Bokksu Review – Prefecture Passion

The third and final box in my three month birthday Bokksu gift, November 2021’s theme was Prefecture Passion. The snacks in this box were from the widest range of locations so far, showing off lots of different regions in Japan. This box was also very sweet leaning in its snack selection, and still felt like it continued the autumnal theme of the previous box, Kansai Autumn, with apple, caramel and pie treats.

a double page leaflet explaining the theme of November 2021's Bokksu, Prefecture Passion
a two page leaflet showing where all the snacks in the November 2021 Bokksu, Prefecture Passion, are from

In November’s box, there were 13 different types of snacks – and including multiples, 22 items in total. There were three main savoury snacks; the Mike Popcorn: Yuzu Pepper, Karitto Crunchy Jaga Curry and the Yuzu Salt Koji Arare Rice Cracker (x3), for five savoury snacks total. That leaves 16 snacks in the sweet category, and one drink.

The Snacks!

Kisarazu blueberry Gummy – a single 40 gram resealable pack of soft gummies with a thick liquid centre. The gummies were bouncy and a little mochi like in texture, not super firm like a fruit pastille or gem. They were nice and sweet, with a pretty strong blueberry flavour. I got 10 in total in my pack. The map says these are from Tokyo.

a packet of blueberry flavoured gummy sweets next to a leaflet describing them
a single wrapped lemon soufflé cake next to a leaflet describing them

Yuzu Soufflé – a single wrapped cake slice with no given weight, but similar in size to previous cakes, just a few bites. Opening the little packet, the yuzu smell is lovely and intense. The cake is super light and springy, with a really enjoyable citrus flavour. There were tiny hard chunks of peel which make it more texturally interesting. Very enjoyable, and works really well as a quite petite snack, a much bigger slice would probably be less enjoyable since it’s so simple. Very classy.

Shinshu No Koibito x3 – a very unusual treat, presented in simple bright red wrapping – it was a boat shaped wafer biscuit filled with dried slivers of apple and a soft-ish caramel. The caramel apple flavour is delicious, you can really taste the apple. The texture is lovely too, both the wafer and filling are crispy and crunchy – really adding to the apple like experience. I’d love a whole bunch of these.

three individually wrapped apple and caramel crisp treats next to a leaflet describing them
two individually wrapped persimmon flavoured mochi next to a leaflet describing them

Dried Persimmon Mochi x2 – soft squishy mochi with no filling, bright orange in colour and a lovely persimmon flavour. You can buy persimmon here in the UK, and they have a lovely mild sweet flavour – the leaflet describes it as like honey and cinnamon. Real persimmons are sweet and very juicy if you get nice, ripe ones – honey isn’t a bad comparison, but they also remind me of pairs and melons. The mochi themselves were lovely and mildly sweet, with that familiar mochi texture.

Black sesame soft candy x3 – a small soft sweet flavoured with milk and sesame. Opening the packet, you get a strong pleasant sesame flavour and a small chewy sweet ball that is grey and speckled – I assume with ground sesame. It was nice and creamy alongside the prominent sesame flavour. I wouldn’t describe it as chewy like a toffee, it’s more like a piece of fudge. Tasty and unusual.

three individually wrapped soft black sesame seed sweets next to a leaflet describing them
a single large wrapped melon flavoured cake with a cream filling next to a leaflet describing them

Muskmelon Bouchée – a large split cake bun with a strong cantaloupe melon cream filling. The sponge was very fine textured, soft and bouncy. The leaflet described this as ‘bite sized’ but honestly it’s the biggest cake piece in the three Bokksu boxes I’ve had. Very enjoyable, tasty and moist.

Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Gomadare Mochi – another repeat, a Bokksu favourite with a new flavour. Mochi puffs are light, dehydrated mochi that disintegrate and dissolve as soon as you start to eat them. This time they were a lovely mild sesame flavour, pleasant and just a little sweet. I think I actually liked these more than the kinako because while those ones were sweeter I thought the flavour powder was a little too thick/strong. This time I feel like it was just right. The pack had no weight but there were six small puffs.

a packet of dried black sesame flavoured mochi next to a leaflet describing them
three packets of asuki matcha rice cakes next to a leaflet describing them

Matcha Azuki Crunch x3 – a small trio of snacks, with no given weight. Each one is a crunchy slice of bright green puffed rice and adzuki bean that mostly tastes like a matcha chocolate (white chocolate, most likely) mix is holding it together. It’s sweet and nice, I didn’t get a very strong matcha or adzuki flavour, but there was very good crunch texture.

Beniimo Purple Yam Pie – a single wrapped mini round pie with no weight. It’s a small pie, about the size of a cookie. The pastry was soft and flaky, you could see the layers in the cross section when you bit through. The filling was moist and sweet with a mild sweet potato flavour. In the UK I don’t think we sell specifically yams – I think sweet potatoes are the closest thing. The filling was a lovely bright violet, and the packaging was cute. A super fun and unusual item.

a single wrapped purple yam pie next to a leaflet describing them
a single large packet of yuzu pepper flavoured popcorn next to a leaflet describing them

Mike Popcorn: Yuzu Pepper – an impressively large 45 gram bag of yuzu pepper popcorn. It was a generous pack size even in the UK. The flavour was delicious – spicy and punchy, lingering on your tongue while also having that lovely floral citrus flavour of yuzu. A real novelty flavour of popcorn that I think would sell well anywhere, I’d eat these regularly. Very hard to resist eating the whole pack in one go – myself and my other half finished it off between us pretty quickly.

Karitto Crunchy Jaga Curry – a cute little ten gram pack of chip shaped rice crackers. These were again that familiar Japanese/chip shop curry flavour – very sweet and aromatically spicy. A nice little snack, I’d love to get more of these.

a packet of curry flavoured rice crackers next to a leaflet describing them
three individually wrapped yuzu salt crackers next to a leaflet describing them

Yuzu Salt Koji Arare Rice Cracker x3 – three individually wrapped small puffed rice crackers, with no printed weight. They smelt quite strong, citrus and floral and savoury all at once. They had a lovely, airy puffed crunch and a very strong yuzu and briny salt flavour. They almost taste a little seafood like, which I assume is the fermented rice/Koji flavour. They were very interesting and unusual, the packaging was fun and it was great to have something with such a strong flavour.

