying to make an effort to keep all of my important documents together, so this will definitely come in handy for that!

 

 

That was everything for the June box! What was your favourite from the items I got?

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Unboxing: May YumeTwins

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Due to the good old ‘rona, shipping times worldwide have been totally ruined. Luckily, I hadn’t experienced many issues with this, except for my YumeTwins subscription box. I bought the May box back in April, and so I could get a free gift I bought a 3 month subscription. Unfortunately the box didn’t arrive in May… or June, and in fact came in July. I know this can’t be helped, and YumeTwins have amended their shipping as a result, so hopefully I won’t see this much of a delay with the remaining two boxes in my subscription!

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The theme for the May YumeTwins box was ‘Ghibli’s Delivery Service’, so as a huge Studio Ghibli fan I really couldn’t resist. Like my relationship with most things anime, there’s a sort of bittersweet feeling as I was meant to go to the Studio Ghibli Museum during my cancelled Japan trip back in March, but the sting is becoming less strong! I’m sure I’ll get over it one day…. maybe.

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Anyway, onto the goodies. The free gift that I mentioned was a set of Ghibli playing cards. This was really the reason that I signed up for the 3 month subscription, as I collect themed playing cards. I actually almost bought these exact cards when I was on holiday last year, so I’m glad I didn’t! The ones I got were My Neighbour Totoro ones!

 

 

I’ve noticed that a lot of things in subscription boxes tend to be quite food based. After just a few months of getting boxes, I have more bento boxes and chopsticks that I know what to do with. I’m not complaining though, they’re really cute! I got a bento box of Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service, and chopsticks! All of the options for the chopsticks had Jiji on, but the bento was between Totoro and Jiji, so I got a matching set!

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Carrying on the food and drink theme, I got a Totoro tumbler. The options here were all Totoro, but my one is yellow where the colours differed on the others. This fits me quite well, as I have a pastel aesthetic going on! Normally I’m a person who gets the biggest glass possible and drinks pints of water at a time, so this is a little smaller than I’m used to, but I think it will be a good glass for having an alcoholic beverage or two, or taking it on a picnic – it’s plastic so there’s no chance of it getting broken outside!

 

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Also in the box was this cute puzzle of Kiki. It’s only 150 pieces, so it won’t take me too long (although it has been a really long time since I did a puzzle, so who knows?). It’s really pretty, so I think I might even frame it when I’ve done it as it’s such a lovely picture!

 

And finally, the last item in the May YumeTwins box was this origami set of Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’m not sure I’ve ever done much origami in the past, but in theory I think it’d be quite relaxing. I guess that remains to be seen, as some of these designs look quite complicated!

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That was everything for the ‘Ghibli’s Delivery Service’ YumeTwins box. Hopefully my June box won’t be quite so delayed!

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June Purchases

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Another month in isolation down, another month of me trying to buy my own happiness. Of course, it’s not as bad as that really (most of the time), but having less to spend on travelling, commuting and socialising means there’s more money to spend on goodies. I’m determined to have a decent few months saving in the upcoming months because I just bought a car (though that won’t be appearing in the July Purchases post, nice as it is), so if my future Purchases posts are as long as this, then please feel free to give me a serious telling off!

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We’ll start this month off with manga. I have a lot of collections that I’m trying to catch up on, either to the current point of publication for ongoing series, or to completion for those that have finished. This month, I had decided to get a couple of volumes of Ouran, a couple turned into a few, and a few turned into “Ah, I might as well just finish it now.”, so that’s what I did. At least it’s done now! I also bought the latest volume of Haikyuu!! so that I don’t fall behind!

IMG_7674As has become customary, I also bought some BL; Seven Days Monday – Sunday, and Secret XXX. These two are both one-shots, so that’s something. At least I don’t have the collection problem! I’ve read both, and though they’re both very different to one another, I did really like them. Manga reviews are something I want to start doing, so I’ll write something up about them soon!

 

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As with my manga collection, I also decided I wanted to complete some of my blu-ray collections. I had started buying the steelbook versions of the Hunger Games series a few years back, and never got round to buying Mockingjay Part 2. I thought I had missed the boat on buying it, but I found a brand new copy  on eBay for not too much money, so I ordered it and now that collection is complete too!

 

 

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Completing collections must have been the theme for June, as I also bought GOT7’s latest mini-album and completed my album collection (apart from Japanese albums, I haven’t gone that deep… yet…). I got photocards for Mark, Youngjae, Jinyoung and Yugyeom, so a pretty good selection! Jinyoung is my ultimate bias, and Yugyeom is up there, so the only way it could have been better would be if my bias wrecker JB was in there too, but alas, not this time!

