Sunday, 27 September 2020

Playing Ichiban Kuji with Japan Award: Plushies Galore!

Hello & Happy Sunday, guys! Apologies that my post is super late and that I randomly took a week off, but last week was filled with hard work in the garden, mostly lots of clearing and loading old junk into a skip. I was too exhausted to function afterwards and it took me a good few days to recover, but most of the pesky garden stuff is out of the way for now. I also had more clearing of stuff inside to do, since we finally had the opportunity to throw things out with hiring the skip. Woo! Adulting sucks... :D I have also come down with a cold, which isn't helping! Currently, my concentration levels are almost non-existent. Oh well, nevermind. At least a post is here now! 

It's been too long since I last blogged about one of my favourite YouTube channels, Japan Award. This fantastic channel is dedicated to Japanese nerd life: ichiban kuji, arcade games & toys! Some of the things that make my kawaii little heart super happy :) 

I've shared all about playing kuji through Japan Award before; click here if you'd like to read my previous posts ♥ However, it's been quite a while since then and I've played lots! A few of my friends have told me they'd be interested in reading all about the adorable plushies I have gathered, and so being the ever-eager-to-please person I am... I'm delivering, haha. Enjoy!

A photograph of a sleeping fox-looking Pokemon plush

I usually start off my Japan Award posts by giving an introduction to the fabulous game that is ichiban kuji, so I guess that's what I should do now! Ichiban kuji, mostly referred to as simply kuji, is Japanese for 'number one lottery'. It's an activity that involves buying tickets to win prizes :) Something that I absolutely adore about kuji is that you always win, so it's not like those ticketed fairground games you guys might remember playing during your childhood, where most of the time, you walk away after spending far too much money trying to pull a ticket ending in a 0 or a 5, with no prize to show for it! 

As I said, each and every ichiban kuji ticket coincides with a prize, all of which are usually brilliant because they are themed, and you wouldn't be playing that particular lottery if you weren't interested in the fandom/theme itself anyway!  The aim of the game is to pull one of the top prizes, which are typically A, B & C. There are fewer of these tickets up for grabs, and obviously more of the lower letters, i.e. F prize. Most people I know actually want to win some of the lower prizes, and so you can play the game however it suits you. For example, I am a huge fan of charms/keychains. These are usually in E, F or G categories and often come in blind box form. If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you'll know that I LOVE blind boxes!! 

A photograph showing a label for a Japanese plushie

Anyway, most of the time, A prizes, and even sometimes B & C, are big plushies that are exclusive to the kuji and thus are highly sought after. I see a lot of them ending up on eBay being sold for ridiculously high prizes >.< ugh. It's really not fair when you are normally looking at only £7-£15 per ticket. It really does feel epic to win a massive limited edition plush for like £8, one that would easily cost you £30+ from kawaii supplies in the UK!

I hope I explained that well enough :) I tend to go off on a tangent when I'm excited! I still can't believe I won these plushies though!! Despite having pretty much ran out of space to store and/or display them, I couldn't be happier to have them in my collection! The quality is always superb, as well. But, it's about time you guys saw them for yourselves.... 

A photo of a big kirby plushie. He is a round, pink character from nintendo games.

LOOK! It's everyone's favourite round pink boy, Kirby! This is the first A prize I ever won, so I had to show him off first. He was a part of the Banpresto KIRBY STYLE Relax ichiban kuji. Almost all kujis are hosted by the company Banpresto, which you might of heard of already if you're a fan of anime figures. I won him back in November 2018, but didn't receive him until early 2019 as Japan Award always lets me start a box that I can fill with kawaii goodies over time, until it's full and ready to be shipped. It's amazing :) 

I was over the moon when I won this adorable guy! Because throughout my life, I'd never seemed to have much luck when it came to winning prizes and whatnot. Since then, the magic of Kirby seems to have unlocked my winning streak! And thus, I've got a bunch of top prizes to show you all. 

A label for a nintendo kirby plush won playing ichiban kuji

I love the texture of this huge Kirby plushie; it makes him so fuzzy to snuggle! The design is so sweet. I mean, look at those rosy cheeks!! I've always loved Kirby's big feet/shoes, so naturally that's one of the best features for me. They are usually bright red, but I really like the more muted salmon shade that they've chosen for the design of this plush. I like the overall colour scheme in general, as I'm used to Kirby being super bright pink. It's a nice change to see him in pastel. 

His vibrant blue eyes are precious. They are very 'puppy eyes', wouldn't you agree? And his hat is lovely, especially with the pom-pom on top. Are you a fan of round pink boy? What do you think of this plush? 

A photo of a blue dinosaur plush. His name is Tokage and he is from the Japanese San-X franchise Sumikko Gurashi. He is wearing a clover-leaf crown.