Uji Sencha green tea – a single wrapped pyramid style green tea bag with a total weight of 2 grams on the packet. A mild and almost savoury green tea. It’s delicious and simple and something I could drink everyday. Like most green teas you’re directed to brew in a fairly small amount of water – 180cc – for two to three minutes and enjoy without milk. I did add one sweetener to mine.

a single wrapped pyramid style uji sencha green tea bag next to a leaflet describing them

Final Thoughts

As mentioned in the opening, I am leaving Bokksu at this three month gift stage – it is lovely, and exciting, and every box has items that I’ve never had or even heard of before. I feel like this box might have been my favourite and it certainly had some of my favourite items in it – specifically the very flavourful Yuzu Pepper Popcorn, and the delightful Shinshu No Koibito. Winter and Christmas are pretty expensive times of year though, and I think after having it as a gift, right now a £30 ish a month subscription box might be a bit much just to have because. I hope to pick it up again in 2022 – and might even ask for it as a Valentines gift, and see what the service is like in Spring. I’m sure the Winter month boxes are lovely however – the next box teaser says the December box will be all about Hokkaido. Until next time!

a spread of the whole contents of the November 2021 Bokksu, Prefecture Passion

Bokksu Review – Kansai Autumn

My first ‘regular’ Bokksu was the October 2021 Kansai Autumn box, a lovely selection of autumnal snacks from what Wikipedia calls the “cultural center and the historical heart of Japan.” Essentially a lot of the big cities and large population centres are within this region. Specifically, I had many snacks from Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara as well as one snack each from Kanagawa and Ikaraki, the latter two being not really in the Kansai region.

You can check out the very first Bokksu, the special ‘Seasons of Japan‘ edition that I’ve also written about last month.

a double page spread leaflet explaining the contents of bokksu's october kansai autumn box

This box had a lot more sweet snacks overall, though they are all still relatively understated for sweets, many of them combining well with tea or coffee. Just like last time, everything in the box was delicious, and a fun experience.

The Snacks!

Handmade Fig Candy – Another fancy handmade hard sugar candy from Daimonji Ame Honpo, this time fig flavoured. The sweets were a very pretty mix of reds and greens and with the more vivid colours this time I feel like you could appreciate the lovely glass bead look. Fig feels like a pretty unusual flavour that you don’t see often, they were sweet and very enjoyable. Like last time it’s was a single resealable 30 gram bag containing seven hard sweets. The map shows these are from Kyoto.

a single pack of fig flavoured sugar candy next to a leaflet describing them
two matcha white chocolate sandwich cookies next to a leaflet describing them

Kyoto Matcha Waffle Sandwich – Next were two large (no weight on packet) individually wrapped sandwich cookies. The cookie part was thin, crisp and waffle/wafer like – like they’d been fried on a griddle or thin stroopwaffle like waffle pan. The matcha white chocolate filling was smooth and mildly sweet. Very tasty and a great sized treat to have with a coffee or tea. The map shows these are from Nara.

Bisco Soy Biscuits: Milk & Kinako – Three small packets with no printed weight, and each small pack contains two extra small cream sandwich biscuits. The whole biscuit had a mild kinako – roasted soy bean – flavour that is actually quite comforting and pleasant. The creamy filling didn’t have a very strong flavour. The biscuit had a nice crunchy dry texture like a rich tea biscuit. They were very mildy sweet and simple, and do admittedly feel like they’re more for kids than adults, but were still nice to try. The map shows these are from Osaka.

three milk and roasted soybean sandwich cookies next to a leaflet describing them

three curry flavoured puffed rice snacks next to a leaflet describing them

Otona No Curry Senbei – The first savoury snack of the box, three small individually wrapped rice crackers. There’s no weight but they were pretty small. These were nice and super crunchy, with a lovely rich and spicy curry flavour. I think to many in the UK Japanese curry reminds them of traditional chip shop curry, and for good reason. They were really lovely, and I would have liked ten more. I preferred these over the small Bicso Soy Biscuits, but not as much as the Mini Awa Okoshi rice crackers mentioned later in this review, these were all so similar in size it seemed reasonable to compare them. The map shows these are from Osaka.

Nara Wa Langue De Chat Matcha Cookie – A different brand of cat’s tongue this time around, though once again there were two individually wrapped cookies. The cookie parts were very crisp and crunchy sugar snap style, with a buttery flavour. Unlike the waffle sandwich cookie, the langue de chat filling was a much stronger ‘in your face’ matcha – it feels like a pure matcha paste rather than the previous matcha flavoured white chocolate, and has a slight bitter tea aftertaste. Very enjoyable and mature, and would indeed go well with tea. The maps shows these are from Nara.

two matcha sandwich cookies next to a leaflet describing them
a milk manju, a sweet pastry, next to a leaflet describing them

Milk Manju – This Bokksu contained two Manju – a small pastry with a filling that reminds me of the anpan from my previous box. The first was a creamy milk flavoured 100 gram individually wrapped Milk Manju. It was lovely, creamy sweet and comforting. The whole thing is soft and moist with the creamy bean paste filling. I really liked these and the packaging was cute. The map shows this was from Osaka.

Yaki-imo Manju – The second 100 gram individually wrapped Manju is a more unusual flavour – at least in the UK, of Yaki-imo or roasted sweet potato. I’m not sure I could describe the roasted sweet potato flavour very distinctly, the whole thing was sweet, and creamy and autumnal. Very nice. The map shows this second manju was also from Osaka.

a roasted sweet potato manju, a sweet pastry, next to a leaflet describing them
a packet of scallion rice crackers next to a leaflet describing them

Kujo Scallion Arare Rice Crackers – The second savory snack in this Bokksu was a single 20 gram packet of simple seasoned scallion – or spring onion to those of us in the UK – flavoured rice crackers. The appeal of these crackers is how simple they are; savory, salty, nice and crunchy and with that lovely tang of spring onion flavour. The map shows these are from Kyoto.