 

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Even though it’s not really my genre of game, and I’m a huge wimp, I couldn’t resist getting The Last of Us Part 2. I actually bough two copies by accident, but that’s a whole other thing… I have finished TLOU2 now, so I will hopefully have a review up soon!

 

 

 

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I went a little bit mad with buying anime blu-rays this month (no more so than usual, I hear you yell). I had preordered Promare ages ago, and the collectors edition finally came in. I’m really excited to watch this as I missed out on seeing it in the cinema when it came out. I also added to my Studio Ghibli collection and bought Grave of the Fireflies. I’m not quite mad enough to just buy all the missing movies from that collectio, so that’ll be ongoing for a while. I also bought a few series that I’ve wanted to watch for a while; Beyond the Boundary, My Love Story, and Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto. I could easily stream these all online, but I really like adding to my anime collection, and I always worry that the shows I want to watch will disappear from streaming sites and then I won’t get to watch them. I also think it’s really important to support the industry, so it’s a win win all round.

My last purchases for the month were this cute given pin from Pinfluential. I don’t think that they have this particular pin any longer, but they do have lots of other really cute pins! I also bought these cookie cutters of Bokuto and Akaashi from Haikyuu!! (my OTP). They’re from Tableplate. I haven’t got round to making any cookies yet, but I will, and they will be delicious and adorable. Finally, I got this Howl’s Moving Castle tin from YYKawaii! It also has little post-its with the same design inside. I did also buy something else from her, but I can’t show you because I bought someone else a matching one as a gift!

That wraps up June! Remember, permission to yell at me is granted for the next few months if Purchases posts are this long!

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Unboxing: June KawaiiBox

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Until this box arrived, I had entirely forgotten that I’d bought a KawaiiBox subscription for June. This was my first KawaiiBox, and the theme was ‘Kawaii Summer Picnic’! I was a little apprehensive when it arrived, as the box was quite small – but, the best things come in small packages as they say, and I was proven wrong to be so concerned! When I opened it, I was immediately happy as it was presented really nicely (it doesn’t take much to impress me, it turns out), with tissue paper and a cute pamphlet.

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My first item was this super cute bento box! I’m getting quite the collection of bento boxes now, but they’re always handy. In normal times I use them to take breakfast, lunch and snacks to work, but at the moment they’re just in the cupboard waiting to be used!

 

 

Next up was these chopsticks in my signature colour, pink! Luckily, I’m pretty adept with chopsticks these days, so I’ll be using them to show off when I have takeout!

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Keeping on the food theme, in the box there was also these Little Twin Stars onigiri covers. I’ve not made any Japanese food at home before, but getting these has inspired me to try!

 

 

 

There was also some cute stationary in the box! Some paper sticky tabs, which I’m sure will come in handy at some point, these sorts of things always do! The stickers I’m going to save for when I make my next scrapbook, whenever that will be! I’m thinking of taking a leaf out of Chelsie’s (scrap)book and making one for my next holiday, whenever that will be! The next item was a pen, with a cute moon on the end! It’s a really cool pen, and nice to write with, so that’s a bonus!

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We got sweeties in our boxes too! These were peach flavour, which is one of my favourite flavours, but unfortunately, I couldn’t eat them as they contained gelatine, so I gave them to my parents to share. Their verdict was “weird”, I think in so far as the texture, rather than the flavour.

 

 

Finally, the loot box Gods smiled on me, and I got a plushie of my favourite Sanrio character, Pompompurin! He’s so cute and fluffy!

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I was really happy with my KawaiiBox! For a purchase I’d totally forgotten about, there were a lot of really cool items which I’m happy to own! Especially the Pompompurin plushie!

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May Purchases

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I know I said March was sad-time spending month, but honestly, it had nothing on May. Even sitting down to take the photos for this post, I couldn’t quite believe how much stuff there was. I guess I’m really seeing the benefit of not going out or having to pay for my commute to work in an increase in expendable income.

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I’ll start with the cutest of my purchases this month – three omanjuu of Akaashi, Bokuto and Yamaguchi from Haikyuu!!, and a small Bokuto plushie. I’ve banged on enough times about how much I love Haikyuu!!, and Bokuto and Akaashi are my two favourite characters, and I’ve mentioned previously that Yamaguchi is the character I most relate to in Haikyuu!!. I got these cuties from a shop called YYKawaii, which is where I get the majority of my anime merchandise from and I cannot recommend highly enough. They have really amazing customer service, and though they do sell through their website, their instagram is where most sales happen, so check that out if you want legitimate imported goodies from Japan.

