7/10/09

Farewell

Ichiban Kan Online Store closed effective July 7, 2009. We, the online staff at Ichiban Kan as well as the rest of our employees would like to thank you for shopping through our web store. Online store closure will in no way affect our retail locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Our customer service staff will take care of any issues with your orders until July 28, 2009. To contact us, simply reply to the order or shipping confirmation email.

We will dearly miss you all. Thank you so much for many heart-warming comments through our online message form, on the blog, facebook and twitter during the past two weeks. We are sorry if you could not buy a complete set of a particular lunch box product line as we were closing. We transferred all stocks of popular items at the warehouse to the online store in order to prepare for a high volume of last orders; however, some items sold out quicker than others as usual...

As for our blog, facebook and twitter, we are trying to find somebody who can maintain our accounts.

We again thank you for your business. When we re-open, please do come back and buy more. ;)

6/23/09

Important Message

Farewell to our loyal fans:

Ichiban Kan will be indefinitely, while we do hope to re-establish our online presence in the future.

As soon as items are sold out, our online store will be closed. Please rest assured that if you have a problem with your order after our store is closed, our customer service staff will still take care of any issue for your satisfaction.

We are sincerely grateful for having had so many customers who enjoy our products since April 2008. It has been fun, challenging and rewardng for us to build this online store every day. We loved hearing from you and will miss interacting with you on social media and through our contact form. If it wasn't for you, we couldn't have grown this much.

If you are ever in the bay area, please stop by one of our retail locations which will all remain open.

We wish you a fun, safe and healthy summer.
Yours truly,

Ichiban Kan Online Store

6/19/09

New Items

Do you like this set? Take a look at the cup, bowl and tea pot.

Have you checked out new Hakoya boxes & chopsticks caps?
We couldn't import as many as we ordered from Hakoya, which means they are selling them out and will probably not manufacture any more. Again we are offering great prices on these boxes you cannot find anywhere else!

Bio Keeper Containers are food containers our buyer highly recommends. Newly developed plastic materials along with 100% air-tight lids keep your food fresher and longer.
In this container, food will have less freezer burn and frost on it, compared to comparative products from other manufactures.

"Educational" origami paper contains English instruction sheets on common shapes. This will be a fun way to make origami crafts with your kids!

We will be introducing more ceramic items soon.

6/15/09

Just saw it on the news

Read about a really "cool" lunch box in Japanese news over the weekend.

Gel Cool (only in Japanese) is a bento box product line that has gel ice inside a lid. You simply freeze the lid over night and it will keep the boxed meal evenly nice and chilly for 3-4 hours under an 80F degree environment.

If any of you has a friend/family member in Japan or is planning on visiting Japan, you can purchase it on their web site or visit one of the retail locations.

It looks like this is the only company who manufactures this type of boxes as of now. Very clever!

6/12/09

Reviewed Products

Here are some products recently reviewed:

As we don't get to test all items, we often learn about products we carry from these reviews. As we mentioned before, we do screen for obscene words, but do not reject any comments based on the review ratings. We thank customers who contributed to product reviews so far!

Magnet Hook #4560177462873 $1.25

7 Pack Bubble Gum #21_046572800075 $0.89

Magnifying Glass #4954390200044 $1.50

Extra-tight Food Container T #4955959123019 $1.50

Noriten Fried Seaweed #21_4985636007257 $2.29

Natural Lunch Drink Bottle #4965534857710 $1.50

Disposable Bathtub Sheets #4956810212842 $1.00

6/7/09

Some recent FAQ

Some frequently asked questions:

#1: What happened to Clickety Click?
As announced several times before, Clickety Click has ceased and the TomoTomo line has replaced CC.
Due to its discontinued status, we are no longer able to import CC.

What's up with the inconsistent animal designs of TomoBoy and Girl? When we received the catalog from the manufacturer, we thought the same!
Manufacturer designed the product line that way, and that's why we do not have a set of items in one animal, for example, TomoBoy's 2-tier box is bear and tight seal box giraffe, and so on.

As for Putifresh, it's also being discontinued. To the best of our knowledge, the manufacturer has not designed any replacement line.

#2: Are you planning on carrying more food picks, sauce bottles, food dividers, etc?
We know that there are more lunch decoration goodies in the Japanese market. As you are aware, we offer super low prices because we rely on items available for low purchase costs (which does not mean inferior quality). While we would love to increase offerings, it's also hard to get good deals on everything!