Setouchi Heart-Shaped Lemon Mini Pies – The largest item in this Bokksu, a pack of 8 individually wrapped mini lemon pastry’s. They were very light and crisp, made up of many, many layers of buttery flakey pastry like a cinnamon scroll pastry. The leaflet describes the Setouchi lemons as sweeter than regular lemons, and the flavour was a very delicious lemon curd like flavour rather than sharp tart lemon. Very enjoyable and cute! The map shows these are from Osaka.

a pack of lemon pastry swirls next to a leaflet describing them
a packet of takoyaki flavoured snacks next to a leaflet describing them

Umaiwa: Takoyaki Corn Puff – The third and final savory snack of this box, two large (20 grams each) bags of ring and octopus shaped puffed corn snacks. These were very light and crispy, with a satisfying sweet, savory okinomi sauce and seafood flavour. Very easy to eat the whole thing without noticing, dangerously tasty. The cute, colourful packaging was nice too. The map shows these are from Ibaraki.

Mini Awa Okoshi – The final set of many tiny individually wrapped snacks – three individually wrapped puffed rice snacks with no weight on the pack. They were very light but also very sugar shatteringly crunchy from the sugar the puffed rice and black sesame seeds are wrapped in. Sweet and satisfying, I really liked the stem ginger/raw grated ginger flavour – it’s very different from a simple ground ginger and is a real punchy flavour for a packaged shelf item, it’s still really fresh tasting. My favourite of the three tiny snack pack items! The map shows these are from Nara.

three sweet puffed rice cake bars next to a leaflet describing them
a single golden financier cake slice next to a leaflet describing them

Golden financier – Like the previous Bokksu, this was a single wrapped cake slice with no weight printed on the pack, but about the same size as most of the single serve treats, like a mid-sized cookie. It was a moist and yummy cake, with a simple nutty and buttery flavour. Very straight forward and enjoyable. The map showed this item was from Osaka.

Uji Matcha Cappuccino – And finally the box ended with a tea, this time a single 12 gram sachet of instant matcha cappuccino. I feel like it’s going to be a running theme now with Bokksu to have green teas that make me – not much of a green tea enthusiast – enjoy them. Very frothy and pre sweetened – like many instant sachet style drinks – but with a lovely sweet, savory green tea flavour. I wish there had been more than one satchet! The map shows this item was from Kanagawa.

a single sachet of uji matcha cappuccino next to a leaflet describing them

So there were 22 items in this Bokksu, with one of them being a large multipack admittedly, so count that as you will. With only three items being savoury and one drink this box really focused on the sweet side of Autumn, but then I think a lot of people love and crave sweet snacks at this time of year, so who can blame them? I did think there was still a lovely variety among the sweet snacks with things that I’ve never had before, and some items were are clearly Bokksu classics and favourites. I also really like that you get multiples of most items, making it easier to share them or just portion them out and make them last – it’s nice to get to try things more than once! My November box actually just arrived yesterday here – a little earlier than this box managed to arrive the previous month but I have also just been a little slow to get this review up! I really loved this box, it fit the season and I enjoyed every snack. Until next time!

the complete contents of the October 2021 bokksu kansai autumn

Bokksu Review – My First Month, Seasons of Japan

For my 32nd birthday, Peter of Andsobegins gifted me a three month Bokksu subscription since I’ve always been a little curious about it, and I do enjoy a nice subscription box! For reference, I have previously had a TokyoTreat subscription, and about three years of a GlossyBox subscription.

A snack filled cardboard box with a welcome card and booklet of contents

Three months seems like a really nice place to start since I’ll get to try the very first box, which is always the ‘Seasons of Japan’ selection everyone gets to try, and then I’ll get to see what a few normal seasonal boxes are like over September and October. All boxes come with a booklet covering the theme, each item (including allergens) and has a map so you can see where things are from. Bokksu really wants you to feel like you’re exploring and experiencing Japan.

A map showing where all the snacks contained within the box are from

As the name suggests, the ‘Seasons of Japan’ starter box contains a selection of snacks for each season. Spring is full of sweet, pink floral flavours and even the one mostly savoury snack is still relatively sweet. Summer is almost entirely salty and savoury with a lot of citrus to enjoy. Autumn is back to being mostly sweet with warm caramel, apple and chocolate flavours that are practically universal to the season. Finally the box ends in Winter with some savoury, some sweet and even some green tea to try. I suppose as a sort of comparison, the actual box is smaller than say, a TokyoTreat box, but really is jam packed with items, while each season has four different items, you get multiple of a lot of these for a total of 22 items in the box.

A double page spread explaining what flavours typify each season in Japan

A lot of the value of this box as well again over something like TokyoTreat is that I do feel that not only does it have a more mature snack selection, but it’s a more unique selection too! A lot of the snacks aren’t things I can just grab from my local Asian Supermarket. So while you can certainly break the monetary value of the box down over the number of snacks, I suppose that feels like it’s missing the point – you’re paying for a new and interesting experience which is a lot of fun after a year and a half of…not having a lot of new experiences due to the pandemic.

Onto the Snacks!

The four snacks of Spring were Mocchan Dango Mochi (x2), Stick Potato: Suppa Mucho Plum (x1), 20th Century Pear Langue de Chat (x2) and finally White Strawberry (x2) for a snack total of seven.

Mocchan Dango Mochi – There are two packs, each containing a trio of pink, white and green coloured mochi – a rice cake made from glutinous rice and then dusted with sugar. These were not flavoured at all – it’s all about that soft, pillow-y mochi texture! Otherwise they’re just a nice sweet treat. Each little pack has fun, simple and cute packaging and weighs 30 grams, ten for each mochi. The map shows these are from Aichi.