Next up, I bought some books that aren’t manga! I really, really love The Hunger Games, so when this new novel came out, I had to get it. I’ve yet to read it, but I really like the concept of a prequel to find out about life in other districts before Katniss’ story, so hopefully it’s enjoyable. Off the back of the Percy Jackson Disney + series announcement, a lot of people were talking about how great the books are, and though they’ve always been on my radar, I’ve never got round to reading them. I found a great deal online, so I bought the full series to read (hopefully) before the series comes out!

IMG_7212As is standard, I also bought a buttload of manga. I bought myself a few volumes in series I’ve started collecting already; Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club, and Don’t Be Cruel. I’ve only read Don’t Be Cruel so far, and as it says on the cover, it’s a BL. It’s actually a really good one, and I’m really glad I started reading it! I also started buying two new manga; Classmates and For The Kid I Saw In My Dreams. I have read Classmates, only to realise that I have already read it (classic), but it’s still really enjoyable so I’m glad I bought it! I bought For The Kid I Saw In My Dreams as the mangaka also created Erased, which is one of my favourite anime, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this also!

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Surprise surprise, I also bought a bunch of blu-rays for my anime collection. Pictured here are the films I bought; My Neighbours The Yamadas and Ocean Waves for my Studio Ghibli collection, and Napping Princess just because!

 

 

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Finally, to cap off the month, I also bought some series on blu-ray. I’ve come to realise it’s important to watch things on streaming services when they are available, before they get taken off. Soul Eater and Seraph of the End were both on Netflix, and have now been taken off, so this was the only way for me to watch legally. I’m happy to own both as a lot of people have told me how great Soul Eater is, and these Seraph collectors editions are the nicest collectors editions I have ever seen, so make for great additions.

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Though I’ve watched it, Terror in Resonance also falls under the same category of no longer on Netflix. I loved the anime so much, I just had to buy it.

I also sprung for Rascal Dose Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai. It’s not one I’ve watched before, but I’ve heard good things and wanted to treat myself!

 

That wraps up the post for this month! I am determined to have a much more frugal June than I did May, so we’ll see how that goes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unboxing: May SoKawaii

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The theme for May’s SoKawaii box was ‘Cozy at Home’ – pretty fitting considering I have been stuck in mine since mid-March! I love getting subscription boxes, it really livens up my post – the majority of the time I don’t get anything, and when I do, I know what I’ve ordered, so to get something which is a total surprise is really exciting!

Once again, the SoKawaii box came out with everything laid out in pink tissue paper. I’ve said before, but I really love how SoKawaii pack their boxes. The visual impact is so strong, and it just makes it even more exciting, and makes me feel like the box was packed with care rather than hastily put together.

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The first item I pulled out was this really cute Animal Crossing notebook! I’ve been playing a lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons since I’ve been in lockdown, and I always appreciate a cute notebook. I’ve been using this one to try and organise my photos and keep track of which folders they’re in on my Mac! Not sure how succesfully, mind you, but it’s cute nonetheless!

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Also in the box was this cute Pikachu and Eevee organising rack. It’s the perfect colour for my bedroom so it’s in there at the moment, but it has nothing in it! It is a touch on the small side, so I’m struggling to think of what I can put in there. All of my toiletries and things like that are in my bathroom, otherwise the obvious choice would be things like cotton buds and cotton pads. I’ll think of something, I’m sure!

 

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Next up was this cute Rilakkuma pillow cover. It’s not really a pillowcase as it is open at the ends, but it’s still pretty functional. It’s made of a towelling material, so would be good for popping over your normal pillow if you’ve got damp hair or something like that – I’m very prone to going to bed with wet hair, so that’s what I’ll be using mine for!

 

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I also received this cable holder. I’m not sure if it’s a character, or just a random design as I’ve now thrown away the packaging – if you know, please tell me! I’m not sure what the function of cable holders are really, aside from the obvious, as I’ve never had any cable related issues! It’s still pretty cute, and doesn’t look obviously like something which I’m not using it for so I have it on my desk without cable!

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Finally I got this Hello Kitty plushie! Whilst it is very cute, I’m pretty gutted, as the other plushie option was Pompompurin who is my absolute favourite Sanrio character! By contrast, Hello Kitty is my least favourite, but I guess that’s the way it goes!

 

 

That was everything in my SoKawaii May box! Which item is your favourite? Mine is probably the Pikachu and Eevee storage rack!

