If there’s one thing I still regret about my trip last July to Japan, it’s that I never got to go to one of The GUEST cafe&diner’s themed café events. Unfortunately, even if you are lucky enough to be around Shibuya, Tokyo during one of their exciting collaborations, you’ll still need to line up for anywhere from one to three hours… And they don’t take reservations! Still, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I can continue to drool over their adorable food items and exclusive merchandise from the comfort of my home in Australia. While their collaborations have usually tended toward specific characters, this time they’ve opened none other than a Pokémon Café!
I love that rather leaving the scouts in their every day attire for the above illustration, chip company Koikeya decided to amp up the camp by having the inner scouts getting ready to gorge on bowls full of tortilla chips while in their sailor uniforms. Makes total sense!
Unfortunately, there’s nothing Sailor Moon-y about these chips aside from their packaging, but that certainly won’t stop me from lamenting that Sailor Moon tortilla chips aren’t something I can buy at my local grocery store. The above avocado cream cheese flavor is one of three in the Sailor Moon Crystal collaboration, along with Bagnacauda anchovy and garlic and Balsamico grilled pork.
Each flavor will come in one of six package designs featuring the five inner scouts and Tuxedo Mask. In addition to the cute packaging, Koikeya is offering special wallpapers for mobile phones with each chip bag purchase:
|Click the image for a close-up of these cute designs!|
On one hand, I’m a little sad they aren’t offering these as stickers, but on the other, exclusive wallpapers are a great alternative to additional clutter around my house, so I’ll take it! I really like the checkered effect on their clothes!
Luckily for folks like me outside of Japan, Jlist is already taking preorders for all three flavors. While the package design they send out will be at random, they say they will try not to send duplicates if you want to order more than one. Of course, it’s only natural that I’ve already preordered one of each for myself! I can’t wait to see what designs I get…
“Off the hook” is what all the cool kids say these days, right? Regardless of whether or not I have ability to lure in the masses, it looks like Nintendo has found the key to widespread appeal: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu collaborations. The latest new (remember, this is the NEW new 3DS) 3DS commercial features the internationally-known pop sensation taking over iconic Nintendo characters’ wardrobes, and to very humorous effect:
The new 3DS comes out on October 11th in Japan, and the above commercial is intent on selling one feature and one feature only: the changeable faceplates, or “kisekae plates.” Kyary’s catchphrase throughout the commercial is “Kisekae chaou!” or “Let’s change!” which makes a fun kind of sense – the phrase is generally reserved for changing clothes, so of course that’s Kyary’s chance to go in and make over Mario and co. after some of the new 3DS changeable faceplate designs.
There’s a lot going on in the 31 second commercial, so let’s take a closer look at some of the adorable details:
Back when I wrote about the Hello Kitty regional Blendy stick a few months ago, I resigned myself to never being able to try them due to their limited distribution even though I was traveling to Japan. Imagine my surprise, then, when I ran into some at a souvenir shop that specialized in food at Tokyo Solamachi! Of course, I was utterly thrilled and proceeded to buy them immediately.
Interestingly, the only flavor this particular shop stocked was the Tochiotome Au Lait from Tochigi prefecture, which is north of Tokyo. As you can probably tell from the packaging, Tochiotome is a type of strawberry that is particularly famous in Tochigi prefecture. Though I’ve eaten my fair share of Japanese strawberries, I don’t know if I’ve ever tried the Tochiotome variety, but I can say that Japanese strawberries are some of the juiciest, most flavorful berries I’ve ever had!
Each regional Hello Kitty Blendy stick box comes with 10 individually-wrapped packets for 10 cups of strawberry au lait. I believe I paid ¥600 (more or less $6), which might be a tad pricey for this sort of instant drink, but I was happy to spend a little extra for a region-exclusive item.
According to the back of the box, there is a special monkey trainer Hello Kitty design that, if you’re lucky, you’ll find on one of the packets in the box. A quick Google search tells me that Tochigi is famous for a theme park that used to have monkey troupe performances that closed in 2013, but will have a memorial hall opening this October. Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to get the special design!
I didn’t expect the box to reveal a cutout of Hello Kitty’s face when opened! It’s products like this that really showcase the amazing attention to detail and presentation you’ll find in even the most mundane items in Japan. Limited edition packaging is certainly a surefire way to get me to buy an instant drink I would normally pass over in a shop!
Unfortunately, while the strawberry Hello Kitty adorning the box and packets is all-around adorable, the drink itself wasn’t particularly impressive. The Tochiotome strawberry flavor was definitely strong and sweet, but I don’t think strawberry au lait is really my drink of choice.
