OyatsuBox- a summer of change (and why I’m still subscribed)

 photo OyatsuBox old box design_zps53w6cfnk.jpg

It’s been a while since I’ve uploaded an OyatsuBox unboxing post. Part of that is that I’ve been busy with other things (I’ve been neglecting other posts as well after all). An arguably more important reason is that, well… I haven’t really wanted to.

I haven’t been 100% pleased with the service from OyatsuBox and it’s been months since a box really wowed me. Each month I’d take my unboxing photos and realise I was going to struggle to be positive about the contents of the box. It kept feeling like there was something missing, something not quite right, that there was to more to criticize than praise about that months box. There’s no fun in writing unboxing posts when month after month I’m looking at the box and realizing I just don’t feel excited about what’s inside it. I do not enjoy writing negative posts, but I’m not going to lie about something I’m not happy with either. So, I was stuck. I stopped writing posts. I’d been debating cancelling my subscription for quite some time, since it seemed foolish to stay subscribed to something I no longer enjoyed and even more foolish to write about it, but every month I’d find myself saying ‘one more month’ hoping that OyatsuBox would once again become the subscription box I had loved. To put it simply, they were my first, and even now I feel a sense of loyalty to them. Not only did I discover the world of subscription boxes through OyatsuBox, they’ve introduced me to loads of amazing snacks in the time I’ve been subscribed.

Why am I writing about this now? Well, OyatsuBox have made some big changes recently (which you can read about in detail here) and honestly, between reading about the changes and receiving my September box today, I’m feeling excited about the service again! I feel like I was right to keep waiting, that OyatsuBox are once again going to be delivering a service I can be proud to recommend and happy to write about each month. In case you don’t want to read the link above, or if you’re just interested in why I think these changes are going to make such a difference to me as a customer, here’s my view on the changes taking place;

Faster delivery

Delivery problems have been a real issue for  me (or should I say for OyatsuBox?) throughout this year, but obviously this isn’t always within their control as international shipping can be a pain in general. It’s okay, I may whine about late boxes and honestly it’s pretty frustrating when it happens month after month, but really I forgive them. It often can’t be helped. The good news is OyatsuBox are working to improve one of the things they can control; their dispatch time. From October onwards, Oyatsu will be pre-packing boxes at the start of each month so that they are ready to ship as soon as payment is received, which they hope will mean people will be receiving their boxes 1-2 weeks earlier than before. Sounds good to me!

New shipping boxes

Our September box arrived in one of the new red boxes (minus the graphics, but they’ll come soon!) and I’m super happy with the new slimline shape. As pretty as the older boxes were they were just too big, there was always some extra space at the top for items to rattle around. The new boxes are scaled down to hold the items in place more securely which will keep them safer in transit. As a UK customer I think that’s a great thing! They’re also cheaper to produce, with the savings going into providing more/better items in the box. Plus, they’re easier to store until your snacks are done as they’re a much better size/shape to fit in cupboards, drawers, dark corners, wherever you keep your snacks. I’ll be including photographs of the new box in my September unboxing post, so stay tuned!

No more leaflets

Well, there are still leaflets, but they are smaller and if the August and September ones are anything to go by, much prettier. OyatsuBox call them postcards and it’s easy to see why, the featured photographs are gorgeous and absolutely the type of thing I’d buy as a postcard from Japan. Despite the awesome photography OyatsuBox say these are cheaper to produce than the old leaflets and again, the savings will be going directly into the items budget. There’s plenty of information still printed on the new postcard leaflet, so don’t worry about not knowing what things are if you can’t read the Japanese packaging. In fact there will apparently be an online area with even more information on each snack, including nutritional information, ingredients, commercials and more which can be accessed via a password included in your box, so it would seem we’re going to learn even more about Japanese snacks than before. I haven’t investigated this yet but it sounds exciting! I haven’t seen any other subscription boxes supply this amount of information for each snack, so it’ll be really interesting to see how this goes.

New box types

This has to be the biggest change; instead of offering the three box sizes they had been offering (OyatsuBox Jr, OyatsuBox Original and OyatsuBox Premium), OyatsuBox are now offering three different box types; Dagashi OyatsuBox (info here) , Washoku OyatsuBox (info here) and OyatsuBox Premium (info here). People obviously like different things and apparently this was a problem when Oyatsu tried including different snacks like dagashi, ramen noodles, traditional cakes/biscuits, mochi or tea all in the one box, so having these separate boxes with dedicated themes sounds like a great solution and a clever way to keep more people happy. I’m sticking with Premium for now because it sounds very much like the old OyatsuBox I used to know and love, but I’d love to try Washoku OyatsuBox in the future as ramen, cakes, senbei, coffee and tea sound like, well, my cup of tea 。^‿^。

 

All in all the upcoming changes all seem very positive. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we all receive over the next few months, especially those who are subscribed to the new box types. I’m so curious to see what will be included!

