Sunday, January 24, 2016

Un-Boxing Jaga Pokkuru - Phontom Snack of Hokkaido

I have heard about Jaga Pokkuru in the past, but I was not able to get hold of the product before due to scarcity of the product.    The manufacturer of Jaga Pokkuru (Calbee Potato Farm) limits the production due to limitation of quality potato used for the snack; therefore, this snack is known as "Maboroshi no snack" which translates to Phantom Snack in English.

Finally, we are carrying Jaga Pokkuru on our store and you can buy Jaga Pokkuru here.

Here are pictures of un-boxing of Jaga Pokkuru.  The box contains one large and one small Jaga Pokkuru.

The package is sent via Japan EMS

Packed well with light-weight packing material

Jaga Pokkuru - Large and Small

Jaga Pokkuru Large on the left, Small on the right

Jaga Pokkuru (Back) Large on the left, Small on the right

On the side, there is "open" tab so that you can easily open

Opening Jaga Pokkuru

Opening Jaga Pokkuru

Inside Jaga Pokkuru - each package has 18g of snack

Jaga Pokkuru

One pack of Jaga Pokkuru

Back of one Jaga Pokkuru


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Un-boxing -41 degree by Kitaguni Meika

Here are pictures of un-boxing the -41 degree by Kitaguni Meika which is a new item we carry now.  We love this so much, and the packaging is even better than the other items we carry; it is unique and very authentic.  

-41 degree by Kitaguni Meika 

The image of the packaging is dream-like image of snow and frozen tree.  A sticker mentions about the local award they have received this year.

Side of the box has print about the -41 degree experience in year 1902.

The ingredient which you can find English translation on our product page. 

Opening the first wrapping.

Beautiful packaging!

From the back

This is the very unique part about this packaging; the top layer is diagonally cut so that it looks very stylish.  It is almost like opening iphone packaging.

We proudly present you "original confection"  Enjoy for deserts or party snack.   

Close up of the packaging

Look how beautiful it is

Yes, it is perfect for office or party.  It looks really nice

Wording on the package.

And here is the individual package
The sparkle of the white images the frozen ground.  Beautiful presentation. 

Yes, it is sensation I cannot forget.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Shiroi Koibito now available in Thai

From the web statistics from my site selling Shiroi Koibito and other Japanese Rare Sweets, I found that there are quite a lot of people visiting the site from Thailand. In fact, surprisingly close to 1/4 of the the traffic originated from Thailand.   Knowing how people from Thailand generally have interest in Japanese and Japanese products, it was a natural course of action to open the site in Thai.

Special thanks to a help from Jaa Yoophoon who translated the site into Thai, the site is now available in Thai.

The site has been up and running in Thai now, and in fact; I already had some orders coming from Thailand! I am excited to be able to share the Japanese products to people in Thailand and hope to extend more globally.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Improving Checkout Process

Since implementing OpenCart solution in 2014 to sell Shiroi Koibito and Gifts from Japan online, there are lot more sophisticated software available for OpenCart that enhances user experiences.

One weak point of OpenCart is their Checkout module where users cannot see all the information on the same page which makes harder for users to check out. We have now implemented the Quick Checkout where users can easily see what they are buying (with pictures) and even has survey to see where they heard about us.  This also allows user to easily sign up for the account with just a check box click.

Before Implementing New Change
After Implementing New Change

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Making Site Mobile Friendly - the Google Way

To have presence in online ecosystem, there is no option but to follow rules set by Google.

Last month, I receive an email from Google mentioning that my site selling Shiroi Koibito is not mobile friendly, and the site rank will be effected.  As many other web owners, I freaked.

Email from Google mentioning that there is an issue with the site
As in previous blogs, I have been working hard to put mobile friendly site, but I did it wrong according to Google.  As I read the instruction from the email, I notice that the content of the mobile friendly page must mirror the content from the desktop page.   What I did earlier was to create a new interface using OpenCart framework and have user click to go to the new site if they are using mobile. However, the structure of the new page was not the same as earlier and did not mirror the content of the original site. Oh boy.

