Japan Crate November 2015 Review

November’s here and so is my box of varied and unique snacks from Japan.

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As usual Japan Crate includes a mini-manga that explains what each item is, has instructions for the DIY kit, and various additional context, pictures and promotion. The bonus item for the Premium Crate this month isn’t food, but a Naruto Blind Box Mini-Figure. Good inclusion to capitalize on the popular anime. One of the items listed in the book (Fujiya Lollipop Bag) wasn’t available in time, so an email was sent out explaining that it would be in next time and that two snacks had been added in its place. Nice touch.

So let’s look at the edibles.

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The Excellent

Both replacements were from Glico, and the Cookies & Cream pejoy ended up being my favorite snack of the month. Kind of a “reverse pocky,” these vanilla cream filled chocolate cookie sticks were delicious. The chocolate items were a big hit with me in general, as the Bar-None-like Black Thunder candy bars were fantastic.  The other replacement was also great: Hot Chili Salad Flavored Pretz, nicely seasoned pretzel sticks with a decent dose of spice.

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The Decent

This month’s Premium Crate’s drink is Chunosuke Water. I got the Apple flavor, and it’s a nice lightly flavored drink. Superstring Q is also a Premium exclusive, and is a 50 inch gummy string with two different types of grape flavored sections. It was decent, although I while I could tell the difference in taste between the two types it was more “sweet and different sweet” than “sweet and sour.”

Meiji Dice Caramel and Glico Man Caramel & Toy are both amusingly packaged caramel candies. They were fun inclusions and the caramel was decent, but in both cases it was a bit too sweet for me.

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The DIY kit this month was Funassyi Furi-Furi Shake DIY Kit, which is intended to create a sweet pear flavored milkshake by adding milk and an ice cube to the provided powder. I got almost more of a banana flavor from it personally, but it mixed to a nice consistency and was decent for what it was. “Add milk and ice and shake” is also far and away the least work required for one of these so far.

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Another Premium exclusive, Parchishuwa Grape Soda Mix, is one of the most unique candies I’ve tried yet. It’s like a bit a pop rocks mixed in with a powder that fizzes a bit and some chewy pieces for texture. The book describes it as “exactly what grape soda would be like if you could eat it instead of drink it,” and they’re right.

Uranai-KKO Bubble Gum is a nice recreation of fortune sticks. The gum itself is decent and seemed to have a slight cola flavor. The book and blog provide a little to help try to translate the fortunes, but it’s not nearly enough and I found the most I could determine on the sticks I got was good or bad luck.  Spy vs Spy Sour Gum contained two identical looking soft sticks of lemon gum, with one much more sour than the other. This was one of the Premium Crate exclusives and I enjoyed both versions.

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The Meh

Fluffy Long Neck Marshmallow is a twisted rainbow marshmallow stick. It’s fine for what it is, but a marshmallow doesn’t impress me. I wanted to like the Purple Sweet Potato Sticks, which taste as advertised, but I really didn’t for some reason. So it goes.

Conclusion

This was the weakest Japan Crate so far for my personal tastes, but I still appreciate the chance to try all of these unique snacks. The Premium exclusives continue to provide some of my favorites, and the upgrade is easily worth the additional $5. Despite less to love than usual there wasn’t a lot I severely disliked either, there were still high points,  and I continue to be impressed with the variety of selections, not only within each box but across the shipments I’ve received.

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