I don’t like leaving things incomplete, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to do a full unboxing post for the last few boxes I’ve received. Instead, I’m just going to do a quick run down of what was included in the June, July and August editions. Click ‘read more’ below if you’re curious, if not thank you for reading this far. My September box definitely has me excited about OyatsuBox again, my unboxing post will be up in the near future and my regular unboxing schedule shall be resumed from here on in, so I hope to see you again! (^-^*)/

 photo OyatsuBox June 2016_zpsh1omecvh.jpg photo Oyatsu Box June 2016 Unboxing_zpsnw9iuo5r.jpg

June wasn’t an overly exciting month to me, although there are a few snacks that stood out. The full line up (left to right) is as follows:

Ginbisu ‘Very Black’ curry (black curry flavoured dough puffs), Don Tacos Chips, Morinaga Blue Hawaii Soda Candies, Samurai Sword Candy, Pokemon Cola Chews, Ichigo Stick Pack BOSS Coffee- Rainbow Mountain Blend, POP ZACK (chocolate butterscotch flavour wheat puffs), BIG BAR Z, Kracie Nyokinyoki Kororon (ramune flavour), Gudetama Gum & Sticker and Hello Kitty Matcha Senbei.

The BOSS coffee in particular was exciting to me, OyatsuBox don’t do drinks very often and I’d never tried coffee from Japan so yeah. Exciting! The POP ZACK and black curry puffs were particularly delicious, too. The Don Taco Chips were excellent, although we’d had them before from another box so I wasn’t as excited about them. I still haven’t tried the Hello Kitty Matcha Senbei or the Ichigo Stick Pack but they’re probably the only other things that really had me excited from this box, I love both Matcha and Hello Kitty so they’re a win win to me and you can’t really go wrong with strawberry candy so I expect I’ll love both when I try them ^_^

 photo OyatsuBox Gachapon June 2016 - Splatoon_zpsrqzixyzo.jpg

Even thought the snack selection was somewhat lacking, I really liked the gachapon from June. It’s a cute little Splatoon squid that can be placed in a headphone jack. It looks a bit weird on my phone as the headphone jack is at the bottom of it and the squid then sits upside down on the bottom of my phone, but hey. It’s a pretty awesome little gachapon and probably one of my favourites so far ^_^


 photo OyatsuBox July 2016_zpsuu2ql2ho.jpg photo OyatsuBox July 2016 Unboxing_zpsl7objm8q.jpg

The July OyatsuBox was a special one as it was a dedicated Dagashi themed box. It was also available to buy as a one off box. I wonder if this is what the new Dagashi box type will look like each month, perhaps just a little smaller? It certainly seems like this box was designed to test the waters to see how a dagashi box would sell.

The items from left to right are:

Neru Nerune (ramune flavour), Canned Coffee Cereal, Meigum Ramune, Chocobi (watermelon flavour), Kuppy Ramune Tablets, Premium Umaibo (Japanese steak flavour), Umaibo (pizza flavour), Fried Chicken Senbei, Guru Vuru Monja, Babystar Ramen (original flavour), Wasabi Nori Taro, Pancake Choco, Pop-Out Ramune, Pachi Pachi Panic (grape), King Choco, Kinako Mochi, Marukawa Gum, Pharmacy Ramune, New Juice Drink mix, Umaibo Bag (takoyaki flavour), Sherbert Pero Cola.

I struggled a bit with this box as dagashi isn’t something I necessarily dislike, but a lot of it isn’t that exciting as it’s very similar to stuff we can buy here in the UK- expect that it would be way cheaper for me to buy the UK stuff. Personally, when I pay subscription box prices I want to get items that would be hard/expensive for me to buy in the UK, not to mention items that are more unique to Japan. Quite a lot of the dagashi in this box was the generic/boring stuff, in my opinion, although there were still some fun items.

