Review: Kinokuniya Bookweb Service

Recently Kinokuniya promoted a  free shipping day.  Anything ordered on their Bookweb  site (kinokuniya.com/us) could be shipped for free with in the US.  While we are lucky and have a physical location here in NYC, it isn’t always convenient to run down from the burbs.  I used the site once before to purchase the latest Lolita Sewing Book (乙女のソーイングBOOK 3) which I doubted they would have on the shelves in the city.  That went well, so I couldn’t miss out on the free shipping opportunity.

kinokuniya free shipping offer june 2013

Their website has undergone many improvements over the last few years.  But I think they still have a ways to go to compete with the larger online book retailers.  They are the top dog when it comes to the niche on Japanese literature here in the States.  But what I found myself doing was opening two tabs in my browser; one to look up the ISBNs for the books I want on Amazon.jp and the second to use the advanced search form of Kinokuniya to add the books to my order.  On Bookweb most of my keyword searches were unsuccessful or my attempt at keying in the appropriate name in kana/kanji were not right.  Amazon was both more forgiving and easier to search.

On the free shipping day the site was also not performing well in terms of speed.  So I received several timeout errors from their server.  I was determined to complete my purchase and stuck with it to the end.  But my guess is many other people would have given up.

Their shipping service is great.  The package arrived very promptly.  They packaged the books well using good thick paper to keep them from shifting around inside the box.  I also signed up for their membership program some time ago, which meant on top of the free shipping I received 10% off my purchase.

All in all I will definitely use the service again.  It is the easiest way to get my hands on some of the most esoteric kawaii mooks and other books from Japan.  In fact there is a mook from one of my favorite brands Milk that I am coveting currently.  If I had to give Kino a rating, right now I give them a 3 out of 5 stars for easy of use on the site and 5 out of 5 stars for access to hard to come by Japanese publications.

loving kinokuniya bookweb service

And with that said, now onto the goodies I got: the latest Gothic & Lolita Bible, Angelic Pretty Museum mook with totebag, and Baby, the Stars Shine Bright stationary set.

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Stationary Set

The best part about this item?  It is listed as Out of Stock on Kino’s site.  But they allow you to add it to your shopping cart anyway and will research if they can get it for you regardless.  In this case, they got back to me within 24 hours saying they are able to get it (despite the Out of Stock listing) and automatically added it to my order.  You can’t beat that!

baby the stars shine bright staionary set

btssb stationary and cosmetics bag

I debated ordering the stationary set and my initial gut reaction was right.  It isn’t the highest quality promotion around especially for the price once you add the markup for getting it out of Japan.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it is from Baby {I am a brand whore} and has their fabulous prints I would pass; the quality of the materials used is mediocre.  Alas, I’m a sucker for the Strawberry Letters print and so I will absolutely put the set to good use.  Small post-it notes come in very handy when doing Japanese homework so those will most likely be the first item to go.  Not sure what to do with the book cover yet.  Might cut it up and do a DIY project of some sort. We shale see.

Angelic Pretty Museum Mook & Totebag

This was a no-brainer – MUST HAVE IT.  And yep, it is pretty much fantastic.  The tote bag is a vinyl material, which I thought I might not like, but I do.  Means it can easily be wiped clean and put to some thorough use.  I also thought I would like it in one of the pastel color ways, but black is awesome.  I matched it with a sax blue coordinate already and it added a nice additional layer to the overall look.

angelic pretty sugary carnival tote bag

angelic pretty logo on mook packaging

angelic pretty sugary carnival tote detail

inside the angelic pretty museum e-mook

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

Tokyo Day 3: Harajuku

After visiting Tsukiji we came back to the apato to freshen up.  Then were off again to meet Asumi in Harajuku for a some fun before dinner.

takeshita dori harajuku tokyo

Adi was smart and his first stop was Starbuck’s across from the Takeshita-Dori arch… must be well caffeinated to face the crazy crowd. Also, doesn’t he look smart in his Yohji Yamamoto jacket! He got it in Paris, wears it in NY, and now it has come home for a visit.

harajuku wonder rocket

For me this was a stealth mission to get a feel for where to shop when I return later in the week.  Having Asumi as a guide was awesome and it meant we could do purikura with someone who (is a pro and) can read all the instructions.

harajuku purikura

I want to save my money for BTSSB and AP… but could have easily gone crazy in Smile Camp.  It is like being wrapped in a rainbow.  So cute!!!!!!!!

smile camp harajuku fashion

I bought a cloth chain necklace from the new Kate Spade Saturday. There were several dresses also that caught my attention. I had fun chatting with the shop girl.  She said that it won’t be until next year that more locations of this hip new shop open up in other cities.

tokyo kate spade saturday

Someday, just someday, I might actually grow up.  But here I am, 40 years old, and still madly in love with crazy colors and loud fashion.  So on that note, here is the rest of the photospam from our walk down Takeshita-dori and around Ura-Harajuku.

clam shell salopette short pants

black and white cherry coordinate

thrift finds in harajuku

gross design sweatshirts harajuku

And if you can believe it, there is still more to Day 3…

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Sabastian Masuda

sabastian masuda dokidoki designer

Must take a departure from the 40 x Tokyo spree today to celebrate what turned out to be a very epic Sunday.  Was already super excited to go to the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu concert… but to also met the mastermind behind the Harajuku brand 6%DOKIDOKI – whoa!  Fair warning to my friends that these photos are going up anywhere I can post them cause I am so psyched.

Masuda-san was in Kinokuniya to check out a small art installation related to the brand’s new mook celebrating their 18th year!!!  He was informed that a bunch of cute girls all dressed up in Harajuku fashion were upstairs in the cafe, so he came up to take photos.  How cool is that.  Inside the mook is a tote bag with the famous Colorful Rebellion collage.  I didn’t pick one up as I want to save money to buy something directly from their store when I am in Tokyo next week.  If you want to learn more about the mook check this out:  http://tokyofashion.com/harajuku-6dokidoki-bilingual-mook-kawaii/

lolitas invade grand central

My buddy got sick so I reached out to some of the NYC lolita’s to hang with for the show.  God these girls have fun!  Grace {shown center} pulled off a Manhattan magic act.  She transformed her 2 friends into Lolitas in the middle of Grand Central.  Just when you think you have seen or done it all, New York has another surprise in store for you.  Wish I had a before photo.

on our way to kpp concertBefore you know it we were off to wait in the mile long line wrapping around the Best Buy theater.  As usual, our fashion attire attracted a fair amount of attention.  But who cares.

kpp world tour nycThe show was amazing.  Just amazing.  What fascinated me was how completely diverse the fans were. There was a mosh pit, kid-you-not, at one point and on the other side of the floor a contingent of really cute frilly girls jumping up and down screaming.  What an amazing performer to be able to bring such diversity together.

masuda watching kyary

Oh yeah, and check out this fan… she had all the moves in check!  By dumb luck I was sitting right behind Masuda (#^.^#)  And yes, yes he always has his arms crossed like that.  So cute.

kyary pamyu pamyu nyc concertIt has been a long time since I have been to a concert and had so much fun.  Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has literally skyrocketed since 2011.  So glad I got to enjoy this amazing moment in her blossoming career.

international official fb for kpp fans

Thank You KPP + NYC for such an awesome day.

Links:  Interview with Kyary  | Official Photo Set from the Show   |  Amani’s Pics | Petrina’s Pics