Two packets of mochi next to a leaflet describing them
A packet of pink potato chips next to a leaflet describing it

Stick Potato: Suppa Mucho Plum – This is a single large snack pack, weighing 40 grams, of thin fry shaped crisps or potato chips. They’re very small and thin chips, much thinner than any UK chip shaped crisps. These had such a very cool, interesting flavour – they manage to be savoury and salty and sweet and sour all at once, just entirely delicious and unique! The packaging is cute and pink and the flavours are citrus and floral. The map shows these are from Tokyo.

20th Century Pear Langue de Chat – You get two packs of single individually wrapped sandwich biscuits. Each sandwich is two super thin slightly crisp biscuits around a cream filling. The whole thing feels very grown up and classy, with a nice pear and white chocolate flavour, and an extremely subtle hint of cheese flavour and scent. The map shows these are from Tottori.

Two packs of biscuits next to a leaflet describing them
Two wrapped white chocolate strawberries next to a leaflet describing them

White Strawberry – These are a made just for Bokksu item and are just amazing. There are two packs of individually wrapped white chocolate infused strawberries. The strawberries are normal sized, with no weight on the packet. It is a very ‘must try for yourself’ experience – it’s like each strawberry has been freeze dried and then all the space that contained water has absorbed white chocolate instead. The strawberry isn’t chocolate coated – it IS the chocolate. I could eat 50 easily. Extremely dangerous. The map shows these are from Nagano.

The four Summer snacks were Edamame Senbei (x2), Seaweed Tempura: Setouchi Sudachi (x1), Yuzu Sake Candy (x1), and Dondon Yaki (x2) for 6 snacks in total.

Edamame Senbei – There are two packs of a single large cloud and/or pea pod shaped cracker, with no weight on the packet. These crackers are puffed with a small empty pocket in the middle, very crunchy and satisfying. Each cracker has large edamame bits baked in and the whole thing is coated in an addictive soybean powder – very unassuming looking but actually delicious. Very savoury, salty and a little sweet. The map shows these are from Saitama.

Two packed of baked edamame crackers next to a leaflet describing them
One packed of battered fried seaweed chips next to a leaflet describing it

Seaweed Tempura: Setouchi Sudachi – A single large snack pack, weighing 100 grams, of tempura battered and fried seaweed squares. These are very deliciously seaweed-y, briny, salty, crunchy goodness. I could easily eat my own body weight in these things. The map shows these are from Hiroshima.

Handmade Yuzu Sake Candy – This is a small resealable pack of hard sugar candy flavoured with Yuzu and Sake. The total weight is 30 grams and the bag I received contained seven candies. They are a very subtle and enjoyable hard candy, with a mild citrus and pear like flavour if you have no frame of reference for Yuzu or Sake. The map shows these are from Kyoto.

A packet of yuzu and sake hard candy next to a leaflet describing it
Two packets of baked teriyaki flavoured snacks next to a leaflet describing them

Dondon Yaki – Summer wraps up with two small 12 gram each packets of fried puffed snacks. The art on the packet is super cute. This snack has the same irresistible savory, sweet and salty combination as many of the other snacks included in Bokksu that makes them so very dangerous – it’s easy to eat all of it before you know it. I’m not sure I’d describe the teriyaki flavour as that strong but they were still a delight. The map shows these are from Ibaraki.

Autumn‘s snacks are Kobocha Pumpkin Anpan (1x), Matcha Chocolate Stick Cake (1x), Black Sesame Taiko Kumamon Design (x1), and Aomori Apple Caramel Sable (x1) for the smallest snack season total of four.

Kabocha Pumpkin Anpan – A single small – with no weight given, but it’s about small cookie sized – bread/cake pastry filled with white bean paste and pumpkin. It was very tasty, and autumnal, while not too sweet. and just a nice simple comforting snack all round. The map shows these are from Hokkaido.

A wrapped pumpkin and white bean paste cake next to a leaflet describing it
A wrapped matcha green tea and dark chocolate cake slice next to a leaflet describing it

Matcha Chocolate Stick Cake – Another single wrapped cake slice, this time it’s a small finger sized slice of matcha green tea and chocolate cake. It was surprisingly soft and moist for something sealed and shipped around the world. The matcha favour is more subtle than the chocolate but is still definitely there, I feel like I get it mostly in the after taste when the chocolate flavour has faded. Otherwise it was very chocolate-y and also not super sweet. The map shows these are from Osaka.

Black Sesame Taiko Kumamon Design – A single pack weighing 25 grams of pressed seed and nut disc. The most savoury snack this season but it does still have some sweetness. It’s like a sesame seed rice cake – with a very nutty, mildly bitter savoury flavour and a little sweetness from the sugar to hold it together. Very interesting as a not sweet, sweet treat, and the packaging was super cute. The map shows these are from Kumamoto.

A wrapped black sesame seed snack cake next to a leaflet describing it
A wrapped apple caramel cookie next to a leaflet describing it

Aomori Apple Caramel Sable – A single 100 gram wrapped toffee apple cookie like biscuit. It has a soft uniform texture with a slightly squidgy centre that is a darker toffee colour. The whole biscuit had a subtle apple flavour, backed up by toffee/caramel – a very lovely comforting autumnal experience. The map shows these are from Aomori.

And finally Winter contained Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Kinako (x1), Ashigara Green Tea Aranami Kurofuji (x2), Puku Puku Tai: Chocolate (x1), and Uni Rice Cracker (x1) for a snack total of five.

Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Kinako – A single large bag of sort of dehydrated mochi? Like a lot of things in this box, this snack is a strange and interesting new experience. They are soft puff balls that seem a little crisp at first but basically dissolve and disintegrate as soon as they come into contact with your mouth/saliva. Subtly sweet, and with a heavy, heavy coating of roasted soybean powder that gives them an extra nutty and savoury dimension. The map shows these are from Niigata.

