Unboxing

Booksquisite Book Japan – September 2018

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.


The Goodies

Maneki-Neko

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.


Washi Bookmark

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.


The Book

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?

Synopsis
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.

addtogoodreads


Box Review


Box Value
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.

Final Thoughts
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!

6 Comments

  • Jennifer

    Funny that you mention liking Japanese crime novels more than American. My husband and I love British detective series, and I noticed a different vibe to them, same with some of the Japanese crime stuff. I haven’t read much literature overall in the category, mostly because of my distaste of American cop shows, but I am interested to hear your review for this book.

    • Jamie

      Yeah I actually really plan on read this one soon once I finish a few books (loans from friends and library) it’s for sure on my fall/winter reading list. I’ve really enjoyed psychological crime thrillers from Japan, so I’m curious how a detective mystery thriller would suit me. You’re right though that genres from different countries tend to have a different vibe to them, so definitely interested to see the differences in this case.

  • Anne Clarence

    Oh my god, I am so jealous! I have never gotten book packages like this before! I never have the chance to order packages like this because living in Asia is really inconvenient to order these kind packages (especially when you’re a student).

    • Jamie

      That’s understandable, I’ve heard that there are not really that many book boxes available outside of the US and UK! I was happy to find this one actually comes from Japan and is reasonably priced considering how much it must cost to ship. I hope that more boxes will become available for you wherever you live!

    • Jamie

      Yeah this is definitely one of my favorite book boxes since it is not YA book themed, which is what most seem to be. The maneki neko is my favorite little toy I have on my desk at work, I don’t know why, but it just makes me happy.

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