#3: Are you going to offer international shipping any time soon?
We were very hopeful to expand our delivery areas, but USPS has been somewhat unreliable and we are not confident about using them internationally yet. :(

6/4/09

Thai Salad

Made Thai Clear Noodle Salad! I used shrimps, one shalott and cilantro. Looks good, doesn't it?
It was very easy and took only 10 minutes. The lemony salad sauce contains fish sauce, but it didn't taste or smell much fish sauce. My husband is not a fan of fish sauce, but he didn't complain about detecting it in the salad. Rather he was surprised that it was spicier than it looked. If you like spicy food, you will love it!
One thing I would change next time is to decrease the amount of shalott to 1/2 to 1/4, and include green onion/scallion and bean sprouts for crunchy texture.

Serving size is 2-4 people as an appetizer or a side dish.

5/15/09

Sweat-it-out Bath Salts?


Bath salts with capsaicin, an active heat-producing component of chili peppers, are our newest additions to the growing Japanese Bath Salts category.

The rather radical Japanese product names suggest that these bath salts create an intense heat and burning sensation, so we were very intrigued by the products. We also wanted to make sure product safety before selling them to our loyal customers. The last thing we want to hear is that these bath salts burned somebody's skin!

So, one of our staff who has a nice deep bath tub at home is trying out one a day. Dokkan Bath Salt 1oz and Kangeki Bath Salt 1.7oz have been tested so far. 3 more to go!
Although we were initially going to name these items "Sweat-it-out ...," we changed our mind because it turned out that these bath salts don't really produce a sauna-like effect unless water is super hot. It does smell like spicy red chili peppers when opening the package, so plenty of capsaicin is indeed contained, just not felt on skin.
Soon after sweet fruity & floral scent surrounds you, which is quite enjoyable. Overall, these bath salts offer you a pleasant bath time.

5/5/09

Adding more and more!

The web team got a bit more warehouse space for food, so we are increasing our food offerings.

Finally we have Caramel Corn Original, which has recently been reviewed on SF Weekly.
If you've liked miso soup, 3 more varieties are now stocked. :)
Hello Kitty Marshmallow is one of the recent items we are really excited about. The jelly inside does taste strawberry. The cute package is also kids friendly.

Along with food, we are bringing more Japanese hair and body care products.

Since Palty has been more popular than anticipated, Sparkling Blonde and Natural Black have been added. The other colors should be restocked sometime soon.
White hair dyes made by the same manufacturer as Palty are also in stock for those who need a quick hair color fix before going out, etc.
A value set of Kracie (formerly Kanebo) Naive Face Wash is a really good deal, too!

In any case, don't miss out these awesome items at the "new" section!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Stay away from flu!

4/29/09

Children's Day (Kodomo no Hi)


Children's Day falls on Tuesday, May 5 in Japan.

This holiday is part of the "Golden Week," a period of several successive national holidays. People commonly take the entire week off and go on vacations. Children's Day is a holiday to celebrate children's well-being and happiness.

The name Children's Day is misleading, though, as this is a day for boys celebrated with carp kites and the traditional Japanese military helmet which represents masculine strength.

In recognition of the national holiday, the JCCCNC in SF presents the annual Children's Day Festival in Japantown on May 2.

4/28/09

Recently updated neat stuff

Just in time for the swine flu outbreak: now 3 types of masks are available. I just caught a nasty cold last week. Masks came in handy to prevent my cold virus from spreading to others in the office.
3D mask 3P (3layers), 3D mask 5P (2 layers), mask with catechin sheet

Non-calorie fruits jelly: sweet and soft just like jello
Fruits jelly full of fibers: nice fruity taste just like non-calorie ones. firmer than ordinary jelly.

