Also caring is sharing, so get your friends and family one too because you will be helping small farmers/producers throughout Japan.
There are all too many reasons why you should care about Kokoro Care Packages (KCP) which is why out of all the snack, candy, tea, to food-related monthly and quarterly subscriptions, I am doing a post specifically about co-founders Lillian Rowlatt and Aki Sugiyama (I have not bothered to do that for any other subscription company. Not because I’m lazy, I just don’t care enough).
THE TLDR (THE SHORT VERSION)
You love small-batch and artisanal products delivered to your doorstep from Japan either monthly or quarterly.
IF YOU CARE TO KNOW WHAT YOU GET
Food items from seasonings, sauces, soups, to teas that are direct from regional farmers and producers in Japan, like the people and producers below:
Even with global warming threatening their way of life in Kyushu, the Doi farm is striving to produce an eco-friendly, organic, and premium rice product.
Located in the Karimizu area in Obama-cho Unzen city, Nagasaki, you’ll find a quiet village overlooking a picturesque blue ocean. This is the home of Atelier Aiakane. A company that produces indigo plants that are famous for dying fabric.
A 200 year tradition of producing a soy sauce that takes 3 years to produce. If that isn’t cool enough, check out the full interview with Atsuko Okabe, the executive director of Marunaka Shoyu to read about her family tradition brewing soy sauce – a little teaser about this soy sauce is that it is one out of approximately 1,300 soy sauce breweries throughout Japan, but Marunaka utilizes soybeans and wheat that uses pesticide-free cultivation and have complete traceability.
Ever heard of “gagome” kelp? If that answer is “no,” it’s also the reason why you should subscribe to KCP because you can cross off eating gagome konbu off of your bucket list of things to eat (one of five varieties of seaweed in the Konbumura seaweed salad and it is of course from Hokkaido).
60+ years, Takaaki Amamiya, the founder of Asaya Vinegar has been focused on creating a world-class wine vinegar made entirely from Japanese grapes in Yamanashi Prefecture.
Want to bring a community together, give them the Vegetable Park (who wouldn’t want that over a football or basketball team). If you doubt that, maybe you need to try the Vegetable Parks brown rice/amazake jam. Yea, I know, you’re like WTF is a amazake and why is it a jam (wait till you see their mascot Aspergillus oryzae, I joke tho).
Pesticide-free yuzu from Tokushima. The company, Yuzurikko was founded by the 66-year old Sumie Misawa (on the right).
Very cool backstory for these two, Gyoho who was born in China in 1963 and Airi was born in Tokyo, but grew up in the United States. Except, the best part is that they both love food/nature/traveling, so they now live in Ishigaki (an island in Okinawa) where they both produce their popular Ishigaki Gourmet Chili Oil. #relationshipgoals
Organic umeboshi in Kumano, Wakayama prefecture that has been producing organic ume for the past 13 years and cultivating ume for 70 years. The organic part is a big deal as it is very difficult to get organic certification in Japan and less than 1% of the ume produced in Wakayama are organic.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
I talk so much crap about all the snack and candy businesses because they all seem to have a friend who asked them to send them stuff which is why they started a business. If you do not think that is a good enough reason to start a business like I do, I’ll give you a worthy cause for you to support.
That business that is deserving of your massive disposable income is Kokoro Care Packages (KCP) because unlike other businesses that sell products from large mega conglomerate companies, KCP helps regional farmers to small-batch producers from Japan.
WHO SHOULD CARE
- For starters, YOU because you are on this page.
- That friend/BFF/FWB/etc. that has a love for Japanese food.
- Your cook/chef friend wanting to expand their repertoire of ingredients beyond soy sauce and furikake.
- Anybody who loves to try food from regional producers in Japan in which many of them have a long standing history doing what they do.
IF YOU CARE, SUBSCRIBE
Nourishing Essentials Care Package
How much (*monthly to annually): click the links to go to the order page.
Seasonal Delights Care Package
How much (*quarterly subscription): click the links to go to the order page.
*Prices are subject to change – prices are as of 10/18/19. It also pays to commit.
CARE TO GET TO KNOW LILLIAN AND AKI
Fun facts about Lillian Rowlett:
- I’m half-Japanese (my mother is from Osaka), half-English, 100% Canadian and living in Los Angeles. An international woman of mystery!
- My middle name is Hanako which is a traditional Japanese name meaning “flower child”.
- I lived in Kashiwazaki-shi, Niigata-ken for two years teaching English on the JET Programme. Niigata is famous for making the best sake in Japan and for its huge snowfalls. I quickly learnt that warm sake is the best way to stay warm in winter!
- I’m a bit of a math nerd and was ranked #1 in North America for 14 years while taking Kumon as a child.
- I’m a terrible singer yet love to hold the mic in karaoke. Apologies to your ears.
Fun facts about Aki Sugiyama:
- I am half Okinawan (half Saitama and half Okinawa) and was born and raised in Tokyo. Ishigaki island in Okinawa, which is located next to Taiwan, is my second hometown.
- I’m a fitness competitor and have represented Japan on the global stage (yay!).
- I love books, coffee, the gym and of course, all types of FOOD (except for carrots)!
- Though I started to learn English with the goal of studying in the US, I actually ended up in Australia. I still dream of living in the US someday. Someone, please take me there!
- I worked in finance as a currency option trader and software testing lead.
I have been sent subscription boxes before, along with being paid referral fees of upwards of $5 per box, but I do like the service from Kokoro Care Packages (there is no referral money either) which is why I still plan on providing as much in-depth information as I can to promote their business. Also, they did send me one package, but I would have done it without getting one – if I like a company, I’m down AF to promote them although I do have to admit that it is better to have something to eat with my gohan or to snack on tho.
I’m going to dig into their most recent “nourishing essentials” box.