Freedom Japanese Market – February 2016 Review

Freedom Japanese Market

$12.99-$49.99/month–Free international shipping!

Ships from Japan

Freedom Japanese Market is a monthly subscription box and online shop run by an expat family in Japan. Their Japanese snack boxes come in three different sizes, Puchi ($12.99, 5-8 snacks), Original ($24.99, 12-16 snacks), and Family ($45.99). The Family box is a cool idea—it doubles the contents of the Original box, making it a good option for sharing. (Or eating yourself—no judgement.) All boxes ship free worldwide.

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The 2016 February Original box includes 17 snacks for $24.99. I have no idea how they managed to fit it all—I tried to repack it for photos and failed miserably. There box and info sheet are simply designed, and each box includes a piece or origami. This month’s was a chopstick holder—super cute! My own Pikachu is helping me out by covering my address on the box!

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The info sheet doesn’t include any ingredients and packages are all in Japanese, so if you have dietary restrictions and/or allergies, tread carefully. The chopstick holder origami is well made, and is made with pretty floral paper.

The chocolate bananas are super cute! They have a mild flavor—milk chocolate and that unique artificial banana taste that you either hate or love. It’s not my jam, but my husband enjoyed these.

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The Bokun Habanero potato rings scare me. The jack-o-lantern face on the pepper has intimidated me into passing these on to someone who loves spicy food. However, I love Umaibo sticks (puffed corn) with a passion, so I was excited that they included two different flavors! The pizza one smells like salami, and tastes like Italian spices and pepperoni. There is a little spicy hint in the aftertaste. Most pizza flavored snacks don’t taste much like the real thing, but this was surprisingly nice. The other flavor, chicken curry, is fairly mild with a rich Japanese curry taste. Japanese curry tends to have more of a stew vibe versus an Indian or Thai curry.

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The blue cider hard candies have the typical cider/ramune flavor—a mild citrus hard candy with gum in the center. The info sheet didn’t mention the gum, so it was a surprise. Sugary gum isn’t my favorite, but the hard candy itself was fine. It could have used a little more flavor.

“Awa MokoMoko” is a fizzing power that you mix with a liquid. I haven’t tried it yet. The info sheet says to add it to a drink, but the directions on the back seem more complicated. I have visions of fizz akin to an overflowing bubble bath, which is dramatic and unlikely, but nonetheless I’d like to translate the directions first.

The candy on the right is “Sorbet Pelo,” a grape sucker you dip in sour powder. The grape flavor is strong and tastes a little like grape cough medicine. It goes well with the slight sourness of the powder. Definitely a candy that gives you a sugar buzz. It wasn’t my favorite due to the association with cough syrup, but objectively the flavors are fine.

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The top snack, “Nagai Sour Gummy,” is a long cola gummy with a dusting of sour powder. The sourness is mild, and it has a good cola flavor.

The Popin’ Cookin’ DIY kit is so cute!!! The “Colorful Ramune Land” has you mixing flavored powders to make gummies. You then press the mixtures into the included plastic molds. The molds are made of nice, solid plastic and worth keeping if you like to make your own candies/chocolates.

The galactic-looking package on the right, “Okashi Na Mizu Ame,” is another DIY candy. You mix together different flavored gels (strawberry, soda, and lemon) to make a new flavor! Gel candy doesn’t sound appetizing, but it’s fun to mix everything together! The gel is actually pretty tasty too.

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Um, it’s Pokemon time. It’s a milk chocolate sandwiched between crispy wafers. The chocolate tastes really rich, and this is something I’d definitely eat again. This gets a million bonus points—it comes with a cute Pokemon sticker. I got Charmander! Ah! I almost always pick the fire-type starter Pokemon, so I was super excited to this this shiny sticker. In Japanese, Charmander is called “Hitokage,” which I believe means salamander.

“Kinako Chan” is one of the more unique things I’ve seen in Japanese snack boxes. It’s mochi dusted in kinako (roasted soybean powder). Mochi is really meant to be eaten fresh, and most packaged mochi is a bit stiff. I’m really impressed with how soft and squishy it is! It’s not a sweet dessert—the kinako is a toasty, nutty flavor, while the mochi is smooth and mellow. Mochi is a traditional Japanese sweet made from pounded streamed rice. Also, the packaging is adorable.

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Finally, Pikachu is sleeping on some Peperoncino noodles. This is another item I’m waiting to try until I can translate the directions. The info sheet gives a bit of help, but I can tell the lid says something about cutting the corners, so I’d like to make sure I do it correctly! It’s a small cup of noodles that you add boiling water too. I like that it’s a smaller size, as instant noodles can take up a lot of space for an item not everyone may like or be able to eat (most instant noodles aren’t vegetarian).

Overall, this box is an excellent value for the price of $24.99/month, especially with free shipping and the DIY kits. I also really appreciated the variety of flavors—there was a good mix of sweet, spicy, and salty. My only downside is the lack of ingredients and instructions on the info sheet. Other boxes include instructions or even have videos to show you how to do DIY kits/instant noodles, which is pretty necessary if you don’t know any Japanese.

You can subscribe to this box here, starting at $12.99 up to $49.99 depending on size. Use “beejuboxes” in the comment box upon checkout to receive a free additional snack!

PR Sample. All opinions are my own, and no compensation was received.

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Nednettinc

Nednettinc

Sara loves all things cats, snacks, and video games. She lives in Yokohama, Japan with her husband. Sara has her B.S in Women and Gender Studies and currently teaches English. Japanese snack and kawaii boxes are her favorite, along with anything nerdy, cute, and/or edible.
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