Showing posts with label Japanese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japanese. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Skoshbox Review

I was delighted recently to find an email in my inbox asking me if I would like to receive a box of Japanese goodies from a new subscription service in the US called Skoshbox.

Skoshbox is a company founded by two close friends from childhood who have lived in both Japan and the US throughout their lives. Raised by Japanese mothers and brought up on Japanese snacks, video games, and comfort food, they noticed a severe lack of variety and accessibility to affordable Japanese items in the US. Out of this they created Skoshbox - a monthly subscription service that will deliver a variety of new and quircky snacks to your doorstep.

They hand pick every item that goes into the box, because it is important to them that each item reflects the Japan they know and love so much.

The subscription service is priced at $12 which includes shipping. At the moment it is available within the US only, but according to their Facebook page, they are working on bringing Skoshbox to the international community as well.

For my readers who live in the US I have a special promo code that you can use at checkout which will entitle you to a FREE mystery snack included in your box. Just type the code TASTYJP05.
The code is valid until July 15th 2013 which is the cut-off date for ordering the first box. (Unfortunately because I live in Australia, my parcel took quite a while to arrive so my readers will have less time to use the code.)

I've looked for information on the website and Facebook page as to why Skoshbox is named that. Where did the name come from? I can't find any info but I can only assume it comes from the Japanese word "sukoshi" - meaning "a little bit" because the parcel that came in the mail was filled with lots of little bits and pieces.

When I opened the box, I noticed that it was very professionally packed. There was a postcard that greeted me, which had all the snacks listed on the other side in English. The white tissue paper wrapped around the snacks was a nice touch and it made it feel like I was getting a gift.

Even though the parcel was quite small, it was filled to the brim with a variety of snacks which gave me the feeling of receiving a lot. I knew all the snacks in the box, they are my husband's childhood favourites.

The one thing I observed though is that if you can't read Japanese, then you wouldn't know what snack is which, just by reading the postcard alone. In my opinion, the postcard needs an image of the snack next to each listing. Otherwise, customers will have to find out purely by a process of elimination. 

There was a total of 14 items in the box. 13 of which were edible. When my Japanese husband saw what was in the box he exclaimed "natsukashii" (nostalgic) because these are the snacks he grew up eating, and some of them he still eats now, even though we are in Australia.

My husband and 2 year old son joined me for this review, purely because we all love Japanese snacks and they were hanging around watching me so I had to invite them to join. ;)

We started off with the Senbei (rice cracker) which was soy sauce flavour. There were two crackers in the pack and they are supposed to be "soft" senbei (easy to bite into), but they were quite hard. I thought maybe they were a bit stale. The soy sauce flavour was hard to detect, my husband and I first thought that it was salt or salad flavour because we could only smell the soy sauce. The cracker itself was quite salty. None of us were very big fans of this senbei sadly.

Kaki no Tane
There were two small packs of Kakipi, and my husband and I had one pack each since my son has a nut allergy. We both felt there were too many peanuts in the pack. Usually (and this is just personal preference) we like to eat 2 or 3 hot crackers with one peanut, but each pack seemed to have a high ratio of peanuts to crackers, meaning when we had finished the crackers there were still peanuts left. If we ate the crackers and peanuts together, then the spiciness of the crackers was mellowed out by the peanuts.

Marble Chocolate
The packaging was very cute and my son made a grab for it straight away. We all liked the crispy shell and the chocolate inside had a very strong cocoa flavour. Some of the chocolates had a picture of a cow on the outside so we felt lucky, because they are rare.


Koala's March
The outside of this packet is also very cute and shows pictures of Koala's that may show up in your pack indicating you are "lucky". Unfortunately I got no such characters, or if I did, I couldn't tell because the insides were broken. This happens sometimes and because it came such a long way, it can't be helped. We found that the shell was very crunchy and nice but the chocolate had an odd flavour, like it was old. My son made a swipe for this packet too!

Umaibo Cheese
Umaibo is a long tubular corn snack, similar to what Aussies would know of as a "Cheezel" but sweeter. This was broken into 4 pieces inside the pack but I have found them to be somewhat fragile in the past, so it's no wonder. It's probably not a good snack to send internationally because it is easy to break. The flavour was quite cheesy but it also had a sweetness that Western savoury snacks don't have. We all enjoyed this one!