Sure, it would be great if the drink itself was as thrilling as the packaging, but I’m still very happy that I was able to try one of the regional Hello Kitty Blendy stick flavors! Though I couldn’t find a seller that ships the Tochiotome au lait internationally, there is one that stocks the Hokkaido café au lait! I may have to give that a try…
I don’t think I need to reiterate my love for weird Japanese collaboration campaigns, but in case you’re new around here: I love Japanese collaboration campaigns! Even if it’s a collaboration featuring two products/franchises I’m not really interested in, a limited-time promotional campaign always catches my interest. Luckily for me, however, this new crazy Japanese campaign features Attack on Titan, an anime that, while it had its issues, I quite enjoyed when it aired!
I can’t say I’m as big a fan of shaving hygiene, but this Schick x Attack on Titan campaign is amazing. They even have a series of three promotional videos on their website with dorky redubbed anime footage with tons of funny voiceovers! The real purpose of the campaign, of course, is to get people to buy Schick razors, so they’re offering six little Attack on Titan figures which will be packaged in different razor products:
I’ll admit, I wouldn’t be adverse to owning a little Levi holding shaving razors instead of his usual weaponry! Schick is even offering razor stands with more realistically-proportioned Mikasa and Levi figures. Poor protagonist Eren has been kicked out of the limelight, I guess!
I still have time to decide if I’m going to seek out one of the cute mini figures or not…. But even if you can’t get your hands on them, I highly recommend poking around the official website for this collaboration if you’re looking for a laugh!
Since June’s Community Game-Along theme is everything puzzle-related, I’ve been trying to get in a few puzzle games whenever I have a few free minutes. As always, it’s great to see everyone joining in the fun! So far, I’ve played a little of Tetris with Card Captor Sakura: Eternal Heart (it’s just like the title says, Card Captor Sakura Tetris!) and some of the new PS Vita rhythm puzzle game developed by Arc System Works, Magical Beat. I also reviewed the iOS puzzle game rainblocks, which is free to play and both looks and sounds great. I highly suggest checking it out if you have an iOS device and would like to try something for #PuzzleMonth!
Finally, I still have one code left for subaku for iOS to give away! Head over the the June Game-Along information post to see how you can claim it!
Time and time again, Japan proves that they know how to market products to an extremely wide range of consumers. Call me gullible, but I am almost always on board with whatever weird collaborative campaign or new marketing tactic Japanese companies come up with (yes, even Mister Donut x MOS Burger). Today in “awesome things you’ll only find in Japan,” drug store chain Matsumoto Kiyoshi has teamed up with voice actor Tomokazu Sugita to offer… an otome drama web series?
Since I’m creeping closer and closer to my July trip to Tokyo, I figured I wouldn’t be doing many Japan Envy posts, considering I’ll likely be able to experience many of the things I generally write about in this column when I’m there. Fortunately for you and unfortunately for me, however, one of the café collaborations I’m currently pining over is scheduled to finish on July 7th (five days before I arrive!), which means we can sigh at the loveliness we’ll never get to experience together!
The adorable duo Kiki and Lala of Little Twin Stars were never really on my radar as a Hello Kitty-loving adolescent, but now that I’m older and really into pastels for some inexplicable reason, I think it’s safe to say that the Little Twin Stars are my favorite Sanrio characters. Thus, when I saw that The GUEST café & diner in Tokyo would be doing a Little Twin Stars collaboration, I was utterly thrilled! While I’ve always been a huge fan of café collaborations, I think The GUEST takes the idea to the next level with its attention to detail and presentation!
There is even a statue of Kiki and Lala to take photos with upon entering the café, and apparently the staff are happy to take your photo for you if you ask. Since I’ll never get to experience this lovely café, I’m very thankful for the numerous posts filled with awesome photos from people who have gone themselves!
At your table, you’ll be treated to a Kiki and Lala placemat that you can take home after you’re finished your meal. If you get it dirty, you can just ask for a replacement and they’re happy to provide one. In addition to the placemat, you can score one of five original coasters (pictured above) with any drink order. I don’t think I’d be able to bring myself to use them!
But really, we’re all here for the food, right? And it certainly doesn’t disappoint! This fruit crepe looks both cute and extremely delicious.
I also love the look of this mini burger set. I wonder what a pink star bun tastes like?
And of course there are themed lattes! Not only are designs on the drink adorable, but check out the phrase on the mug: “All you need is love & coffee”! Sounds about right to me!
The manager even has Little Twin Stars-themed nails! Honestly, everything about the presentation of this café is irresistible. There’s lots more to see that I haven’t included, so definitely go check out Matcha and Tokyo Otaku Mode for more images and details about the café! Of course they’re also selling numerous exclusive Little Twin Stars merchandise that I’m sure I’d have to buy all of if I were actually able to attend this collaboration event. Even though they won’t be having this event while I’m in Tokyo, I think I’ll still stop by The GUEST café & diner to see how it stacks up!