So I decided to see what Google tell me to do.  I decide to make the site responsive keeping the other new site still being operational.  There are multiple ways of making the site mobile friendly, but since I am making changes to my original site, I thought I should follow "Google way" of implementing this. I find out later that this was my second mistake.

Google provides "Web Starter Kit" to allow site owners to make the site mobile friendly. 

As I mentioned earlier, my profession is software development, and I have experiences with making a site mobile friendly; however, I have not used the implementation method that Google suggests which is called WebStarter Kit.  In summary, this is extremely complex task due to technology used.  I have windows machine that I develop the site, and the site is hosted on Linux server.  In order to have windows work with the new approach, I had to install following software on my Windows machine. There are not too many documents of "how to install" them (as of March 2015) so I had to read a lot of external documents for my windows to work correctly.  I spent a day understanding and installing following software on windows; Git, Cigwin, node.js, Ruby and SASS.   After banging my head to the screen many times, I was able to successfully configure all the software at the end to have the website display on my local machine. Great! I was quite happy at this point.

Now I turned to the web server admin and asked if they can do the same.... well they faced the same issues as me on Linux environment where they have to install and configure all the tools that is being used by what Google suggests.  They spend two days and realized that it does not work on shared environment. As I do not have dedicated server for my site, and my site is being shared by other users; they could not do the configuration unless I have dedicated server.  So that was my dead-end. With the cost of having dedicated server, I could be spending on many other enhancements like translating to other languages and I was not willing to do that at this point.

I backed out, and used other method called bootstrap framework (most popular way in the industry as of March 2015) to implement the mobile friendly site.   Google has a site to see if a site is mobile friendly or not. After all above, according to it, now my site is mobile friendly, and good thing is that traffic did go up after implementing the change.

Google finally accepts that the site is mobile friendly

The traffic did go up after all.

I am still not 100% satisfied with how the site looks as I coded everything by hand without using any frameworks like OpenCart, I will more likely making some changes to the site so that the site looks good.  For now, at least the site is "Google certified".

Update: April 2015

As I made two set of the code for the same site with the above effort (one for mobile and the old desktop version). Since I still like the old look on the desktop, even the new site is mobile responsive, I have used split method following reference from Google with Java Script to mirror the contents between desktop and mobile.  So based on the user's device, the site now automatically routes to either mobile or desktop site.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Zooming Product Images on OpenCart

As I sell the Shiroi Koibito and Japanese Gifts, images are one of the main components that I would like to show with best quality possible.

There are many weak points about OpenCart as software overall, and one of them is how the images are shown to the end-user; it only comes with very basic image control.  

Since openCart has introduced the 2.0 version, many \developers are catching up with cool add-ons that were available in the 1.x version. (You can read my earlier blog about OpenCart when it first launched v2.0.) Now there are a lot more options for purchasing add-ons to make the site better.  I have used Magic Zoom Plus for this purpose.  For $50 or less, the add-on allows a mouse-over with zoom like on Amazon which is very nice.

Hoping that a little touch like this give end-user better experience.  

Before add-on

After add-on

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Un-boxing Kibana Chocolate

Here are un-boxing of Kibana Chocolate from Asahikawa Tsuboya.  As mentioned on the product page, this unforgettable sensation of Japanese Chocolate won Monde Selection gold for 28 times!

Package arrive from USPS via Japan EMS

It is nicely packaged without any damage of cause

The packaging is very nice; it is packed like it is piece of jewelry...

and it is sealed nicely with a sticker.

It almost makes me feel guilty by breaking the seal.


The paper inserts talk about Monde Selection and product. It is in Japanese, but you can read English summary here.


A bite of heaven!

 or see more of Un-Boxing Other Japanese Chocolates:

Un-boxing Rokkatei Strawberry