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Happy anniversary to Culture Shack!

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Logging onto WordPress, I recently got a notification that Culture Shack turned 9 on the 24th May! 9 years is such an incredibly long time, and whilst I might not have the most consistent track record with posts, it has amounted to a fair few entries on the blog.

Whilst editing a bunch of posts to fit, I found it quite interesting to read my older posts and reflect on how things have changed. When the blog started, it was mostly a place to post reviews and other articles that I was writing for a variety of sites. Now, I write mostly for myself, and I write reviews for Push Square which I still cross-post here. I try to write a variety of content, from blog posts and unboxings, to reviews and listicles. I know I fail at this a lot, but it is something I’m actively working on.

Looking through old posts, it’s really interesting to track how my interests have changed. Of course, the biggest change has been me becoming interested in anime and manga, but you can almost chart this through my posts; a real divergence from TV and film, and a sudden appearance in mentions about anime and manga. I’ve obviously loved videogames all my life, but you can almost see me double down on this throughout the 9 years this blog has existed.

Reading through is really amusing to see how I’ve changed in some places. I cared enough about the How I Met Your Mother finale to write a whole blog post about it, but now I couldn’t tell you the last piece of live action TV that really affected me. It’s just the way interests and habits change, I guess, but it is a little hard to believe the same person as I am now wrote those earlier posts!

So, here’s to more posts! I’ll do my best to get a content together and finally have something that resembles a content schedule on this thing! Thanks for your support!

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Unboxing: April SoKawaii

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I’ve previously mentioned that I wasn’t going to buy any subscription boxes prior to my trip to Japan, and then the subsequent cancellation of the trip led to March “sad-time spending”. I decided during this period that I would buy myself a subscription box, which I felt would either cheer me up, or depress me further as it would remind me of what I was supposed to be experiencing. Just to double down on any potential pitfalls, I also opted for the SoKawaii box, as it had a theme of “Sakura”, and I was due to see the sakura blossoms during my trip.

The first thing that struck me was how cutely the box was packaged. My previous Yumetwins box was just the items in a box, which is totally fine, I didn’t have any packaging expections, but the SoKawaii box was cutely laid out with pink tissue paper and just had a more visual impact when I opened it. It instantly made me happy, and I was excited to unpack and see what I got.

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Item number 1 was this really cute Rilakkuma blanket. I’m not the biggest Rilakkuma fan, but this blanket is super soft. It’s so hard to take a photo of these blankets, I also struggled in my Christmas box, but this is it on my double bed, so it’s quite large! It also fits my colour scheme in my bedroom, albeit it’s a slightly darker shade of pink.

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The next item was a Cardcaptor Sakura keychain. I knew in advance that the box was coming with a CCS item, and to be honest, it almost stopped me from buying it because I’ve never seen CCS before. I went ahead as I have lots of friends who like it, so I figured I could gift the item to one of them, which is exactly what I’ve done (or will do once lockdown is over!). Still, it’s a really cute item, and it’s a shame I can’t appreciate it fully, but I’m sure its new owner will!

IMG_6758Next up was some sakura chocolate. The packaging is so cute, and totally my aesthetic. I’ve yet to try the chocolate, because I haven’t got round to translating the ingredients yet, and I have a lot of allergies and dietary requirements, so I can’t just trust that chocolate will be okay for me to eat and there’s no translation label. I’m also super fussy with food, so I’m not sure whether I’m looking forward to trying this or not! I guess it’s in keeping with my Japan trip, as I was going to force myself to try some new foods just for the experience!

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Item number four was this really cute bowl! It’s the perfect size for me to put little trinkets in, or little sweets and keep on my coffee table for guests.

 

 

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I also got this cute Pokémon figure with Plusle and Minun! It’s a stackable figure, so there are others to collect with different Pokémon on, and then they make up a larger tree. I’m glad I got Plusle and Minun, they’re probably up there with my favourite Pokémon, and there are plenty of worse options I could have got.

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And last but definitely not least, we have my favourite item this month – the sakura Cinnamoroll! He’s just so cute, and so soft! He matches the colour of my bedroom perfectly, so I have him in there hanging off my wardrobe door so I can see him every day, and every time I do he just makes me so happy!

 

 

I’m really happy with my SoKawaii box! It did the job of dulling the void I felt by having to cancel my trip to Japan, and I’m mostly happy with everything that I got (and have found a good home for the one item that I didn’t want to keep). I’d definitely get a SoKawaii box again, in fact I forgot to cancel the subscription, so I am getting a box this month too!