Saturday, March 25, 2017
Apart from the standard Japanese confectionery and snack releases here in Japan, you will also find many product packages that don famous animated characters from all over the world. In most cases the edible product will take on either the shape of the character, have a texture/flavor associated with the animation or manga, or a pun will be created with the product name through the collaboration. One of the most popular products linked to a character is the "Hotaru No Haka" candy tin (far left in above photo) which is a reproduction of the tin shown in the movie with the same name.
Felix the Cat gum is available in both strawberry and grape. The flavor is nothing out of the ordinary but these have unique mini wrappers with mazes and puzzles. The Puccho soft candy chews taste similar to Hi Chew but these limited edition packs shown here have Marvel character erasers and Disney Smartphone cleaner wipes attached. There are 10 different types to collect. Every year a new series is issued so if you have interest in such things be sure to check back at napaJapan.
You will also find snacks adorning world famous characters such as Thomas & Friends. The chocolate cookie sticks are similar to Pocky however they are made by Kabaya. In this instance the boxes are what set it apart as you can collect different train pictures on the back panel of the package. Hello Kitty strawberry cookie sticks are another customer favorite. Japan's lovable Anpanman character is available in chocolate form with each piece die cut and scored with various cast members from the animated show!
This is by no means a complete list but just a small sample of collaboration candy that is available during any given year. On your next order you may want to sprinkle in a couple of these products to check them out for yourself. Perhaps they would make a unique gift for the anime or manga fan in your life. napaJapan always lists the newest and hottest confectionery products every week. You can be sure that these character goods will be released quite often so it is important to bookmark us and visit often.
The blogs will keep coming but the schedule may be a bit inconsistent depending on the season. Please leave a comment below if you have any ideas or topics you would like to get my take on, related to the Japanese candy scene. We take product listing requests too!
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
We all know that anxious feeling before proceeding to checkout where we are uncertain about the EXACT final cost of our orders. Shipping products overseas can get expensive but it also can be a very reasonable fee. In Japan, it all comes down to weight! Many countries have flat rate services where you can stuff as much as you want into a certain sized box for a specified rate. Unfortunately, Japan Post only offers a weight based system. The good news is that if you construct your cart carefully you can be efficient and your shipping cost per item will be much more palatable.
When you shop at napaJapan you will come across all sorts of Japanese snacks and sweets, including beverages. Whether it is an interesting version of Fanta, Pepsi, Canned Coffee, or Tea you are after, the simple fact is that these beverage items weigh a lot (relative to chocolate, candy, and salty snacks.) So, let’s say you were to order a dozen 500 ml bottles of soda; your parcel would weigh 7 kg (15 lbs.) Most potential customers who make such a shopping cart get quite the shock at checkout. Shipping such a heavy parcel from Japan costs napaJapan a lot of money and we must pass that cost on to the end user. Our shipping costs also cover packing material, labor, and transaction fees from the bank and e-commerce provider.
Most customers who order beverages from our shop tend to mix in candy and snacks together so that they can enjoy a wide range of goods, whilst spreading the shipping costs among all items. So in reality, the more items you order the less the shipping cost is, PER ITEM. This is because shipping costs will not increase at the same rate as the parcel weight does. The percentage difference in shipping costs between 100 and 900 grams is much higher than between 6100 and 6900 grams. In fact, the latter example has the same shipping price at both 6100 and 6900 grams! It isn’t until you reach 7000 grams where you will see the next price increase. This is how the Japanese Post pricing system is set up.
To calculate shipping weights we must consider three things: GROSS weight of product (not the net edible product), shipping box, and inner packing materials (which ensure a secure delivery.) Some candy products only have 25 grams of product however the weight of the package can be as high as 100 grams! Also, in some instances we must use multiple boxes to ship out your order since there are dimensional size restrictions (L+W+D < 90 cm) and weight restrictions on some shipping methods (2 kg max.) When this occurs we always mark the inner flap of the box with notification such as BOX 1 of 2.
We try our best to keep our product pricing down at reasonable levels as we understand the shipping is a big part of what will affect your budget. Japanese candy usually has very long shelf lives so placing a larger order may be beneficial to maximize on your shipping savings. We do offer at least three shipping options to most countries with the cheapest method taking 2-4 weeks. Parcel tracking is available for every country, however extra costs are involved and those are shown on our checkout page.
These days, shipping overseas is very reliable and we rarely see parcels returned to sender and it is extremely rare to see lost parcels. Delays can always occur due to Customs checks, bad weather, busy holiday seasons, or by using an economy stand-by mail service. Our customers have given us a lot of feedback and shipping is quite often noted as a very positive experience. Japan Post is a welcoming and reliable company!
So please come by our fun shop and mix and match the huge variety of Japanese sweets and snacks we offer. New products are listed WEEKLY! And don’t forget that limited edition products come and go quickly. If you see something you like, you may want to get a few. History tells us that some Japanese confectionery is a once in a lifetime eating/drinking experience! Please contact me directly if you have any questions or listing requests!
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Most people love a good cup of coffee and it is an important part of their day. In Japan, you can find coffee everywhere, in many forms. The most convenient type is canned coffee which you can buy in vending machines, convenience stores, and supermarkets. They usually are available in steel cans with a pull tab, but sometimes come in an aluminum bottle with a twist off cap. The standard can size is 185 grams which is equivalent to a small cup.
