I visited Japan again at the start of the year, so this is… quite a delay. I brought back a ridiculous amount of things. T and I went with one check-in suitcase between us. We came back with that suitcase full of souvenirs and our clothes and personal items downgraded into two carry on bags. Don’t worry, half of it was presents for other people! Here’s most (but not all) of the stuff I brought back for myself.
These snacks were all for me (although some extra quantities were given to others)… I know I can get some of these in Melbourne, but I just couldn’t help myself! I adore Japanese fruit liqueurs, and especially pineapple, so I couldn’t not bring back the Okinawa Pineapple Liqueur, since I only am able to get one brand in Melbourne. I tried those Tohato spicy potato chips. They were numbingly spicy (for me) and so crispy! They were so addictive even though they made my nose run like a tap, haha. The Tohato spicy potato rings available in Melbourne are no where near as good. I’ve loved the Green Tea Melty Kiss chocolates so much but hadn’t seen them for a few months in Melbourne prior to Japan, so wanted to bring one for myself. Of course, as soon I returned to Melbourne, the Asian grocers all stocked it again. Typical. The yuzu-mitsu (yuzu stick honey) was an unexpected purchase. We were in a quiet little store and the lady gave us some of this to drink. I don’t like honey, but the combination with yuzu was so fragrant and soothing. I thought it was something quite different and of course, I love yuzu! I’m obsessed with trying every single flavour of Hi-Chew and we ate a lot of Hi-Chew in Japan. These regional limited edition ones must’ve been new because I had not seen them before (but again, they became stocked in Melbourne on arriving back). I also love tasting all the different Pocky and Pretz. Unlike Hi-Chew, I don’t buy them all though because sometimes the flavours sound too weird for me. I couldn’t NOT get giant rainbow Pocky though! To be honest the giant series is a bit overwhelming and I prefer the smaller packs. I am more of a Pretz girl, because Pretz is usually savoury. I tried a few new ones while in Japan, but this Hiroshima “Strong Passion of Chicken” (haha) Pretz was so damn good, I picked up one to bring back the next time I saw it. I can’t believe I’m saying this but it might be my favourite flavour of all time! Lastly, another category of snack collecting/tasting-them-all is Japanese Kit Kats. It’s a hobby that T drives and it’s become a tradition that he surprises me with new ones every few months. I’m proud to say we’ve got (or eaten) almost all the Kit Kats in recent years. Strawberry Cheesecake is not a new flavour, but they redid the packaging and I convinced him we had to get it because of the new packaging!
I’ve mentioned how obsessed I am with momiji (Japanese maple trees). Enough said.
I’ve almost stopped buying toy-type and keyring sourvenirs. This tako (octopus) and takoyaki locked *by magnet) in a kiss is the most adorable thing ever! I’m not separating them because I want them forever smooching each other, thank you.
I already have a set of solar-powered dancing maiko from a previous trip. But I’ve never seen a maneki-neko that sways side to side AND waves its arm. I was so enamoured (and bought three – two as gifts)!
There’s quite a long story behind this. I had known I wanted to start my own Goshuin-chou a long time ago. I always expected I would just remember, but actually I completely forgot before the trip and well into the trip. By some chance, I happened to spot one from far away at Kinkaku-ji, and it all came crashing to me. To be honest, I was so overcome to receive my first goshuin that I had a few tears. Goshuin-chou (literally stamp seal book) is a book where you have priests or other temple/shrine officials write and stamp a goshuin seal stamp for you. This includes the temple/shrine name and date you visited. Each temple/shrine has its own unique stamp. The book folds out and each page is double sided. I think one book fits 48 goshuin in total (I need to double check this when I’m home) and I managed to almost finish my first book. I plan on writing about goshuin in the future since I’m so passionate about it. I’m disappointed I had not remembered in my first week, as there were many temples and shrines I missed out on!
I realise I collect too many Japanese goods and spend way too much on them. I also collect Starbucks tumblers around Japan. I added quite substantially to my collection this trip. I never liked the Tokyo one, but it hasn’t changed since 2012 (when I passed on it) so I guess they don’t really change that frequently. I missed two from places we visited and I’m pretty gutted.
This is probably the most ridiculous collection. Since my first trip, I have been buying these specific type of Hello Kitty towels from different places – picking the design that I feel best reflects the place. This time I realised that these towels must no longer be produced, and another style has taken its place. It’s only got Hello Kitty faces and the place name, which is so boring compared to these! So, anywhere I saw some, I would nab them. I probably only missed out in one city, which isn’t too bad. I’m glad I got the last in a few shops. I’m so sad that this means I probably won’t be able to continue this collection anymore. But my wallet is happy. A few of these are from previous trips and got mixed in, but I don’t remember which since I’ve visited numerous cities a few times.
I don’t really like/drink sake and shochu. These were small regional variety sets from Hida and Kagoshima for my parents, which we recently started drinking together. I much prefer Japanese fruit sake/liqueurs.