A single packet of dehydrated mochi next to a leaflet describing them
Two packets of green tea next to a leaflet describing them

Ashigara Green Tea Aranami Kurofuji – Two individually wrapped pyramid style green tea bags with a brew time of 40 seconds up to personal preference. As a not massive fan of green tea, I actually quite enjoyed this tea. The flavour is pleasant, light and kind of savoury but in a mild way. The brewed tea is a very pretty vibrant green and was wholly enjoyable to drink. The map shows these are from Kanagawa.

Puku Puku Tai: Chocolate – A single wrapped chocolate wafer in the shape of a red snapper weighing 16.5 grams. It smells deliciously chocolate-y as soon as you open the packet. While the leaflet describes it as airy chocolate mousse, mine had sadly been smushed flat in shipping so it was just a thin layer of chocolate more like a chocolate bar than a mousse. It had a lovely chocolate flavour with the nice contrasting texture of the wafer on either side. Like a lot of Japanese confections it isn’t actually super sweet, but this is to its credit. The packaging is super cute with striking orange, white and gold colours. The map shows these are from Aichi.

A single wrapped chocolate wafer treat next to a leaflet describing it
A single packet of rice treats next to a leaflet describing it

Uni Rice Cracker – And finally, a single large packet of savoury rice crackers. There were about eight or so large round crackers meant to evoke a sea urchin. Flavour wise they’re salty, savoury and mildly fishy/seafoody. Overall a light and simple snack. The map shows these are from Osaka.

A few words on Cost/Price

Bokksu comes in a variety of price points, like a lot of subscription services that all depend on how much money you can put up right away. If you can pay up front each box only costs $39.99 – this is £28.90 per box at time of writing – but you have to be able to pay the full twelve month $479.40 (£346.44) sum up front to get that per box price. There is a six month option of $42.95 (£31.04) per box which is $257.70 (£186.23) up front. There is a three month option of $44.95 (£32.48) per box which is $134.85 (£97.45) up front. These two options could be the most popular, as they seem like fairly reasonable gifts for close loved ones. And finally, you can pay $49.95 (£36.10) rolling each month if you like the month to month flexibility. I can absolutely see saving $10 or about £7.20 per box being really worth it if you really liked the service or were sure the person you were getting really liked the service. You’re saving £86.40 a year, which is pretty close to the cost of a three month subscription, and definitely covers a free box a year even just using the full monthly cost. This makes it pretty comparable to other subscription service savings for getting a whole year.

The other important thing to note cost wise against Bokksu’s main competition TokyoTreat is that during the pandemic they removed the free shipping option for most and then I think all countries, meaning that while their box on face value is cheaper on every tier – their per month rolling is $35 (£25.29) and a whole year is $378 (£273.16) up front, that doesn’t include shipping, which is either $10.50 (£7.59) or $12.50 (£9.03) a month extra, every month. You can find the shipping information on ( Important! Major Shipping Method Updates!).

For me in the UK the shipping is $12.50 meaning really the rolling box price is $47.50 (£34.32) making them pretty comparable in price. I don’t know how fair it is to judge TokyoTreat for their shipping policy, I do assume they’re a bigger company than Bokksu so maybe they should be able to absorb that extra cost themselves but who knows. Bokksu has no hidden extra shipping cost that displays after you sign in – you CAN pay for extra insurance, and like TokyoTreat used to do, this extra cost is entirely optional. I didn’t pay it, and got my box fine.

Final thoughts for now

I really enjoyed this first month of Bokksu, I do think you get a more mature premium snack experience with snacks I couldn’t really access outside of just…being in Japan. Whatever your feelings on the cost, it is a new and interesting experience, I loved everything in the box. I liked that a lot of the sweet snacks were not overly sweet, and the interesting range in products. It also has that greyer area in terms of value in that as this was a gift, I don’t think I can make a fair or fairer call on is it good value. I do think gifts can be nice in that it’s something you wouldn’t get yourself or feel like you could justify getting yourself. If you wanted a cheaper monthly treat in the UK there are so many options out there, it all really depends on your budget, and what you want.

I am definitely looking forward to the next box!

Cinematic Horror at Gamescom

I just wanted to do a brief aside about two video game previews we had at Gamescom 2014.

First off we have the wonderfully scary and interesting looking P.T demo (which we played on the PS4) for the newly revealed Silent Hills from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro using the Fox Engine (it’s gorgeous). It’s a game myself and Peter were never 100% confident would ever exist, a new Silent Hill that actually looks like it has some money, care and sense behind it. Obviously, it’s important to stress that P.T was just a demo, and does carefully state that it will not have anything to do with the main game, this reminds me in many ways of the Quantic Dream tech demo that came out before Heavy Rain, way back when in 2006.

And secondly we have ‘Until Dawn’ from Supermassive Games, which uses the also new and shine-y Killzone Shadow Fall engine, and also boasts some big names in its voice/motion capture cast. I actually quite like that it has a slasher movie feel to P.T’s higher end quality. They are both very different takes on the horror genre.

Most importantly I wanted to talk about the cinematic quality. It’s a really interesting shift we’ve been seeing in the video game industry which I think is a great indicator of how serious the industry is now – the big titles haven’t been about kids and family fun for a long time, but about high end design and serious stories. I like seeing the motion capture and care and how they’re starting to get proper actor billing in games, such as in Beyond: Two Souls big casting, all of L.A. Noire and so on and so on. Both these games have this, with proper actors and people involved in making them who also make films. So we’re seeing games that are becoming more ‘Interactive Drama’ in the good sense – a fully fleshed out game that has had care taken with its writing and acting as well as its engine and game play mechanics – rather than one focused on at the expense of another and we pretend that that’s fine because it’s just a game, the whole experience is very well made because these things have such big budgets now.

So, that’s all I wanted to say for now, it’s very exciting to see these kinds of story and genre driven games coming out, and how much horror is still being a more popular genre.

GlossyBox July 2014

I’m going to skip the GlossyBox introduction this week, as I’ve already done it, if you’re interested refer to the First Impressions post.

