Tuesday, 30 October 2018

My First Ever Kuji! | Japan Award Haul

Hello everyone! I hope you've all had an awesome start to the week! I've spent all of my time lately watching spooky movies and doing toy photography, so the last few days have been pretty chilled for me :) Have you guys done anything fun? I can't believe it's only a day until Halloween!! Why are the months going by so quickly this year!? Regardless, I can't wait to carve my pumpkin later! 

Anyhow, today's post is one that I've been really REALLY excited to share with you! It was seriously so tough to not share anything related on social media, because I just wanted to tell anyone who would listen about my first time playing ichiban kuji, or just kuji, lottery So I'm over the moon that I can finally tell you guys all about it!! This post is one for my fellow kawaii-obsessed people! 

Ichiban Kuji Japan Award

Some of you might not have a clue what ichiban kuji is, so let me explain :) Kuji is a lottery game that is popular in Japan (and several other Asian countries), and it's most commonly run by a company called Banpresto, in collaboration with various stores and franchises. How does it work? Well, you purchase tickets, and inside each is a letter or number. These correspond with a prize so no matter what, you always get a prize for your money, which is awesome! 

Some of the prizes are harder to get based on the letters (or numbers); A, B & C in most kuji's are the top prizes so they are rarer to pull. The standard kuji's usually include prizes A-F or G, but there's some that have so many prize categories and some that have more than three top prizes! This is common with some of the ichiban kujis for popular anime series, where for the top prizes, there might be five figures up for grabs! There is also a special prize for the person who buys the last ticket available! Often people will buy out an entire kuji if there's only a few tickets left just to get this special last prize. It's totally worth it though :)  

I have been dreaming of playing this fabulous game for a very long time! I started noticing awesome figures for sale online that were from anime kujis, although at the time I couldn't afford to buy them for the high prices that people were re-selling them for, and that wasn't including shipping fees! After doing a bit of research, I discovered that you could buy kuji tickets and prizes from proxy sellers, but even though this was an option, it could get very costly buying by-proxy and I really wanted to feel like I was involved in the actual playing, if that makes sense. I just resolved myself to the fact that I would have to wait until I could one day make my dream trip to Japan, and play kuji in person. 

Ichiban Kuji Japan Award

That was until I discovered YouTube channels where people were living in Japan and playing ichiban kuji for people 'live', on video, so you could feel like you were there playing along with them! I had found my new obsession and I could watch people winning prizes for their friends and subscribers for hours! I always wanted to play too but I didn't know how, and also as my regular readers will know, I have social anxiety and this really held me back when it came to approaching Youtubers to enquire about joining in myself. Then one day, I came across Japan Award! It's a wonderful channel and is hosted by the loveliest guy and his wife, Lin (and their adorable daughter, Vivi, who always does such an amazing job playing kuji!) :) He was always so nice in his comments on his channel and Instagram, and after watching his videos for a while, I felt comfortable enough to get in touch and order my first ever ichiban kuji! Thankyou Horacio for being so friendly and awesome, and for playing kuji for me!!

So without further ado, it's time to show you what I won! I will include the YouTube videos too so you can watch the ticket process :) The first ever kuji's that I played were a San-X Sumikko Gurashi one & a Nintendo Kirby one! Keep reading to see my prizes! 

You should totally watch the entire video, especially if you are a fan of all things kawaii & of arcade games, but if you'd like to watch my kuji winnings first, it's at 7:50 minutes in :) I bought three tickets for the Sumikko lottery and four for the Kirby, and I am so happy with my first prizes!! They are all really adorable! That's something that I love about playing ichiban kuji, that no matter what you win, all of the prizes are fantastic so even though you're always hoping that you get a top prize, you are never disappointed because you still get a super cute item! 

Ichiban Kuji Japan Award

If you didn't watch the video and preferred to just read my post, here are the prizes that I won! My tickets from the Sumikko Gurashi were F, D & F! This means that I won two little decorative plates and a fancy character spoon. Then, for the Kirby lottery, my tickets revealed an E, G, F & F, winning me a towel, a glass and two charms. Yayyy!! Everything I got is so cute! 

Just in case you were curious... the prizes that were available in this Sumikko Gurashi lottery were: A- Plushie of a character & food, B- Plushie of the Cat character (Neko), C- Plushie of the Dinosaur character (Tokage), D- a character spoon (two different versions to choose from), E- a glass (four different ones available), F- a mini decorative plate (six designs to pick from) & the last ticket prize: another character plushie (Penguin? wearing an adorable little apron). As for the Kirby lottery, the prizes were as follows: A- the most adorable big Kirby plushie!!, B- a mini table , C- a water bottle, D- a plate (four different variations to select from), E- a glass (again, four designs available), F- a charm (five varieties), G- a towel (also five to choose from) and I think the last prize was another plushie, of sleeping Kirby this time! 