 Umaibo Mentaiko (Fish Roe)
I have to admit, I am not a fan of seafood, but my husband loves mentaiko. I was not looking forward to trying it but was pleasantly surprised. There wasn't too much seafood smell or flavour and to me this could have been bbq for all I knew. We all liked it but preferred the cheese. My son chomped the last half of the stick all by himself!

Haichu Strawberry
How to split this candy three ways was our difficulty, however we managed and liked it. It was very mini indeed, I would have liked a couple of each flavour in the box. The strawberry flavour was very light. The candy was very chewy and stuck to my teeth.


Haichu Melon
This was green and white in colour and tasted like rock melon. The flavour was very strong and reminded us what we love about Japan. All three of us wanted more of melon Haichu. It was a very pleasant candy to eat.


Look Chocolate Matcha Azuki
We all like the combination of Matcha (green tea) and Azuki (red bean) so we expected great things from this chocolate. The matcha flavour was strong, rich and quite sweet, but we couldn't taste any azuki which is a real shame. I preferred this chocolate out of the two flavours.

Look Chocolate Matcha Milk
The "milk" inside this chocolate was clear and stringy, unlike the image on the box of a white creamy liquid. However, I could taste a creaminess which I imagined was the milk. The matcha in this chocolate was not as strong as with the azuki which I didn't like but my husband loved. My son devoured both chocolates and seemed to love them both equally...he would have had another box of them if he could!! ;)


Besides Tirol, Chocoball is my husbands favourite snack ever. He loves the combination of peanuts and chocolate. I expected him to love this as it's the original version of chocoball. However he told me that the flavour of this mini pack was different to the normal box of original Chocoball and he thinks that the layer of chocolate is thinner. I liked the crunchiness of the toffee and coating inside, and the flavour of the dark chocolate on the outside, but I too noticed something different but I couldn't work out what it was. The only thing I could say is that these small snacks seem like they come from a share-pack so they could have been modified a little bit for that purpose.


Orange Bubble Gum
Bubble gum is not something I eat a lot of, so I have no real expertise in this area. I am familiar with this gum mainly because I see it for sale at oriental supermarkets in my city. This was my first time trying it, and sadly will be my last. The orange flavour was strong and it burned my tongue. Both sides of my tongue were on fire while eating this and afterwards I had acid indigestion. I can only assume that whatever chemical used in this gum just doesn't agree with me. It is a cheap and nasty addition to Skoshbox and I would recommend they leave it out in future.

Milk Hardcandy
There was only one of these candies so I got to have it to myself. I was glad I did because it was so creamy and tasted very milky. It was really hard so it lasted a long time. I wished there were more of these candies in the box!!

Air-in Eraser
I thought it was kind of strange to put an eraser in a box of candy from Japan. I know that Japan is popular with geeks and they must like using mechanical pens and erasers. But for the rest of us who aren't students, what will we do with an eraser? If it has to be an eraser, I would prefer something more "Japanese" such as one of those cute erasers that look like a bowl of ramen or a sushi roll. Otherwise I would have liked to see a cultural item such as some chocolate in the shape of 5 yen coins or a phone strap, or maybe even a sushi keyring.

I really like the idea of Skoshbox but I thought the contents were somewhat hit and miss. I guess being a seasoned snack reviewer and regular consumer of Japanese snacks, the contents of the box feel a bit "meh" to me, but to someone who is just getting to know Japan, this would be a great introduction.

It's also really good for those who like getting parcels every month, it feels a bit like getting a gift in the mail, especially because it is packaged so beautifully. Skoshbox is the kind of thing I would have liked when I was in high school and just starting to learn Japanese. I feel that it is marketed towards Japanophiles who have an avid interest in everything Japan. My husband said that if he was missing Japanese snacks and he couldn't buy them in his area then he would buy a Skoshbox every month. I guess for Japanese people away from home, this could even help cure homesickness.

