Booksquisite Book Japan is a book box for lovers of Japanese literature! The box offers up Japanese novels in English translation and some goodies shipped straight from Japan. This box ships worldwide and for a box shipped from overseas it is actually pretty reasonably priced.
This month’s theme is A Woman’s World. This box previously came with two options: their monthly box which comes with a book and four mystery gifts from Japan, and a book only option which comes with a book, one washi bookmark, and one mystery gift.
An announcement went out sometime last month that the box offerings would change from a monthly box to a quarterly one. What this means is far larger boxes every 3 months, offering 3 books and 9-11 items from Japan. The cost of the new box will be $125 which would break down to roughly $42 a month.
Literally translated to “beckoning cat,” a maneki-neko is a Japanese talisman thought to bring it’s owner good luck. I love love LOVE cats and was happy to get this adorable little black kitty to decorate my desk at work. It is decent quality and even though it’s made of porcelain it seems pretty solid and doesn’t seem like it’d break easily.
As usual with this box, I got another washi bookmark in a new pattern that I like quite a bit compared to the one I had previously received! It’s small and cute, the paper surprisingly thick and durable. I love these bookmarks.
Soul Cage by Tetsuya Honda
A mystery thriller! Now while I normally don’t go for detective thrillers that are part of a series, the synopsis for this book has piqued my interest. I’ve found that I really love Japanese crime thrillers for how different they are from American ones which likely has to do with the difference in cultural attitudes. Maybe I’ll feel different about detective thrillers after this book, who knows?
A worker reports his boss missing, and a large amount of blood is found in the rented garage he used. At the same time, a severed left hand is found in a minivan abandoned in the outskirts of Tokyo, which is quickly identified as belonging to this missing man, Kenichi Takaoka. Lt. Reiko Himekawa of the Homicide Division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is assigned to the investigation, along with her squad and several other units. From the amount of blood spilled in the van and at the crime scene, it’s clear to the team that the missing contractor Keninichi Takaoka is dead and presumably murdered. But searches of the area around the abandoned van and the river itself fail to turn up the rest of the body.
The mystery surrounding the murder takes a sharp turn when a childhood friend of the presumed victim is shown a recent photo and definitively declares that the missing man is not Takaoka. With every line of investigation leading to a confusing dead end, Himekawa and her team uncover a trail leading to a long-running yakuza scheme of forced suicide for profit, a complex history of victims, and a case of past transgressions coming back to destroy the present. As time runs out, Himekawa must unravel the mystery surrounding the severed hand if she’s to protect and rescue the next victim.
If I round things up the value of this box came up to around $22, a little shy of the $27.50 I paid for it not including shipping. As stated in my previous review, it is hard to find value with this box as it always ends up being close or costing a bit extra for shipping because it comes from Japan.
Are these items I’d buy?
Absolutely yes! The book sounds interesting and I really like the maneki-neko, I am extremely happy to have these items.
Would I order again?
This is hard for me to actually say to be perfectly honest. I have loved both of the boxes I have received so far, and would have likely continued to go with the cheaper book-only option as an occasional treat to myself once in a while. However the brand new quarterly box is really interesting, and while I like the idea of a massive box with a lot of books and goodies, the price is quite steep and it would be a very hard thing for me to just drop money on.
Booksquisite Box Japan is an alright box, the high price point is mitigated by the fact that the content is quality and well packaged. Receiving this box just plain makes me happy, and from what I’ve seen previously the customer service for this box is great. You really are paying just a little bit extra on the items for the actual service, the packaging, details, and having a box specially curated. I like that I find out about books that would not have otherwise shown up on my radar, as I am far less familiar with Japanese literature. I’m curious how the oncoming changes will go for this book box, and I assume it is changing because the monthly subscription was either too difficult or just not working well for them financially. I honestly wish them the best of luck, because this sort of box is pretty unique in the book box market.
How did you like this box?
Are you interested in Booksquisite Book Japan or Book Boxes in general?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!