My July box is here, it’s the Stars and Stripes edition this month with lots of American goodies. This month the focus is less on the service in general, and more on the individual products, so here’s a quick unboxing picture set, mostly because I like how they look, and then I’m going to get more in detail about the products I received. As mentioned last time, there is now no GlossyBox magazine, as it’s now all digital, but we do still get the little card with information on it.

July GlossyBox

This month promised at least 4 full sized products on the website, and wonderfully…luckily…whichever word you want to use, all five of my box items are full size.

First off is a product everyone is supposed to receive – Bellapierre Cosmetics Ltd Mineral Lipstick. Mine is the shade ‘Ruby’, which is a bright, bold red. There isn’t much in the way of extra packaging or information on the actual lipstick, just addresses, weight (3.5g), and the shelf life (24 months). Bellapierre is our first American brand and is part of a larger company The Exite Group Inc in Los Angeles, California, though they do have a European address too, and are available online.

From the little card description the impression I get is this lipstick is supposed to be bright and long lasting while also being good for your lips, as it’s enriched with vitamins. It’s a nice, rich, thick consistency that’s on the shinier side, but by no means a high gloss finish. I get the feeling you could put it on in differing thicknesses and/or paired with a lip gloss to achieve different looks.

Lipstick in the July GlossyBox

Would I buy it full price? Honestly, probably not. But that’s more to do with the shade rather than the product quality. I tend to stay away from bold lip colour, and focus on having bolder eyes. But then this box is at least partially about trying new things so maybe it will be good to leave my makeup comfort zones – I’m going to try and use it at least.

Price: Full item (3.5g) £20 / from Bellapierre

Next I have the ABSOLUTE New York Perfecting Eyeshadow Primer. Like most primers it is a pale pink/peach colour that fades as you blend it in where you want to prime for makeup. Again there is no extra packaging, but the label is more informative, with addresses, weight (7.9g) and shelf life (12 months) – as well as ingredients. The company/brand is actually Nicka K New York, and is an American only brand, with no European availability usually. It seems like a smaller, lesser known brand and generally the prices of their other cosmetics aren’t expensive looking either.

The primer is oil free which is a great bonus to me, as I have oil prone skin and like to use mostly oil free makeup. It’s a pretty straight forward product that’s supposed to make your eye area smoother and less red, if you choose to wear it on it’s own, and will also make your eyeshadow last longer and wear better. Against my last primer (Urban Decay Potion) it’s pretty comparable, working straight away to make the area look nicer, and then the eyeshadow look nicer. It has the same type of applicator I think most primers have, the slanted sponge thing on a stick.

Primer in the July GlossyBox

Excuse the blueness/darkness of my under eyes, this was done with no other makeup.

Would I buy it full price? Like last time, with products that aren’t easy to get in the UK, it is a bit of a moot point. For the price it is a great primer, and I’ll be using the whole thing. What I suspect will happen in the future is that I’ll buy a bigger, more general purpose primer, such as the Revlon PhotoReady primer, and use it where I need it.

Price: Full item $4.99 (converted to £2.92 using Google) (7.9g) /

Next up is the Carmex lip balm. This is a very basic seeming item, as it’s a very simple petroleum based lip balm. It did come with full packaging this time, so we have lots of extra information. There is a little history about the product, it’s a fairly old brand – since 1937 – originally in Wisconsin and is now readily available outside America. I’ve walked past it a number of times in Boots, but never actually tried one. You also get directions, ingredients, addresses, weight (7.5g) and shelf life (12 months).

It looks slightly yellow toned in the pot, but it’s actually clear. It has a thin, slightly oily/waxy feel to it, which I’m not a huge fan of – but in terms of how lip balms actually work to protect your lips is pretty much necessary to create a barrier between your skin and the wide world. It has a very distinct smell, which is sort of citrus vanilla and a little bit like Vicks Vapour Rub interestingly (my other half says it smells like boot polish.) Weirdly enough it contains Salicylic acid, spotted in a bunch of stuff recently, which has antibacterial and pain relief properties.

Balm from the July GlossyBox

Would I buy it full price? I don’t see why I wouldn’t to be honest. I’ve tried many different types of lip balm: Nivea, Lush, Palmers, and it certainly compares. It doesn’t specifically say it’s SPF like others I have, though it does mention wearing it in good or bad weather, which would be the only niggle for me.

Price: Full item £2.69 (7.5g) / from

My fourth item is the Mary Kay Cosmetics Lash Love Mascara. It is described as a volumising mascara that also conditions your lashes with vitamin E. Not only is this a full sized item, but it also comes boxed and with a small leaflet. It isn’t a brand that I’ve ever heard of, but that’s mostly been the case this month – the company was founded and still has its headquarters in Texas. On the packaging we have ingredients, description, addresses, weight (8g), shelf life (6 months), and a printed expiration date as well. This line is available in many countries, including the UK.

The colour I received is ‘I heart Black’, and is a very strong black. It has a good sized, thick tube that’s easy to hold, and is very slightly ergonomic. The wand inside is the rubber/silicon type with the shorted style bristles that I actually quite like, and it has a flexible neck – which is something I’ve never tried before again. It’s quite easy to put on, and does make the lashes look longer and volumised. It is very slightly clumpy, but looks nice overall. It’s also a non waterproof mascara, and washes off very well with my Boots makeup remover – a good thing too, as while I like makeup to have staying power, it needs to come off easily too.

Mascara in the July GlossyBox

Would I buy this item full price? For the price, and compared to other mascaras I own probably not to be honest. I can get something comparable for much cheaper. Added to this, the general advice I’ve read elsewhere online – that your mascara is an item to not feel guilty over saving money on, as this makes it more disposable. Mascaras actually have pretty short shelf lives and you need to be careful it’s not being used when it’s dry, gone off, and or has the risk of irritating your eyes. So even a 20, 30, or 40 pound mascara should only last you a few months.