On the Skoshbox website you can see what is in each month's box before it is delivered to you. I will be interested to see what comes out each month, and even more so when Skoshbox go international. Who knows? I might even buy one myself. :)

How you can find Skoshbox
- Website:
- Facebook:

Here are some other reviews of Skoshbox










**The Skoshbox reviewed here was shipped to me for free by Skoshbox and reviewed honestly and fairly. At the time of writing Skoshbox do not ship internationally but it seems like this might change in future.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kit Kat Passionfruit キットカット 大人の甘さ こだわりパッションフルーツ


As I was leaving Japan to come home, Nestle released a new Kit Kat flavour. It was a surprise, mostly because the flavour is so mundane. A fruity flavour for summer but something I would expect to see at home in Australia, not in Japan.

However, I was happy to be able to grab a share pack of 12 minis for ¥298 to take home as souvenirs for my friends, who were delighted to try it and all raved about the flavour. I wish I had brought more than one bag home with me!

The Kit Kat itself is a creamy yellow colour and smells strongly of passionfruit from the chocolate coating which is smooth and soft. Biting into the Kit Kat finger the chocolate is sweet, and the wafers are crispy but the cream inside is tart and makes an interesting combination when mixed. 


I can see why my friends raved about this. I like the tart and the sweet together, and as well as that at the very end there is an unexpected creaminess. This Kit Kat is delectable and really lends itself to being more like a dessert than a snack. 

It is really more sophisticated than previous flavours, and I could imagine it more as an elegant dessert for adults. I really do like this, and luckily I have 3 minis left so I can keep them all to myself!

If you haven't already tried this I recommend that you do! But make sure that you keep it hidden so no one steals it! ;)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Nestle Kit Kat Green Tea (Matcha) キットカット 大人の甘さ 抹茶


It's been a while since I have reviewed a Kit Kat, probably at least a couple of years. It's good to be getting back into reviewing Kit Kat though as I've never lost my interest in the weird and wacky flavours that Japan keeps putting out.

It seems since the disaster of March 2011 (I hate saying that as my son was born the same month and year), that Nestle have been releasing less Kit Kat flavours than they did before. I know you can still get regional versions but when I went to Japan recently I really struggled to find anything other than regular, white, and green tea.

Japan seems to have renamed their Kit Kat to be "大人" (adult) flavour, or sweetness at an acceptable level for adults. I am not sure why this is, but they have a lot of advertising featuring office ladies or "OL's" so maybe they are aiming more towards weight conscious women?

This is a share pack of 12 individually wrapped minis which is great for me as I have been able to give lots away as souvenirs after coming home from Japan. This flavour was released in both a share pack and a single pack edition. In Japan, the share pack of 12 Kit Kat retails for around ¥298 which is how much I paid for this bag at Mega Donkey (a large discount retailer).

The one thing I noticed about this Kit Kat is that the chocolate coating is very mousse-like and it melts very easily. We are in the throes of Winter here and it's around 18 degrees during the day, but even with the heater on low this little mini melted. 


The outer chocolate is green tea green and smells strongly of matcha. Biting into it I get a very strong hit of matcha from the soft green chocolate. The matcha cream inside the crispy wafer also tastes very strongly of tea but with a sweetness. Right at the end there is a familiar bitterness from the matcha.

This Kit Kat was a hit with me. It was very authentic to the taste of real matcha and the soft outer chocolate, even though it melted easily, was delicious. I also enjoyed the crispy texture of the wafers inside. Unfortunately for me it was over too soon, so I might need the whole bag of minis to myself! 

I would recommend trying these if you like matcha or if you want to try a really authentic Japanese flavour paired in a Kit Kat.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

napaJapan Candy & Bento Store


I just thought I would take this opportunity to blog about a new online store that is selling Japanese snacks and bento, including the 25+ Japanese Kit Kat flavours to the world!
Jay, the creator of the store has been selling me Japanese snacks on ebay for a long time, and now he's opened his store from Sapporo, Japan.

It's great because for years Japanese snack lovers have been relying on J-list to satisfy their J-snack cravings. And while J-list do have a very comprehensive list of Japanese products, they never have the new Kit Kat in store, they only stock limited snacks - that often run out which I find annoying.

I've never had that problem in all these years of buying from Jay. He ships them out within 36 hours, the packaging is perfect, and he offers 3 shipping options.