It's Tokage!!! My favourite Sumikko Gurashi character ever! Oh my gosh, I am soooo delighted that I have a plushie of him now. And how amazing that it's so big and squishy and special!! *imagine squealing here*. Tokage is the word for lizard in Japanese and if you didn't know already, lizards (and reptiles in general) are my favourite - herpetology is my jam :)

The story behind this character is too cute: 'Tokage is actually the last of the dinosaurs. It pretends to be a lizard to avoid being caught'. Awww! I can't help but love him the most out of all the other Sumikko Gurashi characters. I very much love the sky blue colour of this character, and it matches so well with the green 'clover' crown. Green is my all-time favourite colour, and blue sky follows that, so the colour scheme is perfect for me! 

A photo showing the tail of a dinosaur plush. It's blue and is a character from the franchise Sumikko Gurashi

This particular kuji was called 'I Met Brother Neko'. Neko is another character in the franchise by San-x. The A Prize was a plush of Neko himself and as you can see, B prize was the lovely Tokage. I played this kuji back in February 2019. Japan Award actually bought out an entire set of ichiban kuji because it was in very popular demand with viewers. He did a live stream on YouTube, pulling our names at random and getting his adorable daughter, Vivi-chan, to open tickets for us  It was super fun to watch! 

My name was pulled last in the draw, which is fantastic!! This is because all ichiban kujis have a 'last prize', meaning there's a special prize just for the person who purchases the last remaining ticket available. You get two prizes for the price of one! It's such a lovely gesture for Banpresto and the other companies involved to offer this, because kuji is amazing so people would play regardless of this, which makes the last prize like a huge thankyou for your patronage gift, and I won it! Eeeee!!

And so, I got another massive, huggable plushie, this time of Shirokuma, a polar bear who dislikes the cold weather, haha! Isn't she the sweetest? I absolutely adore the flower crown she's holding. It's so bright and eye-catching, since it stands out against Shirokuma's white 'fur'. Her little pastel pink ears are super cute, too! Do you prefer this plush or the Tokage one? 

A photo of a polar bear plush from the Japanese franchise Sumikko Gurashi. It is holding a colouring flower crown

Now it's Eevee's turn :) I won the adorable plushie, that you can see in the first photo on today's post, playing the kuji 'Eievui & Melodies'. Eievui is the Japanese name for the Pokemon Eevee. This was such a gorgeous kuji for a Pokemon fan like me! Vaporeon happens to be my favourite Pokemon so I couldn't have been more thrilled when I saw that the kuji was themed on Eevee and all of its eeveelutions. I was delighted at the prospect of winning some Vaporeon goodies! 

And I did just that! I got a blind box charm of Vaporeon, plus a towel featuring it, along with lots of other wonderful prizes! It was an spectacular kuji and I still cannot get over the fact that I actually won the B prize. Let's take a closer look at it! 

A photo of a plush attached to a pillow, of the pokemon Eevee and a piano. Won playing Japanese game, ichiban kuji

If you hadn't guessed from the name, this kuji was music-themed. All of the keychain charms, for example, featured each Eeveelution with a different instrument. Vaporeon had a harp, and I also won an Eevee & Umbreon. Umbreon was standing on a keyboard and Eevee had a background of music notes. I actually won a duplicate Vaporeon, but luckily, I had a friend who also played and she wanted to trade her duplicate Leafeon charm for my Vaporeon. Leafeon is my second favourite of the Eeveelutions, and he came alongside a violin. How pretty they are all! If you guys are interested in seeing my charms, let me know and I can share a photo over on my instagram. 

Anyway, the B prize features a sleeping Eevee on a piano. What's not to love about this design!? I've always wanted one of the sleepy Eeveelution plushies that are sold at the Pokemon Centre stores, and now I have one... and it's so much more cool because mine's also a cushion. The cushion is made of a smooth, satin-like material which isn't something I'd enjoy resting my head against, but it's lovely for displaying nonetheless. The Eevee plush itself is very soft, and I kind of wish that he was detachable. But I'm still happy with winning him. The A Prize was an Eevee plush dressed in a bow-tie, fashioned to look like a orchestral composer! Super cute :) 

A photo showing the label of an Eevee plush won playing ichiban kuji. It is decorated with colourful music notes.

I also have a couple of smaller plushies to show you all. I won them playing two of the Sanrio ichiban kujis, 'Sanrio Characters All Stars' and 'Sanrio White Winter'. When it comes to Sanrio kujis, the prizes are categorised using numbers VS letters, and instead of having various colour and style options available for specific prizes, such as E prize being a towel, where the winner will get one of four different designs, with Sanrio kujis, each individual variation will be lettered. That was tough to explain in a sentence... I hope it made sense :D This means that there ends up being 50+ prizes available and it can get confusing. 