Price: Full item £16 (8g) / from

Finally, I received Broadway Nails imPRESS Press On Manicure. This is also a full item with full packaging. Press on nails are essentially a variant of fake nails wherein instead of a set of nails and a bottle of glue, each nail has adhesive already on it. You uncover and press to your nails. They are actually complete, plastic like nails, rather than a nail sticker more like a nail wrap. Like all our other items, it’s American based, though very widely available in other countries, including the UK. It was a little harder to find anything out about the brand, but I finally discovered its parent company is KISS USA, which produces a variety of different makeup and nail lines.

You actually get twenty four nail covers, two sets of twelve in the same shade, mine is ‘So, So Stellar.’ This is nice, as you can try and get the best fit for your nails, as well as practice with the first pair and wear the second if it’s your first set, or have two sets if otherwise. The box claims they will last upto a week when applied well, won’t damage your nails, and are easy to remove. It has both written and picture instructions on the packet, as well as a QR code linking directly to a YouTube video showing you how to do it as well, which is a nice touch.

The nails are contained within the nail polish bottle like case, which is nice and compact so it’ll keep everything together without being a pain to store. Alongside that you get a single nail prep sachet and a tiny emery board. It would have been nice if there were two prep sachets, one for each of the two sets of nails, but the main ingredient is Isopropyl alcohol, which is an alcohol based solvent, so nail varnish remover will do in a pinch.

Nails in the July GlossyBox

Would I buy this item full price? Again, honestly I’m not sure I would – I’ve never really been a fake nail person. But these are relatively inexpensive for two separate uses, and nice to have a try. I’m viewing it more as a fun to try item than anything else, and I will give them a go.

Price: Full item £7.99 / Roughly £3.99 per set (though some colours are £5.99) / from

So, it’s pricing and final verdict time. Overall, I recieved 5 full sized items, for a total retail value of £49.60. All of the items are nice quality and I will use them, though perhaps only two or three would I actually buy for myself or buy again. On the face of it there isn’t a lot in actual size/weight for your money (the total value, not the subscription), and I suppose part of this is because I tend to lean towards more value or drugstore type products that just do. I do think it has been worth it in terms of value for money compared to the subscription price paid.

I don’t actually have nails selected on my beauty profile so it would be nice to not receive a nail item next time, but it’s very understandable that it’s the luck of the draw in terms of the low price paid. I’ll keep with it, and see what I get next time.

Quickie Book mentions

So, I’m actually terribly behind on my GoodReads challenge of reading a book a week for the whole year to read a total of 52 books this year. Last year I managed it pretty well, reading a total of 64 books by the end of it. Whereas as of this article I’ve only read 13 book-books this year – only 25% of the whole target. I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to catch up to be honest; there’s just been a bunch of other stuff going on.

The reason I mention book-books is because I actually read a lot online: news, articles, people website posts, reviews, lots and lots of FanFiction. I still count all that as real reading – I’m not sure why you wouldn’t – I just still have a great fondness for reading a physical book, and I love using my local library. (free books!)

So I wanted to quickly mention what I’ve read recently, and what I’m reading.

First of is ‘Why Do You Overeat? When all you want is to be slim’ by Zoe Harcombe – in brief, terrible. But not just terrible, deceptive. It has some really good points about how things work, and the diet industry, and what doesn’t work. But the writer then devolves into the usual worrying diet advice. ‘You can’t eat any x.’ In this case it’s carbohydrates. I should eat fat and protein. This isn’t true. Looking at the book as a whole as opposed to the diet advice, it’s also not fantastically written in the end. It has a very strong beginning, but then repeats itself over and over. It also has things like a whole chapter devoted to simply listing all the essential vitamins and minerals, which just feels like filler material. I’m assuming the problem would have been, properly edited; the book would have been too short. Ah well.

Next is ‘The Woman Upstairs’ by Claire Messud – again in brief, interesting, and then good. It’s one of those strange ‘about someone’s life in general’ type of book that isn’t really about any one thing (other than mostly the main character I suppose) and I’m never sure what genre to put it in. The books about art in the background, but mostly it’s about the main characters possibly (probably) unhealthy relationship with a family that moves to where she lives for a year. It has a great ‘voice’ throughout the book, in that it’s written from the character’s perspective, who is at times angry, strange, contrary, worrying etc. I do like this style when it’s done well; it gives the character real life. I’m not sure how much I was expecting the end revelation, but I liked it, and the book overall.

Right now I’m reading The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, and from the first chapter I’ve read I like it so far. It’s a science fiction/fantasy mix in genre almost, and so far has reminded me a bit of The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan. I think I’ll enjoy it. I have a bunch of other books bookmarked and noted down that I still want to read this year as well, so hopefully it’ll go well. Until next time.

GlossyBox June 2014 – First month first impressions

I’ve been tempted for quite a while now to take the plunge, so to speak, and buy a box subscription of some kind. They’ve been around for quite a while now, and in brief, you can pay a monthly fee, and someone will send you a box full of stuff. Any stuff. You can get subscriptions to snacks, cake, tea, cooking ingredients, alcohol, and finally various types of beauty products.

A beauty box subscription is finally what I settled on, and GlossyBox seemed to have more of the things that I suspect I would use, since I felt BirchBox was aimed at an older audience than the type of stuff that I like, and Love Lula is more beauty care style products rather than makeup – which was what I was more interested in at the moment.

For GlossyBox each month you pay a £10 charge for the box, plus £3.25 for shipping, so in total £13.25. There are lower prices available, the lowest being £8.50 per month plus Shipping (a total of £11.75) but this lower tier requires you to sign up for a 12 month contract, and I like the freedom of canceling and renewing when I like.

There are a few other ways you can save money or get more for your subscription each month, as GlossyBox has both a Refer a Friend program and a Loyalty Points program, but I haven’t tried those yet.

Under the cut will be the unboxing and reviews.

Unboxing Photos of the GlossyBox


So here’s the unboxing. It arrived in a very neat package, just the right size for the box inside. It isn’t small enough to fit through the letterbox, but it is securely tracked which is always a good thing. Inside the box is quite literally a glossy box (I know, the bad jokes) of pretty sturdy cardboard type material, as far as I’ve seen of other people’s boxes, the design each month is different, so I suspect you could view them as collectable. They’re certainly a good enough quality, and arrived completely undamaged – so you could reuse it quite easily. I’m personally very fond of re-using stuff, even packaging – I make enough waste as it is.