Now, let's take a closer look at my items! 

Ichiban Kuji Japan Award

The first thing that I want to say about these items is that every single one of them is fantastic quality and very well made. Secondly, LOOK HOW CUTE THEY ARE!! I can't express enough how much I love kuji, and another reason  for this is that almost all of the items are useful! A lot of kujis have very practical prizes like cutlery and dinnerware, and even though, I might not be able to bring myself to ever use them for their intended purpose, they're still very useful! Even the tiny decorative plates can be used for storing small jewellery items and such, but I just want to display them as is so that you can see the pretty design!

Sumikko Gurashi Kuji 2018

Kirby Ichiban Kuji Japan Award

Talking of their pretty design... aren't they just so lovely!? I have been a fan of San-X ever since my early teens, when I discovered the adorable seal character Mamegoma, and I hadn't loved another set of characters as much until Sumikko Gurashi was brought to my attention. I was sent some Sumikko items in a kawaii subscription box and adored it from that day on! My favourite character is Tokage the dinosaur, who everyone thinks is a lizard! This is because his name means lizard in Japanese, but also because the character, according to the San-X website, is 'actually the last of the dinosaurs' who 'pretends to be a lizard to avoid being caught'. What a sweet little backstory! I am a big fan of reptiles so it's no surprise that he's my favourite, and I was really glad that Japan Award chose this plate for me! I am very happy to have the polar bear too because he's just as cute and his character's personality matches my own, as he's very shy. His name is Shirokuma, which relates to 'white bear' in Japanese. Which is your favourite out of the two character plates I won? 

I am in love with the design of this Kirby glass! It's brilliant, and I really like that it's different all the way around the glass, with three versions of Kirby designs and lots of colourful sweeties. I'd include photos of all the Kirby's but this post is already going to be super long and pic heavy! I'm probably going to use it as a pen pot or something, because I don't want to risk the design being worn away, if I was to use it to actually drink out of. The glass feels very sturdy which is awesome, and it was my favourite out of the available designs :) 

Kirby Ichiban Kuji  2018

Kirby Ichiban Kuji 2018 Japan Award

I was so surprised when I opened up the packaging to discover that the towel was in fact not a face cloth size like I thought it was! It is a long hand-towel and I am super impressed. From the five towels that were available, there are three face cloth ones and two big ones, so I feel lucky that I got one of the bigger ones! It's a lot softer than I was expecting too and would feel lovely to use, if I can ever persuade myself to use it :D haha! I love the little Sakura flowers all over it, too. And finally, the last prizes I won from my first ever kuji games were these amazing Kirby charms!! 

Out of all of the charms available, the Taiyaki one was my absolute favourite and I wanted to win this prize from the moment I found out about the kuji! I'm very happy that Japan Award chose it for me! A Taiyaki is a Japanese dessert, that is basically a cake-like treat that is shaped like a fish and is filled traditionally with sweet red bean paste but you can also get it with ice-cream, custard, etc. One day, I will try one! But until then, I have this cute little charm! I'm not sure what the other dessert charm is but it's got Kirby on it so I love it! I also really like the little star detail. I can't wait to attach these to one of my bags and show them off :)

If you thought that was it for the kuji, then SURPRISE! I couldn't just stop at these two when I found out that there was a Sanrio Cinnamoroll kuji coming up! I love this character; next to Kuromi (my best girl!) and Hello Kitty, Cinnamoroll and his friends are my next favourite Sanrio characters! I always loved that they were named after hot drinks, and the character Mocha was my favourite of the lot when I was a teenager. Anyhow, before I get carried away with myself... here are my Cinnamoroll wins! 

This video is filled with so much kuji cuteness & you can check out what everyone else playing won too, but again if you want to find mine quickly, skip to 2:46. In the kuji's run by the Sanrio store, the tickets contain numbers rather than letters. There are always a lot more prize categories/numbers in their kuji lotteries too! In this Cinnamoroll ichiban kuji, the prizes you could win were: 1- a vacuum cleaner (haha, random! but nevertheless adorable!), 2- a plushie, 3- a wall pocket/pouch, 4- a soap dispenser, 5- a bag, 6- a mini bin, 7- a sponge set, 8- a flat pouch/case, 9- a money box, & the last prize, which was a plushie backpack! 1, 2 & 3 are the top prizes, equivalent to A, B, C  in other lotteries. I purchased five tickets for this kuji. Which prizes did I get? 

 Ichiban Kuji Japan Award

Another thing that I really like about kuji prizes is that they always come so well packaged, either in bags or boxes, to prevent them from getting damaged and it means that I can store them away easy right now whilst I'm in the process of decorating. So as you can see above, my prizes are 3, 4, 7, 8 & 9. So YES!! That means I got one of the top prizes!! (Thankyou Vivi-chan for choosing this ticket for me!!) No.3 is the wall pocket, which is just so lovely!! 