You will find Shiso Pepsi, the new Azuki Pepsi, and other Japanese beverages on his website. Pringles, Koala no march, Crunky, Pocky, Fran, Hi-Chew, Mentos, Flavoured Coffee, Morinaga, Meiji and some unique Japanese chocolate.

There is also a big variety of bento supplies, toys, and health products. Plus, requests are taken into account.

As a long-time fan of napaJapan, I just wanted everyone to know how great this store is, and I wanted you to know there is a place you can go to try out all the wacky Kit Kat flavours, like the one's I blog about on here.

No, he didn't put me up to this. I wanted to let everyone know simply because I'm a loyal customer who appreciates the great customer service I've received over the years. :)

So what are you waiting for?? Go buy some Kit Kat! ...or something!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Morinaga Ichigo Caramel (Strawberry Caramel)

This Ichigo Caramel was released for Mother's Day (May) in Japan. It was only around for a little while before petering out. Fortunately for me I received it as a gift with a bunch of other food gifts, and it makes a change from the usual Milk, and Matcha flavours that Morinaga usually make. Not to say I don't also like those, but I do like to try new flavours of caramel when I can.

This box holds the same quantity as usual. 12 individually wrapped pieces 1.5cm x 1.5cm in size. When you push the bottom of the box, the top slides up, similar to a matchbox. You can also push down from the top and have the same effect.

Each piece of caramel is bubblegum pink in colour. It doesn't carry much scent, a very faint strawberry mousse flavour, if anything.

The first taste is a very floral, almost musk-like flavour. The caramel is quite hard and takes a couple of chews to reduce the size. While chewing I get a vague strawberry mousse flavour, but there is still quite alot of floral flavour in there. The strawberry flavour never really builds up in intensity, while the floral notes are extremely strong and overwhelming. After swallowing this caramel I'm left with a taste similar to having chewed pink bubblegum for a few hours. It's not a pleasant taste, and the floral taste has burnt my throat.

This caramel was not enjoyable. Where was the strawberry?? I can just imagine the poor mum's that got saddled with this for Mother's Day. They probably hid it in the garbage when their kids' weren't looking. I guess Morinaga should stick to the basics.

Luckily this was a seasonal thing so I don't have to warn anyone off trying it. It's unlikely you will come across it, but if you do, buy at your own risk! And don't say I didn't give you fair warning. If you have tried this, let me know what YOU thought about it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Heart Apollo

Apollo is one of those great Japanese chocolates that has been around for years and is ever popular with kids. It was one of the first Japanese chocolates I ever tasted, and it has continued to be a favourite of mine.

Imagine my delight when a friend of mine in Japan included this box of Heart Apollo in a care package she sent to me! This box of Heart Apollo I was told, was brought out to celebrate Mother's Day in Japan.

The box is really sweetly decorated, and the Apollo themselves are in the shape of hearts (when looking from above). The only thing that bothers me about this box of chocolates is the packaging. The box makes it seem like you are getting alot, when in fact there are only 8 individually wrapped Apollo chocolates. They are bigger than normal, but one individual wrap could fit two Apollo inside. The box is large enough to accomodate twice the size, so it is abit annoying to find such a small amount inside.

The box says 47 grams, but I think half of that we could safely say is the cardboard box and wrapping.

Each chocolate wrapper has a message in English on it. There are four themes:


I did not get any wrappers that said Cheer in my box. The variety of chocolate is also not even. There are 4 strawberry, 2 banana, and 2 vanilla. In terms of messages I got 4 good luck, 3 happy, and one thanks.

Each chocolate is 2 cm wide x 2 cm high. Each has a very strong scent.


Looks like the original Apollo but bigger. It also has flecks of strawberry in the chocolate. It tastes like strawberry mousse with tart strawberry sherbert. The milk chocolate is creamy, but has some bitterness, reminscent of dark chocolate.


Out of all the chocolates this one smells the strongest. I found that the banana chocolate broke off the top of the milk chocolate at the bottom join, making me realise that they were made in two separate molds and stuck together. The banana flavour tastes like overripe bananas with a hint of vanilla, and a vague tartness not unlike the strawberry Apollo. The milk chocolate is a bit waxy, but seems more buttery.