Seasonal Japanese summer staples: ceramic wind chimes, glass wind chimes

Yummy caramel corn puff snacks in charming packages

More origami papers like this one

4/16/09

Quick Update

You might want to check out "Long time no see" category (and maybe "New" as well) after 6pm PT today. ;)

4/14/09

More

More information about what to be restocked:

  • Naruhodo onigiri mold Tawara and Mini
  • Boiled egg mold Fish & Car (No Rabbit & Bear)
  • Cute Egg Mold Heart & Star
  • Animal Food Picks
  • Penguin Mayo Cup
  • Silicon Food Cup 4pc and 3pc
  • Clickety Click 2-tier Box Bear, Monkey and Rabbit
  • Clickety Click Belt Bear
  • (this will be the final replenishment of CC items, sorry there isn't a full CC line available...)
  • A few of the Hakoya boxes we carried before along with new ones
  • Natural Lunch Lunch Bag Brown, Green and Pink
  • Natural Lunch mini container 3P
  • Natural Lunch Trio Utensil Set Brown, Green and Pink
  • Nohohon Park Clear Dry-Erase Board
This is just a short list. There will be more!
Be patient while we'll work hard to have items available.

4/10/09

1st Year Anniversary Special

Yes, our online store has been around for 1 year!
To thank you for your continued support, we thought about a way to show our appreciation.

From 12pm PT today through 6pm PT on April 30, our shipping fee will be $8 flat for Ground service regardless of order subtotal.
Well, you expected free shipping? We wish we could offer that, too.
This is the best we can do, given the slightly increased UPS rates and our already discounted product prices.

We were hoping to introduce new and replenished items at the same timing, but they are not here yet!

4/8/09

New food additions

Did you know the difference between panko and breadcrumbs?

Panko ("pan"=bread, "ko"=powder, crumbs) and Tempura Batter Mix are new additions to our affordable Food section.
Just like other knick knacks and snacks, our prices are lower than anyone else on the Internet (and possibly your local grocery stores)!

This New York Times article is rather old, but has a brief history of panko along with a few interesting recipes.

ps. Regular Glico Pocky and Pocky Milk have been also restocked. :)

4/1/09

San Mateo Store to Be Closed on April 19

Sadly our San Mateo Store is closing in a few weeks...
Stock up Ichiban Kan goodies before the store closes!

Tanforan store is scheduled to open in July.

3/30/09

Bento Replenishment Plans

A lot of bento-related items have been sold out. (thanks to you!)
Many must have been wondering what's happening...
Here's a brief summary of replenishment schedules for those who are eyeing on specific items.

Mid April

  • Clickety Click
  • Natural Lunch
  • Hakoya
  • Boxes from Skater (including small thermal sets)

Mid May

  • Tenmari
  • Tomo Boy & Tomo Girl (a new series that replaces Clickety Click)

* Pink and Putifresh will not be imported again.

3/27/09

Reviewed Products

So far about 40 reviews have been posted. We very much appreciate any reviews.
A few items you might have looked at in the past, but wondered about the quality...

Diamond Mechanical Pencil (Kawaii Things > Stationery)
SunnySmile W-Mayo Container (Lunch Decoration)
Smart Organizer Fridge Tray Slim (Kitchen Tools > Organization)
Starter Life Nylon Spatula - Blue Handle (Kitchen > Cooking)
Eyebrow Scissors (Personal Care)
PALTY Hair Color Almond Chocolate 08 (Hair Care)
Tom Yum Kung Thai Soup Set (Food)

3/18/09

Expanded Delivery Areas

We are happy to announce that orders to Alaska, Hawaii and APO/FPO addresses are now accepted!

Please read the shipping info first.

When you create a shipping address, please make sure to select US (Non Continental) as your country.

It's not as straightforward as we hoped, but this way we can accept orders from you.

If you encounter any issues with this, please send us a message.

3/17/09

St. Patrick's Day in Japan

During almost 20 years of my life in Japan, I never heard of St. Patrick's Day. I don't remember it being reported on TV or in the newspaper when I lived there.

It just occurred to me whether there was any celebration in Japan. Yes, there was in Tokyo! Perhaps I never knew this Irish holiday because I lived in a mid-size city?


By the way, we started twittering ->
It allows us to give you a quick, casual update and we will do our best to be active!

3/5/09

Who's the girl on Milky Candy?

Peko-chan is a 6 year-old super famous mascot of Fujiya confectionery.

One of our new snacks Fujiya Peko-chan Milky Candy is manufactured with rich condensed milk from Hokkaido in Japan. This small box contains 7 flavorful individually wrapped candies.
The milk-flavored caramel candy is a delicious treat for everybody.

Peko-chan is so adorable that some people even steal Peko-chan, risking jail time!

We've also added Kikori No Kiri Kabu chocolate snack and "momi nori" shredded seaweed. Shredded seaweed is commonly used on tofu and soba.