If you watched the video, you might notice that one of my prizes does not match up... and that's because I actually won two no.9 prizes originally. However, the Japan Award community is filled with the nicest people who are always willing to help each other out, and I was contacted by another player to ask if I wanted to swap my duplicate money box, for one of her double prizes. I chose the sponge set because I was so curious to find out what they looked like! 

Sanrio Cinnamoroll Kuji 2018

Here's what everything looks like out of packaging, and oh my gosh, if I look at this picture too long, I might collapse from cuteness overload!! I don't know which item to talk about first, I just love everything so much! These prizes make me wish I was back at university where I had my own bathroom so that I could fill it with all this kawaii goodness! Although I'm totally tempted to remove the top of the soap dispenser and put a little artificial flower in there instead! :D Which is your favourite Cinnamoroll item? Let me know in the comments! 

Sanrio Cinnamoroll Kuji 2018

How awesome that you get three different-coloured sponges! I knew that you got a set but I thought that they would all be the same, so I was glad to discover that I had a green one, a yellow one & a blue one inside the box. They are surprisingly great quality for such a small sponge, and I love that they are novelty shaped, VS a standard square sponge just with a Cinnamoroll pattern on! I think it's great that there's three, as I will now be more likely to use two because I can still save one to keep perfect.

 I love the simplistic design of these items because they would look fabulous displayed in a room with any colour scheme, and there's just something so pretty about simple designs that aren't too busy and 'in your face'. I can't wait to start filling up my new puppy bank :D Another thing that many people don't know is that Cinnamoroll is actually a puppy! I didn't find out until I'd been a fan of the character for quite a few years, and it makes perfect sense now because of his big, floppy ears. I always wondered if he was some sort of cloud X rabbit creature? A kawaii marshmallow man?? :D But alas, he's a puppy. 

Sanrio Cinnamoroll Kuji 2018

Sanrio Cinnamoroll Kuji 2018

My favourite thing about this kuji has to be all of the pastel colours. Everything looks so nice! I adore the print on this 'flat pouch', it's really pretty! It's an interesting pouch and I've never had anything like it before... inside the sides are thickly padded so you can't fit much in it but I think it's cool for storing anything that you want to keep from getting creased, like important documents or letters if you're on your way to the post office, stuff like that :) I might use it to store gig tickets in or receipts that I need to keep handy. Oh, or even loose sticker sheets so they don't get folded just laying around in a drawer. Also, the pouch is made out of a great quality material, which is silky to touch. 

Finally, my top prize, the wall pocket!! Most importantly, it is super adorable! I've said that about pretty much everything in this post, but this item in particular just looks so flippin' cute! I like that it's both functional and adorable, with those plushie characters (Cinnamoroll and Milk, who's a baby). The material they are made out of is really soft, and they've used the same material to line the pockets too. I love that the plastic pockets themselves have designs on them, because they could have just made them plain and the entire item would have still been awesome! I also really like that the item is not too big. I've already decided that I'm going to use it to store my mail in, one pouch for incoming letters that I receive so I don't lose them and to remind myself to reply and whatnot, and the other pouch for outgoing mail that needs taking to the post office. 

Ichiban Kuji Japan Award

So those are all of the ichiban kuji lottery prizes that I won in my first haul from the marvellous Japan Award! If you are a fellow fan of Japanese nerdy culture, then definitely go and show them some love and give them a follow on YouTube and Instagram. I hope that you all enjoyed today's post! If so, be sure to keep a look out for more in the future. In fact, there's a few items I did not show you... but you'll have to wait for another post all about them, which will be up in a week or so :) Have an excellent rest of the week guys!

Thankyou for reading!


Had you ever heard of Ichiban Kuji before reading my post?

I'd love to hear what your favourite item in this post is & why. 
Also, do you have a favourite Sanrio or San-X character? 



  1. AHH Sarah it's so cool that you took part in a kuji! :D They're so much fun aren't they? :D I've not taken part in one for a while but I've bought and been gifted items from kujis and they're just such unique and gorgeous products!

    I love all of your wins, especially the Kirby charms and the Cinnamoroll soap dispenser! :D

    I'm going to check out Japan Award now!

    I love watching videos like those so I've needed a new YouTuber to follow. :P

    You got your eye on anymore kujis? :D


    1. Thankyou!! They really are, I'm officially hooked! :D They are fantastic, and I really love that they are exclusive to the kuji :3 I've played quite a few kujis since these, and I'll have a new blog post up all about them soon! Definitely check out Japan Award's videos, they're so fun! :) x


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