This smells like a vanilla candle. The chocolate has flecks of vanilla bean. A very light flavour of vanilla icecream here, but the chocolate is waxy, so I felt like I actually was eating a vanilla candle. The milk chocolate is waxy but tastes alot more like cocoa.

It's interesting to note how the top flavour affects the milk chocolate below. I like the strawberry the best, only because it's very close to the original and has no funky waxy chocolate. I like the taste of the banana, but I'm not keen on the vanilla.

It was an interesting idea from Meiji, but probably best to keep it to limited edition sales.
I would like to know if anyone else out there tried this and what they thought about it.

For anyone who is interested, you can get free downloads for Apollo at and a Meiji character directory is here. They seem to have a lot of fun online activities for children.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Melon 'n Cream Mentos


Interesting to note that Mentos are made by Cadbury Japan in Holland.

This type of Mentos is called n' cream and the flavour is Melon. The latest version seems to be Caramel n' Cream.

I was expecting the colour of the dragees to be green and white, but all of them are a creamy off-white colour.

They have no particular smell. The moment I put it in my mouth I tasted a very matcha-like flavour which was odd, which then became a fake cream flavour like in hard boiled lollies. I don't like it very much. As I sucked the dragee, the melon flavour became apparent, somewhere near the chewy centre. It tastes like a rockmelon. The inside is quite hard at first and hard to chew. Unfortunately, near the end is a very sour chemical taste on the end of the melon flavour which was really horrible.

I couldn't stand to eat any more of these and I'm hoping I can dump them on Yasu, or he can take them to work and dump them on his workers.

I don't recommend these unless you like eating hard chewy chemical flavour dragees.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Apple Vinegar Kit Kat

I got this at the same time as the Lemon Vinegar Kit Kat, in a box of goodies from Japan.

Apple Vinegar has well known healing properties, probably mostly from Chinese medicine. It can shrink gall stones, it is a digestive enzyme (aids digestion), it can be put on burns - when applied reduces the burn and scarring, helps reduce cellulite appearance, helps allergies, and stomach flu, and probably many more!

Is it any wonder then why the Japanese followed China's lead and now regularly consume this on a daily basis? Yasu has this every day as a general health tonic, and as a consequence, he is always healthy, and hasn't had a cold for 6 months, ever since he started taking it.

Some people find the taste of Apple Vinegar to be too sour, but I love it. I think the Apple flavour is much more pronounced when mixed with vinegar.

So imagine my delight when I found that Nestle Japan had released Apple Vinegar Kit Kat!

It comes in a box of 2 packets containing 2 fingers. The chocolate is white but with a yellow tint. The yummy smell of red apple wafted up to my nose as I opened the packet.

The chocolate itself is a bit salty, then sweet, followed by the apple cream in the wafers. The outside of the wafers is where the vinegar is. It is not overly sour, it's more like a Granny Smith Apple, than vinegar. The vinegar is present only at the very end, followed by a creamy milky taste, which is really refreshing.

I wish I had got more of these. Yasu really loved it too. I love the white chocolate with the apple and vinegar, the sweet and sour are really great flavours combined.

I've heard alot of reviewers on the net giving this the thumbs down, but I am giving it a huge thumbs up. The problem is that they are not familiar with the original taste of apple vinegar, so they are reviewing something that is totally alien to their tastebuds. If you can't imagine the real thing, it's going to be hard to compare.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lemon Vinegar Kit Kat

This is the second vinegar flavoured Kit Kat I've seen in the last couple of weeks. The first is the Apple Vinegar Kit Kat.

Lemon and Vinegar are not necessarily two things I have thought of putting together, though they can both be quite sour.

This flavour comes in a bag of mini's. The chocolate is the regular milk chocolate. It smells like Lemon Butter, or similar in smell to the Valentine's Day Kit Kat.

Biting in I get the sweetness of the milk chocolate, then a slight lemon rind sourness, followed by a few dashes of vinegar. What I mean is, that the vinegar flavour is more like an afterthought. There are very small bursts of vinegar at the end, but it is not really as sour as vinegar usually is, but I can tell it's meant to be that.

When eating the Kit Kat separately, I found the vinegar flavour was more concentrated on the wafer, as if it had been coated in the flavour, and the lemon flavour was in the cream.

We both enjoyed this Kit Kat, and look forward to trying the Apple Vinegar.