I love that there was both a dried noodle snack (the Baby Star Ramen) and one that needed made up with water (the Guru Guru Monja). The Canned Coffee Cereal (which are basically coffee flavoured Honey Monster Puffs cereal) and the Chocobi Watermelon were both delicious. I actually liked the DIY kit this month, I love Neru Nerune! The Kuppy Ramune Tablets were interesting and the packaging for the Pharmacy Ramune is really cool, it’s inspired by traditional Japanese medicine packets. Getting a powdered drink was awesome, although I still haven’t tried it. In truth there are a lot of things I still haven’t tried from this box, though I’m quite excited to try the Kinako Mochi and the Fried Chicken Senbei in particular.

Everything else was a bit more miss than hit for me, although mostly it’s because I didn’t feel like this box was as good value for money as usual. None of the items were bad, per say, just not what I personally would like to see in a ‘premium’ box. I think I’d enjoy a dagashi box more if I was paying the lower price which the new Dagashi OyatsuBox is selling for ($14.00) rather than the $25.00 I paid for this one.

On a totally random note I got super excited by the Meigum Ramune chewy candy stick, this was actually one of the first Japanese candies I’d ever tried and it was the candy that sparked my love of ramune flavoured candy but I didn’t know the name of it until this one arrived. I’m so happy to know what it’s called now, I’m certainly going to buy more of it! (≧▽≦)

 photo OyatsuBox July 2016 Gachapon - Pokemon_zpsj5xeljkj.jpg

The August Gachapon was a pretty cool little Pokemon badge, featuring mega evolutions. As you can see, we got Alakazam. Not one of my favourite Pokemon, but it’s a nice little collectible nonetheless.


 photo OyatsuBox August 2016_zpsvf3ilc1t.jpg photo OyatsuBox August  2016 Unboxing_zps1kbggspd.jpg

August was the first box to include the new postcard style leaflet. See what I mean about the beautiful photography? I actually liked this box a lot more than the June or July ones, but for the sake of catching up I figured I’d include it in this post rather than write a full one separately.

The items from left to right are as follows;

Osomatsu Gummy, Pikachu Popcorn (butter soy flavour), Edamame Snack, Baloon Fruit Bubblegum (blueberry and yoghurt flavour), Yaki Soda noodles, Pocari Sweat (powdered drink that makes up 1.5l of Pocari Sweat), Rilakkuma Pretzel (honey butter flavour), Blendy Matcha (individually portioned instant matcha drink), Pompompurin Lolly (pudding flavour) and Country Ma’am (chocolate cookies).

What excited me most about this box was the inclusion of powdered/instant drinks. It seems like the perfect way to ship Japanese drinks without worrying about bottles breaking or liquids damaging the rest of the items and I love that between the 1.5l of Pocari Sweat and the multiple portions of Blendy Matcha you get lots to share. I’m not sure if Premium boxes will include drinks anymore, since the Washoku box is the only one that states it includes drinks (tea/coffee). I hope they will include drinks at least sometimes, since drinks are one of the most exciting things to get in subscription boxes to me since they’re quite hard (and quite expensive) to obtain outside of Japan and they’re often really interesting flavours you can’t find elsewhere.

I was also excited about another pack of instant noodles, but again I’m not sure this type of thing will be included in the Premium boxes anymore as the Washoku box specifically states it will include ramen noodles but the Premium one doesn’t. Again, I hope they’ll be included some months at least. It really sounds like I should get the Washoku box to get the snacks that excite me, doesn’t it?

I haven’t had the chance to try much from this box yet, but I’m really looking forward to everything in it other than the bubblegum. I really hope the gum gets put in the Dagashi OyatsuBox from now on rather than the Premium box, it’s one of the worst snacks to get in my opinion as it just never tastes great, my partner hates it with a passion and I’m not comfortable letting my son share it with me. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think gum counts as a premium item and it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the great quality and great tasting treats OyatsuBox tend to include. I guess I don’t really have a valid reason for hoping it isn’t included in the Premium box again, I just hope it isn’t included too often (if at all) because I don’t want it ^_~

 photo OyatsuBox Gachapon August 2016_zpsmb7h9q6s.jpg

Our gachapon for August was this adorable figure from Fuchiko Series 5. I’ve always wanted one of these cute little figures, they’re designed to balance on the edge of your cup like so:

 photo Fuchiko Series 5 Gachapon_zpsdmfe8jta.jpg

Okay, I know she’s balancing on half a gachapon not a cup, but you get the idea. I thought this was a super fun gachapon to include! I think it might just be another one of my favourites ^_^


 

What a massive post that was! If you got this far, thanks again for reading! ♡^▽^♡

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