Monday, August 11, 2014

Asakura Japan (eBay store) Pokémon plush review!

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First off This is not a sponsored review; I'm doing this out of my free will and because I want to make a little advertisement for a seller I had a great experience dealing with. I also like helping fellow people out with where you can find trustworthy shops for your geeky needs. :)

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Today I will do a review about an eBay store I recently ordered some Pokémon goods from, namely Asakura-Japan. This store sells mostly Pokémon goods and Studio Ghibli goods ranging from tea cups, bento boxes and chopsticks to backpacks and plush dolls! The selection is large and varied you'll surely find something you like! :D

My ordered plushies.
I think most people who frequent eBay and are into collecting Pokémon goods (especially plushies) know how big of an ocean of bootlegs/pirates/counterfeit/fake/whatever-you-like-to-call-them Pokémon plush dolls you can find in there. There's surely more fakes than actual legit plushies floating around in eBay and this is alarming and puts many collectors at unease when it comes to which sellers to trust especially those who don't have so much experience with telling apart bootlegs from the real deal.
But fear not! In the massive intimidating fake jungle of eBay there are some sellers out there who sell genuine stuff and, most times, these sellers are based in Japan japan-asakura's eBay store is one of them.

I've been big Pokémon fan since early childhood (at least since I was 7 years old) and I've been collecting and playing various Pokémon franchise products over my life. I am a Pokémon plush doll collector and while I've had the bad luck of buying bootlegs in the past thinking they were original ones I really want to avoid doing the same mistakes again. Sure that some Pokémon fake plushies are exceptionally well-made and sometimes really hard to tell apart from the officially licensed ones, but I have educated myself a bit in the matter of "how to spot bootlegs and why you should avoid them" after being fooled a few times. It always feels better for me at least to know that you are supporting the original makers of whatever you are into and also, it's safer for your health. You can't know if fake items have been checked to be safe from toxic materials etc..

But now, let's get on with the review!
So I found this seller by digging in eBay for a while and after checking out their store I felt pretty safe about ordering from them. 100% positive feedback from the last 12 months helps a lot, no negatives and not even a single neutral feedback! I placed my order on 29th July. I bought two items and when I requested a new invoice to combine shipping I got an automatic message saying that this wasn't allowed. I just paid the shipping for both items and within two days I got a kind response from the seller saying that they would combine shipping for me and I also got refunded the excess that I paid for the shipping. Super nice surprise, thumbs up!
My order was shipped on 1st August and it arrived on 6th August and to make it even better it was delivered directly to my mailbox so I didn't have to go pick it up somewhere! 95% of the time when I order something I get an arrival notice paper and have to go fetch my package..

WAIT A SECOND. 6th August?
THAT'S NOT EVEN A FULL WEEK AND IT CAME ALL THE WAY FROM JAPAN!!? 

Yeah, indeed it did. It must have been transported by a super secret bullet train that moves through the air with the power of ramune soda and Son Goku...

So I got my package and my first impression was that it was filled with nothing. Or that's how it felt because it was so light to hold! :'D To my relief the package had actually been sent from Japan which is a pretty damn good sign of it being official merchandise. Seemingly you can't even get bootleg merchandise into said country, as far as I know, which brings me to mention that 95% of the time when an eBay Pokémon plush/figurine seller is from China or Hong Kong it's likely they are selling bootleg items. I don't mean to judge and be unfair to sellers from these countries but it seems to be the sad truth that a majority of times you won't get an official product. :'( Not saying there aren't any legitimate sellers but you have to be veeeeery careful.

My package unopened.
(I blurred out my address and seller's phone number)
When I opened the package I was met by something that was plastic and yellow a Pikachu bag staring at me! It was the nice surprise number two, an extra souvenir plastic bag! And it wasn't any plastic bag either, it was from a Pokémon Center store! Definitely added more authenticity points to my book.

Pokémon Center Pikachu plastic bag <3
I took out the Pikachu bag and inside it was the items I had ordered, wrapped into a bubble wrap bag and taped into place so that things couldn't fall out.

Ordered Pokémon items in bubble wrapping
I took off the bubble wrapping and inside were two absolutely fabulous items. <3 I had ordered a Mega Absol plush doll and an Absol mascot plush keychain. What you mean I love Absol?

My Absols together <3
Now I will show some photos of the plushies separately, along with photos of their paper and tush tags. Pictures are taken in normal room light. Ignore the occasional blurriness on the tags, it's just my camera; the text is clean and crisp. 

First up is the Mega Absol plush:

Front/side view from above
Front/side view from above
Side view
Side/back with wings out ot the way
Paws and bottom
Tail
Wing details
(Blogger color raped this. Mega Absol's fur is not gray, it's white with a slight pale blue tint)
Head close-up
You can even move Mega Absol's head piece to reveal its other eye!
Paper tag, front
Paper tag, back
Tush tag
Next up is the Pokémon Petit Absol Mascot Plush Keychain:

Showing the chain link + size
(ignore the colors, Blogger color raped this pic too upon upload, colors aren't accurate :C)
Seen from above
Front while standing
Front while lying
Side view while lying
Side view while standing
Back view while lying
Paws and bottom
Paper tag, front
Paper tag, back
Paper tag, inside
Tush tag
Both plushies are very soft, super nice, well-made and brand new. There's no stuffing coming out, no threads poking out, no weird smells nor bad seams, asymmetrical eyes etc. I really love them and I couldn't possibly be more pleased with this purchase. My inner Pokémon geek is screaming of joy. <3

Oh, and I actually got a small little gift with the purchase! A bag of green tea, complete with instructions. Wohoo awesome! I also got a sort of "thanks for your purchase" advertisement paper with handwritten text. :)

Green tea extra + paper. Ignore the keys and the liquorice
box, they are there to hold the paper in place.
So if it wasn't clear already I would personally recommend the Asakura-Japan eBay store to any Pokémon and Studio Ghibli fans out there who want genuine stuff directly from Japan and who want it fast! This seller provided me one of my most pleasant eBay experiences so far and I'd definitely buy from them again! <3 Buy with confidence! Psst, they even have Pokémon candies!!


Shiro Samurai geeks off!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kukkolankoski visit

Hello!

On 1st August me, mom and Hasakitsuki went to Kukkolankoski on the Finnish side; Sweden has "Kukkolankoski" too but there it's called Kukkolaforsen instead, it means the same thing though but it's just on the other side of the river.
Our main reason was that I would take some photos for the photography studies/course that I'm planning to attend. Mom actually bought me a tripod for my SLR camera on the same day (hnng thanks! <3) so now I have something useful for future photographing, both for anime conventions as well as general photography!
Okay, so Kukkolankoski is this kind of famous place around 15 km away from Tornio that is as far as I know popular with tourists (at least on the Swedish side that's the case). There is some gorgeous landscapes and the river flows like a rapid at some parts. It's really pretty!
Of course I came here to photograph the rapid for the school's "entrance examination"-ish tasks. I'll share some photos of the place with you ~

Photographer: Shiro Samurai











I realized pretty quickly that this is an amazing place for cosplay photoshoots in nature I need to come here again! I also want to come and photograph more at Kukkolankoski in general; I wonder what it looks like during the early spring when the ice cracks on the river and moves... *dreaming*

Shiro Samurai says bye!