Raw Japan Box by Brandon Chin
Enrollment is closed

Raw Japan Box

The ONLY Japan subscription box that connects you to Japanese culture through books, pop culture, art/food...

AND Japanese people.

***

Due to COVID-19, shipping from Japan to the US has been severely delayed.

Just after the 1 year anniversary in April 2020, the box will not be available for the foreseeable future.

If you still want Japan content on a regular basis, go to brandonchin.net/community
Enrollment is closed

What is this?

This is a box full of stories from Japan.

Every month you get a personalized box sent to your home.

But what makes it different than the other Japan subscription boxes?

Well, imagine this...

You take a mental trip to Japan from your home. Every month.

Where you can meet and talk with real Japanese locals...

Collect authentic Japanese anime objects, manga, and cultural items...

Read stories of real experiences with people and places in different cities throughout Japan...

And I am your guide for this journey.

How?

Because I can bring you to Japan without dishing out thousands of dollars and weeks of off-time. 

I’m Brandon Chin. I’m a novelist now based in Fukuoka, Kyushu. I’ve been living in Japan for 5 years and speaking Japanese for 7.5 years. I connect with locals on a daily basis because I sincerely believe that’s what humans are here to do. 

Connect with each other. 

But we must first connect to ourselves. Without getting all woohoo, let me tell you why.

After taking 10 years of karate in my hometown of Florida, USA, I understood the pain of tasting Japan, but not fully knowing it. I watched anime like Dragonball Z and Naruto. And I played Super Nintendo and Playstation. I even traded and battled Pokemon cards at my local Barnes & Noble over the weekends.

But it wasn’t until I came to Japan and spoke with Japanese people did I learn that the pop culture I experienced was just the surface. And underneath lied a rich and complex culture with a long history. 

And you can experience all of that from your home without spending almost a decade toiling away at a new language or thousands of dollars to visit for only a few days running around snapping selfies at temples (nothing wrong with selfies).

What's been inside previous boxes

Local food

High quality matcha tea from Yame Town.

Local art

Traditional bento box from Itoshima.

Full box

One custom box for a NYC customer.

What you get in the Raw Japan Box

Novels

A monthly print novel written by me so that you can explore worlds, places and characters based off my direct experiences in Japan. 

See that cover? That island with the red road is 15 minutes away from where I live. An island where people go to pray at the shrine for love. It's called Hako Island.

The monthly book includes:

  • My real daily experiences with Japanese people, places and things (names are changed for privacy)
  • Japanese cultural principles that have affected my life.
  • Large societal problems I'm interested in exploring more.

Anime/Manga

  • One anime object related to or referenced in the monthly anime or manga.

  • A print newsletter containing an interview with a local Japanese person telling their story and what they want international travelers to do when visiting their hometowns.

  • One handwritten postcard to introduce your monthly box.

  • A digital picture of the local Japanese person.

Video Q&A

  • 2 Video Q&A sessions every month with a local Japanese person. So that you can ask questions and learn about the nuances of Japan from the source.

  • Rather than just reading opinions on Quora, Reddit and other places on online usually written by non-Japanese people.

How it works

1. Subscribe to a box

2. Send me your bonus item request

3. FINALLY experience Japan in a real way

What customers say:

The only hesitation I had, at the beginning, was not knowing the items or the quality of what you were putting together. After receiving the first box I have no hesitations on that score.

The main changes that I have seen is the stronger desire and goal to learn how to use chopsticks correctly and to learn to read, write and speak Japanese as close to having Japanese as my first language.

[I didn't prefer] No one feature over the other. I love the manga and the dish very much.

Yes, I have benefited in having it rekindle my desire and goals about Japan.

I would recommend this box to any of my friends that have an interest in learning about Japan or are interested in learning about other cultures. 

-Jeff W., Arkansas, USA 
("Raw One" = annual subscriber)

What customers say:

When I first got the box in May 2019, I did not know what to expect from the box since this was my first time getting any kind of subscription box in my life. I thought it would be filled with junk that I would throw out after a while and that the person running it was only interested in my money and not care about customer service, like many other subscription boxes that I see online all the time.

