There is a Kinokuniya bookstore across the river in Edgewater, NJ. We stumbled onto it while we were looking for the Trader Joe’s that’s a few minutes up the road. Kinokuniya is a Japanese bookstore. The first time I visited one was with my wife in Singapore. They have a large selection of Japanese and English language books, magazines, and manga.
The Kinokuniya in Edgewater also has a stationary consignment shop inside that is pretty nice. The shop is located in the same shopping center as Mitsuwa Shopping Center, a Japanese grocery store with a food court. Mitsuwa is pretty cool, too. I like walking down the aisles and looking at the products. They also carry items that we already enjoy like Ito Ten roasted rice green tea and Yakult, a probiotic drink.
Anyway, Kinokuniya is set up so that when you walk in, you’re in a section with a bunch of cute knickknacks and collectibles. One of those collectibles is called Smiski – Opens Japanese language website. It’s basically a blind-box item, where you open a box and get a random version of the collectible.
When I saw them, I was reminded of these forest spirit things from an animated movie called Princess Mononoke.
After a few visits, I decided that I wanted to buy one and open it. I don’t know why, but I like the idea of having them on my bookcases, or in random places in the apartment. It would be fun.
I picked a series 4 box. I was hoping to get the guy laying down with a smaller Smiski sitting on his head, but I got this guy that’s climbing up the edge of my books, which is also fun.
They’re supposed to glow in the dark, but I haven’t noticed that happening with mine. I don’t think it’s defective, though. The spot it’s sitting in doesn’t get much natural light.
I’m looking forward to picking up more of these. Maybe once a month?
So, like I said before, I was tipped off to a new service called “Loot Crate” by an old blogging buddy that writes Jamaipanese.com. I haven’t had much time to dive into my favorite hobbies recently because of school obligations. As I’m sure you’ve seen (if you’ve been suffering through the recent posts on my blog with any regularity) I’ve been working overtime churning out papers for classes. I’m trying to get my degree as soon as possible, so I’ve been taking more classes at one time than is probably advisable, but I’ve been managing to maintain a high GPA, so why not? The faster I get done with school, the sooner I can move on to working.
Loot Crate sort of fills a niche for me. I don’t have a lot of time to devote to gaming, anime, manga, comics or any of the other geek things I used to enjoy. I have a stack of comics and manga just waiting to be read. I have games I’ve bought that I haven’t even installed. But, Loot Crate is just a little thing each month that can put a smile on my face. It’s a low time investment way to have fun and gives me something to look forward to every month. Since I don’t know what’s going to be in each box, it’s sort of like getting a present every 30 days, except of course I’m paying a bit for it. The price isn’t bad, though, at $20 a month, counting shipping. (Disclaimer: this is not a paid advert, but the preceding link is a referral link that will get me a free Loot Crate for every 4 people who sign-up after clicking through).
I was so busy last month, between final papers, final exams, and then rushing off to visit friends in Mississippi that I didn’t have time to post about my Loot Crate until now. So, what was in May’s Loot Crate?
As you can see in the image above, the packaging encourages just what I’m doing now. But, who wouldn’t want to share information about neat novelty items on their blog anyway?
The Loot Crate was, expectedly, a bit of a mixed bag, but to be successful it has to be. Not everyone has the same tastes, after all. There’s a Batman figurine. Not bad, but I never really cared for Batman. The Ironman papercraft origami thingamabob could be fun to put together, and I’m sure I’ll find a use for the stickers. The little dude that holds cords is pretty cool. I’m definitely going to use that once I finish installing my blinds (I just moved). The items that really stood out to me in this Loot Crate are the one-year subscription to a digital Nintendo magazine (the yellow card in the image above), the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy towel, the 8-bit Space Invaders tie, and the Super Mario Question Block.
The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, was one of the first books I read when I was a teenager. For some reason, the dry British humor really appealed to me. I loved that book so much that I pushed it on friends, one of whom borrowed my leather-bound, gold-page-edge edition and never brought it back. I wonder if she still has it on a shelf somewhere?
Anyway, the significance of the towel is that the book is about hitchhiking through the galaxy, and there are certain things that a successful hitchhiker just can’t do without, one of which is a towel. A good quote from the book is:
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
I guess I know where my towel is, now.
Also fairly cool is this 8-bit tie. I’m definitely going to find an excuse to wear this. For the Lulz.
Finding the Super Mario Brothers Question Block was one of those nostalgic moments, since the first console game I ever played was Super Mario Brothers (1985 Nintendo Entertainment System version).
Inside the Question Block are some candies that I haven’t tried yet that resemble the gold coins that would pop out of the boxes sometimes when you bumped them.
It took me a while to get around to posting about the Loot Crate, but not because it wasn’t interesting and fun; I just had too much stuff to do. Hopefully, that won’t be the case later this month, because I’m already looking forward to receiving my next Loot Crate in the mail.