Inside there’s a small magazine, which funnily enough is now the last physical copy of the GlossyBox magazine they’ll be doing, as they’re moving it to a digital magazine format. It’s a little thing, only 8 double sided pages in A5 size, but it’s well printed. Inside is the usual general beauty magazine type fair, ‘buy these products’ and ‘advice from this beauty person’. I do think it’s interesting they’re axing the physical copy, as Boots has also recently started a digital copy of the Boots beauty magazine (though the physical copy of that still exists.) Alongside that there’s a small printed sheet telling you exactly what’s in your box, how to use it, where it’s from, and how much it’s worth. Out of the two it’s probably the more useful.

Then we have the very nicely and neatly packaged products.

Products inside

I’m not going to go too in depth about everything, as I’ve only had it for a short while, but here’s a quick look at what I received.

nailgirls – 3 in 1 base, topcoat, & nail strengthener : It’s an all around clear nail polish that looks like it covers pretty much everything, all you’d need is some nail colour, if you even wanted to bother with that. It’s listed as not a full size product, as it’s 10ml rather than the full 15ml, but to me it’s a very nice size, so I’d call it a nearly full sized item. It’s a nice what-you’d-expect consistency and dries quickly.

Would I buy it full price? Honestly, I tend to gravitate more towards value for money style products and I know there are plenty of drugstore beauty price level equivalents – so while it is nice, I probably wouldn’t, though I will finish the one I received.

Price: Full item £13.50 / for the size I got £9 / from

got2b – Rise’n’Shine souffle : This is a full sized Schwarzkopf hair product. It’s aim it to add texture, volume and shine to hair. It has a thick whipped consistency and smells very strong, but in a nice way – the scent is described as Jasmine. I like that it’s a little pot style one, that you use your hands to apply, as this is the format I’m more used to. Rubbing it on to see how it fairs against my flyaways, it does well, but leaves a really nasty hand reside feeling. Easily washed off of course.

Would I buy it full price? If it’s any good on a full try I might actually consider trying it out more, as it basically does what an equivalent product I have does ( Bed Head Small take – thickening and volume) but cheaper.

Price: Full item £4.07 / from

Teeez Trend Cosmetics – Beautiful Flat Stiff Brush : Makeup brushes are something that I don’t actually have a lot of, and could probably use more of. Teeez is a brand from the Netherlands, and it’s a really lovely eyeshadow brush. It’s nice, full sized, and feels solid. The bristles are described on the packaging as ‘natural hair’  though of what I couldn’t tell you, and are thick and soft. The thing I actually like most about it is the art on the brush, it’s very pretty – though I suppose not  that important to how it actually works.

Would I buy it full price? I’m not sure I’m actually able to purchase this brush or brand in the UK anyway, so I suspect it’s a moot point, though I do need to buy more brushes, and have been looking at the Real Techniques line. I will use this brush I’ve been given.

Price: Full item €19 (£15.14 using google) /

Roger&Gallet – Fleur de Figuier discovery ritual : This product is really the only one in the whole box that I’d genuinely view as ‘sample sized’ – it’s a single use sample each of the Fleur de Figuier line’s shower cream, body lotion, and fragrance water (which I think means it’s more like a cheaper body mist/spritz than actually like a full purfume). I haven’t yet tried the shower cream or body lotion – I’ll be using them in the bath next time I bathe – but I did use the fragrance water. It’s all supposed to have the same smell, which is a very nice, slightly musky, sweet fruit fragrance.

Would I buy it full price? It’s a very nice smell, but not the type I usually go for, which is floral, musky, spicy, or a mixture of those three. I probably wouldn’t get it again.

Price: Full item £9.50 for the shower lotion (£0.47 proportionally) / £13 for the body lotion (£0.65) / £32 for the fragrance (£0.48) /

So Susan Cosmetics – Universal Blush : Another full sized product. While I was wary at first about receiving a blush, as it’s a makeup item I tend not to use very much at all (I go pink cheeked very easily), this has turned out to be my favourite item of the lot. First off it’s a very ethical style beauty product –  the back lists it as being mineral oil free, phthalate free, animal by-product free, fragrance free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, cruelty free, and made with fruit oil. That’s quite a long list I realise. The little beauty magazine does have a page featuring the products, which talks about the creator wanting to make beauty products that were good for you first and foremost.

It’s also the best kind of makeup in my opinion, in that it’s clever makeup. Like the foundation I have, it’s a colour changing product. It’s supposed to perfectly match your skin. It’s quite a shock when you first put it on as it looks so dark, but very quickly it turns to a better shade. It has a little shimmer in it, but not a huge amount – the edge of your cheeks/cheekbones just catches and reflects a little light. You also only need to use a very small amount (or I do, as I don’t like a full blush look) so I think it will last a fair while. I’m pretty impressed by it.

Would I buy it full price? I do have a few on the expensive side brands that I like (Benefit and Urban Decay) but So Susan Cosmetics may be joining that list.

Price: £18 /

Close up of some products


So, this was my very first month, and I’m pretty happy to be honest. While it hasn’t made me want to buy all the things I received, I’ll certainly use them all. I’m going to keep with GlossyBox for now, and see if I like the next few months before I decide I want to keep it long term. GB has already announced that next month will be Stars & Stripes/American themed, so that looks nice.

Finally, the full value of my items was £47.81. Do I think it was worth what I paid? Yes, very probably. I like the idea of trying new items, and items I wouldn’t be able to get where I live, and it takes a lot of the effort of that out, for a small monthly fee. It’s also nice to get something in the post. The only pinch of salt, I suppose, to bear in mind is that these boxes are probably supposed to make you want to buy more products from brands that you are sent, though I am not too easily swayed I suspect.

Until next time.