One of the tickets that Japan Award pulled for me whilst playing the Sanrio Characters All Stars kuji was a 5, which won me a plush puppet of Pochacco. It's really sweet and I used to love these kinds of puppet plushies when I was a kid. However, Pochacco is one of my least favourite Sanrio characters and I would have preferred to win one of the other puppets available: Cinnamoroll, Hello Kitty or Keroppi. I'll probably end up giving this prize to my niece when she's a little older, so it's still an awesome win :) Who's your favourite Sanrio character, by the way? Mine are Pompompurin, Corocorokuririn and Kiki of the Little Twin Stars. 

A photo showing two sanrio plushies, one of a puppy in a red shirt and the other of a blue-haired boy with a star

Speaking of Kiki! This is him; the blue-haired boy twin from the Little Twin Stars franchise. He has a sister called Lala who has pink hair, and they are the loveliest pair of pastel buddies ever! I have never seen something Little Twin Stars themed that I didn't love! These cuties have a story behind them, that they were born on a star inside a dream cloud and that they travelled to Earth so that they could learn to be the shiniest, greatest stars they could be. Cannot get more adorable than that, right? I love stars and anything starry-patterned, so along with the pastel colours, I think that's what drew me to these characters as a teenager. 

You can imagine how happy I was when I discovered I had won Prize 2, of which you could get either Kiki or Lala, and thankfully I got Kiki! The quality of this plush is so fantastic. The fabric used is so smooth and the attention to detail on his outfit is marvellous. I love the ribbon bow with pom-poms under his chin. And the star on his back, of course! 

A photo showing a hand puppet of a puppy by the Japanese brand Sanrio, along with a small plush of a boy with blue hair

The final plushie that I'm including in today's post wasn't one that I won playing kuji. But as I mentioned before, Japan Award also shares videos featuring the wonder that is Japanese arcades. They look incredible & the prizes you can win there compare to nowhere else in the world! Before the corona virus came along, Japan Award would often visit arcades to pick up certain toys for his customers and share videos over on Instagram stories. I spotted the most adorable Amuse plush ever whilst watching Japan Award's stories and I had a mighty need!! 

I collect Amuse plushies and I have several now. Each time I go to Comic Con, I can't come home without something by Amuse, as they make the most fabulous plushies ever! I once blogged about my collection, which has grown quite a bit since then but click here if you would like to have a look at some of my other Amuse plushies :) I asked Japan Award to try to win me a super cute pink hippo plush!! I've only ever seen probably two hippopotamus plushies in my life until seeing this one, and none of them were nearly as precious as this one! It reminds me of a Moomin!! 

A photo of a giant pink hippopotamus plush from Japan

If you also loved the show The Moomins growing up, you will understand how much this resembles one and I couldn't not get it because it's massive and so soft and perfect and squidgy and he is now the best plush in my entire Amuse collection (sorry Alpacasso's!). I don't remember how much Japan Award won it for now because so much has happened in my life since then, but it was a fantastic price for such an amazing plush and nowhere near the price you'd be looking at for a Japanese plush of this size here. My photo doesn't really show how big it is either, but its head hangs off the top of my square unit! I am very impressed with this plush and his name is Smushy-Smush, if you guys wanted to know :D 

A photo of a label for a pink hippo plush toy from Japan. There is an illustration of a hippo and a rhino.

The labels for Japanese products are like no other! They are always so cute and colourful and enticing for a kawaii lover like myself! I am super thankful that I stumbled upon Japan Award's channel in my suggestions one day. They're so brilliant and I am very happy that I'm now able to get so much gorgeous Japanese merchandise :) Thankyou for always being so lovely to talk to and for searching for things I want; you're awesome, Japan Award!! Definitely go and give their channel a follow, and don't forget to check out their instagram, too. I can't recommend them enough! 

A photo showing a collection of plushies won playing the Japanese Ichiban Kuji game: a hippo, a dog, a polar bear, a nintendo character called Kirby, a little boy with blue hair, the pokemon eevee and a dinosaur

I really hope you guys enjoyed reading all about my ichiban kuji haul/entire collection of plushies won via Japan Award. I had a lot of fun writing all about them and showing you guys the cuteness overload! I guess that's a positive to me not blogging as often this year... you get to see a load of cute things all at once :) Please let me know if you'd like to see similar posts in the future, because they are my favourite to do. I hope you've all had a great weekend, and wishing you a fantastic week to come. It will be my birthday week!! 

Thankyou for reading!

Have you ever played ichiban kuji? Or purchased some of the prizes online afterwards?

Do you have a favourite Japanese franchise/character? 

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  1. Oh my gosh you go soooo lucky I love the Eevee, in fact I love all the plushie they are sooo cute xoxo

  2. I don't really own any plushies, but these are adorable!! Love that Eevee one :) Tania xx | Tania Michele

  3. these plushies look soooo cute *_*

  4. Thanks for sharing this great content. It is really informative and useful.,
    Baby clothes from Japan
    Gudetama Plushies

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