Yasu is chowing down on my last Kit Kat

Monday, June 15, 2009

Choco & Rose Kit Kat [チョコ & ローズ キットカット]


Rose and Chocolate is a flavour that Nestle Japan released that did not make many ripples in the Kit Kat world. I don't know why. It could have been the wrong time of the year, I think Mother's Day would be far more appropriate. But hey, who knows what those flavour guys are thinking at Nestle.

I managed to get 2 mini bars of Rose & Choco from a friend, I couldn't find anyone selling them on ebay, it seems that it wasn't that easy to come by. The packets are pink with light pink roses all over, very sweet.

When I opened the small 2 finger pack, I could only smell the normal chocolate sweetness and a smell of "something else", but it was very vague, and faint. I couldn't smell anything florally, or rosey.

Alot of other reviewers on the net said this tasted like soap to them. To me, not at all. The chocolate itself carries more of a rose scent that starts off in the nose when eating the Kit Kat. It is a very unusual way to experience a chocolate.

However, I really liked the way this Kit Kat smells. The taste is of a regular chocolate Kit Kat, but as I chew it, the smell wafts into my nostrils. It is a very light rose scent, almost as if it were in the air I was breathing.

I thought this Kit Kat is so ingenious! It's almost as if it's a treat for the nose, rather than the mouth.

If you pass this Kit Kat in your travels, don't hesitate in buying it, it's an amazing experience.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hokkaido Lemon Cheesecake Hi-Chew

The fact that a product or ingredients in a product are derived from Hokkaido always has some kind of extra sales force in Japan. Hokkaido- land of nature and all things natural. Premium dairy products, fresh fish from the ocean, that sort of thing. It has serious selling capacity.

I picked up this Hi-Chew not because it says "Hokkaido" right across the front over an image of Hokkaido, but because of the flavour - Lemon Cheesecake.

I'm having a bit of a cheesecake craving lately and this just seemed to call me. 'Hmm lemon cheesecake hi-chew, that should be interesting' I thought.

The pack has 12 individually wrapped pieces of chewing candy about 2 x 1 centimetres.

The candy itself is a yellow colour, like a pat of butter. It smells like lemon cheesecake.

The flavour at first is like a lemon tart flavour and then half-way through chewing a dairy like flavour, cheese, then milk, emerges. The lemon tang stays present all the way through with the dairy flavours mixed in. It really is a nice chew. The flavours are strong but not overly sweet. The lemon taste is really nice, and not at all fake. Because it's really chewy, it's hard to imagine you are eating cheesecake. Nevertheless, I think it is a great flavour for Hi-Chew, interesting and different from the usual fruit flavours on offer.

If you see these around and you are a fan of cheesecake, I recommend you pick up a pack!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Through The Break - Sakuranbo (cherry) Kit Kat

Yasu started asking me if I had heard about something called "through the break" and I didn't know what he was talking about until I saw this Kit Kat on eBay.

I bought it as a surprise for Yasu. He didn't really know what it was, only that it was popular in Japan. I got it yesterday in a parcel and I gave it to him so he was pretty happy with that, but he hasn't downloaded one of the 3 free mp3's that come with this Kit Kat at the time of writing.

The three mp3's are somewhat blossom related. I think that is why they tie in with the Cherry flavour.

The song's are:

Sakura Million
Flower of Life

All songs were produced by Jin Nakamura.

The box is perforated down the middle and when you apply pressure on both sides of the line, it breaks apart. "Through the break" you find two individually wrapped packets of Cherry Kit Kat. When you remove the Kit Kats you find the individual code for downloading the song from the website.

It really is a very interesting way to style a product. Not unlike the Valentine's Day Kit Kat.

These wafers are white chocolate but coloured a very light pink like a cherry blossom petal.
They smell like that cough medicine we took as kids when we were sick. Ugh, I hate it.
It's such a strong smell.

The taste is the same as that cough medicine, actually. The chocolate is so overpowered by it. Thankfully after the chocolate melts, the wafers are there, with a nice sweet flavour.

I only ate one finger, I really couldn't stand the flavour or the smell of this Kit Kat. Great idea for marketing, just not a great flavour for the masses. Well, not unless the masses like cherry cough medicine!