I received the most charming subscription box in the mail a few weeks ago - the Neko Box, a Japanese-themed subscription box full of ceramics, textiles and stationery goodies.
The word 'neko' means 'cat' in Japanese, reflected in its logo.
When I opened the February box, I found a well packed collection of items pertaining to the month's theme: Mount Fuji.
Every item in the box has something to do with that famous Japanese landmark, and I was really pleased with the quality and aesthetic value of the set. I also really liked that it truly was on theme, rather than a random assortment of Japanese trinkets.
Included with the box was a card explaining a bit about each item - what it is, where it's made, and the designer that manufactured it, and the total retail value of the box:
Each month's box also includes a small, slim 'zine booklet called KAWA, which provides a little guided tour of a few Japanese restaurants, attractions and other points of interest for the armchair traveler - I thought this was a really nice touch!
So, let me show you what came in the Mount Fuji box - very unusual for me, but I loved every item that was sent, and have plans to put each one to use!
The other piece is a really interestingly shaped sake cup - it is partially glazed in a deep blue glossy finish, and when it's turned upside down it is the shape of Mt. Fuji!
I don't drink sake regularly, and when I do, I'd prefer more than one glass for sociable reasons, so this will be a delightful art piece for me. At some point, it may find its way into a little fairy garden.
Also included was a square face cloth / cleaning cloth with a cheery blue, white and orange Mount Fuji print that I am enjoying using in the kitchen very much. It is quite soft and plush, and is holding up to regular use very well.
Moving out of the kitchen area, there was also a lovely little collection of stationery goodies, also following the Mount Fuji theme.
Here again, I found every one of them a winner - they are lovely pieces, on good quality paper, and I can think of several ideas for how to use them.
First, an art quality postcard of Hokusai's woodblock print of Mt. Fuji. This is the well-known Japanese painter and printmaker who worked during the early 1800s and produced many renowned works - in addition to this one and many more, his most famous work was The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, which I think almost everyone is familiar with, whether they know the name of it or not. Mount Fuji was a frequent subject matter of his.
This is far too pretty to send off as a postcard - so I'll be finding a small frame for it to display.
The last two items made me smile - first, a cheery little set of metallic washi stickers of - you guessed it - Mount Fuji! These will be added to my stationery stash to brighten up envelopes, but one or two might work their way into an art project or two. I like the shimmery sun motif behind the mountain in these.
Lastly was a pack of papers I would have been mystified by if it weren't for the included card, which referred to them as post-its. Then I understood! The dual sided lightweight paper mountains are loose on one side, with a light adhesive on the other - you can use them as book tabs, write on them if desired and when they're attached to the edge of a book page - you get a mountain range!
The tabs are easy to remove without damage (like post-its) and can probably be repositioned a time or three before loosing all the adhesive. The packet has generous number of post-its - at least 20 of each style.
I often am tabbing multiple pages in my cookbooks or craft magazines, so I will be having a lot of fun using these.
Neko Box ships worldwide from Japan, and does include a shipping charge in addition to the cost of the box.
Savings can be had by prepaying for a 3 month or 12 month subscription, and I think this would make a truly lovely gift for a friend or family member, be they a travel lover, a Japanophile, or simply take pleasure in sweet pottery and stationary accents.
March's theme was Hanami (the picnic one goes on during Cherry Blossom season) and unfortunately, it's too late to receive that one - but April's theme is Edo, which is the ancient name for Tokyo.
I don't know what will be in it, but I am sure it will be full of beautiful things to delight the senses.
You have until February 21st to get your April box, which will get sent out on the first of the month, and Neko Box is offering a $6 discount to our readers.
To claim your $6 discount, insert the code RCH6 at check out!