However, after opening the first box, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to sign up for the box for a whole year. I liked the quality of the items that you put together in the box, sending me some bonus items from a list of things that I gave to you related to Japanese pop-culture, and taking the time to resolve an issue that happened with my first box in which some of the items arrived damaged. These are some of the things that I look for when deciding whether or not to continue staying with a business.

I noticed that my desire to learn more about the Japan has grown after subscribing to your box. In fact, thanks to your live calls and box, I was able to have conversations with people that I may not see again in a calming environment in which everyone is treated with respect, and I get to hear stories from local people about their lives.

In fact, I now want to be able to learn more about hidden known treasures in Japan not found in the media, and possibly want to also find hidden known treasures throughout the world in the future.

I liked how you included things in the box that was very good quality and that I enjoyed and will keep for a long time.

For example, some of the treats that you sent to me in some of the boxes were delicious, and if I found a store in my area that sold good quality treats like the ones you sent to me, I would buy them from said store regularly.

Also, I liked how you included some good quality art pieces that I can use in my kitchen or put on display in my house. The art pieces that you sent to me reminds me of the ones my grandmother used to make, and they are a lot better than the ones I would find at a discount store or some other store. In other words, I can see how the artists took their time to make each piece by hand, and not mass-produce them in a factory where the quality goes downhill from there.

Finally, I liked how you included a print newsletter and handwritten letter in each box. Each newsletter was like getting a piece of advice that I can follow in my own life each month, and the handwritten letter felt like you took the time to personally each box for each person before sending them off, especially in an age in which most people don’t write a lot of handwritten letters anymore.

Overall, all of the features that I listed for this above were excellent, and I loved everyone of them.

The biggest benefit for me was that I was able to enjoy something about Japan that I never see on TV or books: its local people and nature. I always hear on TV about popular manga, video games, and anime and the people that make them, but the media only wants us to think that these are the only things we should follow.

There are so many people and things in Japan that we do not hear about because we only follow the pop-culture stuff and never research the other stuff about the country, and I wanted to get a taste of what’s it like to slow down and enjoy this beautiful world that we live in without all the buzz about who to follow, etc. I noticed this myself after getting your box.

I would definitely recommend this box to my family and friends that are interested in learning about Japanese culture through local people. Between the good things you get with the box, handwritten letters, samples of Japanese art and food, and good customer service, this is a subscription box I would like to subscribe to again in the future if I am able to.


Also, as a final word about your Raw Japan Box, I enjoyed receiving it in the mail these past few months. All of the items that you sent to me I have read, used, and/or put on display in my home. In fact, I have kept many of the items that you sent to me, and your items are a lot better quantity than what most of the big stores in my area would sell in terms of beautiful items/collectibles. Plus, you took the time to answers my questions whenever I sent you an e-mail with them. That's what makes you such a great guy.

- Daniel S., New Jersey, USA

What readers say:

Novel: "The Nanking Revolution"

Amazon rating:
* * * * *

Reader:
Trish Strong

Brutal portrayal of the horrors of war and the struggles to maintain humanity in spite of it...

This is a hard book to read because it shows the darker side of humanity. It is brutal in its portrayal of war and the depths of depravity that mankind can go to. Even so, the book is not a total downer as it also portrays how the spirit can stretch beyond the darkness and the depravity and conquer it all. This is not light reading, it is deep and it is dark but it is well worth the read.

What readers say:

Novel: "Knives and Ropes"

Amazon Rating:
* * * *

Reader:
Kay Smillie

Detective Wa's First Successful Outing...

A very unusual detective book, for me anyway. The pace is much slower than the usual mystery/thrillers that I am used to. Not that this change is a negative in any way. In this case, I fell into it very easily.

It is a very enjoyable pace, a sensual pace, which is where the story begins. Detective Wa has many faults, and the reader can relate to that very well. Well, nobody is perfect, are they? The plot is highly inventive, the wording verging on beautiful at times.