2/26/09

Sneak Preview

Thank you very much for your support during our transition to a different software. Our store has run a little over a week without any major incident.
Some detailed descriptions did fall through the cracks while data was moved, and we've been adding back information wherever necessary.
Most of size info and cautionary notes should be there, but if you have any concerns or quesions, please feel free to write to us from the "contact us" form.
Also, we will also fix photos that are not correctly aligned.

Yesterday we finally had some time to look for recent new items in the main warehouse. :)
Here's a collection of what we found!
This is not everything. There are additional products that weren't included in this photo due to space limitation.


To list a few...

Awesome Japanese-style mouse pads (very limited qty)
Japanese coasters
Fun scented and kneaded erasers
High quality ceramic bowls made in Japan for great values
"Palty" Hair dye

We don't mean to tease, but it might take us a few business days to complete the update.

Oh some of you asked us about Hakoya boxes. Yes, we are importing them again, but please wait for a couple of months.

2/13/09

Update on System Switch

We will terminate the current store front at 9am PT on Monday, February 16.

Then we have to upload stock quantity to the new system (keep fingers crossed!) and point the domain name to the new server.

Even if our store is ready to go, it may take up to 72 hours for the domain registrar to process the server change. In the best case scenario, we will be up and running on Monday. In the worst, our store may have to stay offline until Wednesday or Thursday.

As mentioned before, please rest assured that the variety and number of items will not change.
However, if you have many items in the cart, please take a note of those items.

For those who live in Alaska and Hawaii, we are working to figure out shipping fees for your states using USPS.

Thank you for your continued support!

2/11/09

Picture theft is not tolerated

We've been alerted that our original product photos and front page photos have been used on other commercial web sites (e.g. ebay, online stores). In some cases our photos have been even wartermarked as if they were their own.

Please do not take advantage of our hard work if you buy items from our web store and sell them*.
*we do not have a wholesale program.
If you would like to use photos produced by others, please acknowledge the source(s).

When identified, your future relationship with us will be jeopardized.

+++++++++++++++++++++++
Clarification:
Feel free to use our photos for spreading the word about our store on blogs, Kaboodle, and other social media.

2/5/09

Thermal Set and Hakoya

Just a quick update:

We will be able to offer you Thermal Sets and Hakoya boxes again in a few months!

2/3/09

Major Change

Long time no entry!

One of the staff has been under the weather for a while and we've had just enough manpower to maintain the web store and ship out orders.

In any case, we have a very important announcement today.
Due to software change, you will see a drastic change on the web store between Feb 15 and 20.
We haven't quite figured out the exact date of switch, but we will try to do it as early as possible with a minimum offline time.

We will carry over the same variety and number of items; however, bear with us if you don't initially see everything up on time. Of course, we will keep growing the number of offerings!


Good things about the new system:

+ Product reviews - this will be a nice way to exchange information and post your reviews on items. We will censor only obscene words.

+ Wish list - this is currently internal, meaning that the list will be available only within your account. The provider is optimistic about developing a public wish list function in the future.

+ Easier checkout - we hope one-page checkout will make the checkout process simpler. In addition, it will be easier to change your mind about color and design options from the cart.

+ Hawaii, Alaska, International Shipping - the new system will enable us to control shipping methods better. We are confident that we could offer expanded shipping options in the near future. Let us get the site and up and running first before expanding delivery areas... When enabling international shipping, we will start with a few selected countries.


Bad thing about the new system:

+ Customer data - our current software has a very tight security feature (which is good), so we are unable to export and import all customer-related data.
Although we could set temporary passwords and email each one of you, we think it's rather pointless since we are unable to copy sales history and customer service messages, which will be your primary interest when looking up your account.
We sincerely apologize for the convenience.

Note about orders:

Even after the web site switches to a new system, we will ship out orders using the old system for those accepted through the old one. Please rest assured that you will still receive a shipping notice in that case.


Thank you!!!!

1/13/09

Sushi at Home

Hope you all had wonderful holidays.

We are excited to have a new category on tools to make and serve sushi!

If you haven't checked out, there is also a step-by-step instruction on how to make a sushi roll on our bamboo mat pages. Sushi making may appear overwhelming, but it's actually a simple process as soon as you get the knack of making rolls with the right hand pressure.

Green tea for sushi also known as "Kona Cha" will be in stock very soon.

In addition, a few food items have been added newly.