There are a half dozen major manufacturers within Japan. The most popular brands are Georgia (Coca Cola), BOSS (Suntory), and Fire (Asahi.) Each company releases colorful and uniquely shaped cans that contain different blends. The basic is BLACK which is just that... no calories as there is no sugar or milk added. Other offerings include Cafe Au Lait, Regular Blend, Strong Blend, Extra Caffeine, Low Sugar etc... The sweetness and creaminess level varies depending on the type. At napaJapan we carry many varieties!
You can drink these hot or cold. To heat, place the entire sealed can in a pot of hot (not boiling) water, for a few minutes. The steel can transfers the heat to the coffee very quickly. In most Japanese stores they have a small hot cabinet where you can select hot canned coffee from. The vending machines have both hot and cold options too! I find that the taste difference between brands is hard to distinguish but they are all very tasty. The cool can designs add to the drinking experience.
The Japanese have been drinking canned coffee for nearly a half century but only recently we have seen world brands enter the fold such as Starbucks and Tully's. It seems that the packaging is the main selling point and the colorful cans back this theory up. Many companies even attach free cheap gifts to the top of the cans or bottles. I once collected pull-back Mario Cart mini car toys from a bunch of cans many years ago.
Now that Japanese convenience stores have added self-serve brewed coffee machines to their line-up, the canned coffee market has taken a big hit. Freshly brewed coffee does taste more authentic but it isn't as portable and convenient. Let's hope this special canned coffee market continues to thrive and new releases and taste appear for years to come!
Please check out the coffee selection we offer HERE.
Thank you for always considering napaJapan for your Japanese candy, snacks, and treats. We list new products weekly!
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Since the Japanese confectionery market is always changing, it is extremely hard to keep up with all of the latest releases. As a casual candy and snack fan, you may come across a rare or unusual flavor only to have it disappear from store shelves within weeks or days. That is how fluid the sweet scene is here in Japan. There are regional exclusives, store exclusives, seasonal editions, and even variations on package appearance and size. This can make it overwhelming for the average consumer to select the perfect Japanese snack.
At napaJapan we often get requests from our customers to put together special random packs because they have no idea where to begin. Our catalog of over 500 products is massive, however it still doesn't cover everything that is available in the marketplace. We try to offer a nice balance of recognized brands, traditional goods, and rare special edition flavors. napaJapan is truly a one-stop-shop for Japanese confectionery products. It would be nearly impossible for you to find all of the products we sell because many of these fresh items have already been discontinued. The long shelf life on Japanese candy allows you to stock up on your favorites because who knows if they will be released again.
I have come up with five Japanese snacks you must try at least once. Since there are so many confectionery categories I have chosen the top product in these five genres: Cookies/Chocolate, Gummy Candy, DIY Candy Kits, Salty Snacks, and Soda Pop. Of course we do offer other types of delicious products so be sure to browse our products by category. The products I have chosen are available year round.
Once you get past the cute packaging you are introduced to the most adorable little snacks all sealed up in the inner foil bag. The manufacturer, Bourbon, spared no detail as the bun cookies even have sesame seeds on them and are partially glazed to give them an accurate grilled appearance. The 'meat' patty is made of milk chocolate while the 'cheese' slice is made of beige/white chocolate. They have a wonderful crunchy texture and the flavor is fantastic.
This has got to be the oddest gummy candy you will ever try. Texture! It is all about the texture. Imagine an overripe grape that is just about to burst its skin. These gummy candies have the "water balloon" feeling and when you bite into them a rich fruity rush of grape flavor fills your mouth. Quite an outstanding eating experience. Available in a few flavors at any given time. Both red grape and green grape are standard flavors.
This product is a must for a rainy day. There are now over two dozen types of DIY candy kits. napaJapan carries them all HERE. The Sushi Kit is special because it is the one that ignited the Kracie Candy Kit boom. In the box you get powders, trays, and tools that allow you to make realistic, edible, mini candy sushi. All you need to do is add water for this particular kit. You can get English instructions HERE. There are a few easy techniques to create tuna, egg, and even salmon row. The main flavor is grape.
The packaging on these does not scream 'Must Try!" however if you have been lucky enough to try them you will know what the fuss is all about. There is no fake cheese flavor found here. Over 50% of the cheese flavor comes from real cheese powder. This gives these triangular crunchy crackers so much taste. They are ridiculously addictive and they pair up so well with any cold beverage. These are usually sold in Cheddar and Camembert Cheese versions. You will also find limited edition versions from time to time so keep checking back.
#5 - Fanta Melon Soda
This is a very exclusive soda flavor, even within the borders of Japan! The full melon taste immediately comes through when sipping this bright green soda. It is so appealing both visually and gastronomically. It tastes so wonderful over ice cream too! Shipping bottles of soda from Japan can get expensive due to weight so you may want to add lighter candy products to offset the higher shipping costs.
After coming up with this list I remembered so many other products that should get honorable mentions. Since these five products only make up 0.5% of our catalog there are surely a bunch more hidden gems that are calling your name. napaJapan also carries chewing gum, mints, soft candy, hard candy, sweetened coffee & tea, potato chips, and much, much more! Please let me know your favorite Japanese sweets, snacks, or beverages. We do take product requests so feel free to drop us a line anytime!