You'd better clear a space in your diary because once you start, you will be completely drawn in. You will be in awe of Chin's storytelling skills, the humour, and the peeks into the Japanese culture.

Brandon Chin has a LOT of potential, and I look forward to reading more by him in the future. I was given a free ecopy of this book by the author. I voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed this.

FAQ

How is this different than other Japan subscription boxes?

In a word: connection. 

You get to talk with real Japanese locals. And ask them questions many long-time foreign residents don't get the answers too.

You get a box of Japanese goods. Live conversations with local people in Japan. And the ability to choose and change what you get every month.

I'm not interested in competing with Japan Crate, Tokyo Treat or any other Japan box. They do snacks, kawaii objects and anime. 

That's fine. Just not what I'm about. I'm here to give you a raw experience of Japan. 

Raw in the way that the box will connect you to real people and their stories. Not just cute and sweet things.

What happens after I join?

You'll get access to your ebooks and past newsletters in PDF that I sent out to Japanese members.

And then I'll send you an instruction email about what to do next. 

Inside I'll ask for your physical address, so that I know where to mail your monthly box.

And a list of your favorite Japanese things to tailor your bonus items to your liking.

What are these live Q&A sessions for?

To help you dive deeper into Japanese culture. 

I meet locals on the daily. Many of whom are eager to share Japanese culture with those passionate to learn more. 

So I invite them to a video call. And if you have the time, you can join and talk with them directly.

If not, you can leave questions inside our online community beforehand, and we'll answer them on the call. 

Then, I'll post the replay afterwards inside the group so you can watch and comment on at your leisure.

I'll be there interpreting between Japanese and English on the call if you do decide to join.

And of course, you have any questions about my book, I'll be there to answer. Without giving away any spoilers for the series...

We usually have the sessions biweekly at the end of the week from Friday ~ Sunday. Due to the hectic schedules of the locals, we won't pick a date beforehand. 

Instead, we'll decide within the week.

Don't worry, I got you. I will send out emails to inform and remind you of the upcoming dates.

Are there any refunds or guarantee?

Yes. But only if you leave at least two posts with questions in the group for the Q&A videos within 30 days.

If you do and still want your money back, I will refund all of it (minus international shipping= $30~).

I offer this conditional guarantee because you probably won't connect to Japan if you don't put in the effort.

Of course, you can cancel at any time with a simple email.

After 30 days, no refunds and no returns.

Think before you buy. I only want people willing to commit for at least a year. If that's not you, no problem. 

I'd rather tell you up front, rather than you cancel out of disappointment with your subscription.

How long does shipping take?

You'll receive your box within the month you ordered it.

For example, you buy August 2019 box. It arrives in August 2019.

Wherever you live, I'll keep you in the know while your box is in the wild.

How is it a personalized experience?

Because you get to ask for what you want. 

After you subscribe, you get an email asking about your favorite Japanese things.

Reply with your favorite Japanese media, art or piece of culture. 

And I will send you a bonus item related to your list every month.

Also, during the video calls, I'll be asking you what can make the experience better for you. And you can drop all your juicy ideas on the call or in the group when the replay is posted.

What does "raw" mean?

The "raw" means real and honest. 

All too often we see a weird Japan. A cool Japan. A bleak Japan. But what about the everyday Japan?

The artistic Japan that isn't world renown. The local Japan. The Japan full of, you know, normal people.

If you've always wanted to visit Japan (or have before), this package gives you a taste of Japan you can't get anywhere else.

What do you choose?

I don't have to go all Morpheus to show that you have a couple of options...

  1. You can X out this page and go back to romanticizing Japan through anime without knowing the history and culture behind it.
  2. You can X out of this page and go back to Reddit or Quora and learn about Japan from a few vocal non-Japanese people.
  3. Or you can subscribe. An invest in yourself. Your business. Your art. All by sitting back and waiting for books, anime items and stories to make their way into your hands from Japan. Every month. Feeding your brain. Your spirit. And your external world. 

At the end of the day, we're here to connect. Some don't realize that WE have the ability to choose how DEEP our connections go.

I'd rather choose and create my reality. 

How about you?