Saturday, November 19, 2016

Art in the Mountains - The Toge Small Art Museum in Naganuma Park

Naganuma Park (長沼公園), located about 45 minutes west of Tokyo, makes for a nice day trip from the metropolis. It's an easy 10-minute walk from Naganuma Station, which is on the Keio Line.
 You can do a circuit around the park's walking trails in a couple of hours.
The trail maps are all in Japanese, but carry a compass (or a smartphone, I suppose) and follow the "you are here" (現在地) pointers on the maps, and it's easy enough to get around.
The park offers nice views, bridges across little streams, and impressive open spaces that can't be found in the city.

More after the jump:

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Gundam Ichiban Kuji 7-11 Goods

I've come to enjoy walking into 7-11's and seeing the latest Ichiban Kuji - which translates to "Number One Lottery" - goods. They seem to cycle through once every month or two.
This time around, Gundam is the theme...with a twist. Instead of just the standard statuettes, towels, and placemats, these goods have a practical, home goods bent. It's like Gundam Day at Home Depot.
As a reminder, the way these work is you pick up a ticket from the display and bring it to the register. You pay the amount (usually in the 300-600 yen range) and choose a card randomly. The letter on the card corresponds to the type of good you can claim. A is the top prize. There is, I believe, just one of these per store. The next tier is B, and then C, and so on.

After the jump, let's have a look at the prizes:

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Star Wars x Japan Post Office Hologram + Lenticular New Year's Cards

The Japanese post office has a knack for putting out visually stunning Star Wars items. As part of their massive 2017 New Year's collection, they've put out two choices to send Star Wars fans in your life.

The first, shown above, is a 3D hologram. The image is based on one of the original iconic movie posters from 1977.
The back of the card. Typically for New Year's cards, people just write a few words of well wishes for the coming year.

The second card has a lenticular image with Darth Vader in the foreground and images from Episodes 1-6 in the background.

A tilt of the card shows the secondary image, with Vader's saber extending and retracting and variant images from the movies in the background.

post card back

Classic Star Wars poster image

Friday, October 28, 2016

Chicago Toy Show (aka the Kane County Show)

Twice a year, the fields of Northern Illinois come alive with the sounds of thousands of toy collectors descending on the Kane County Fairgrounds. That's the site of the venerable Chicago Toy Show.
Filling buildings with names like "Rabbit Building," the "Prairie Events Center" and the "Doll House," some 600+ dealers assemble to sell antique dolls and tin toys, Star Wars figures and Hot wheel cars, plus modern toys like Funko Pop figures and Lego mini figs.

This event was held on October 23, 2016. When you talk to old hands about the show, they speak in hushed whispers about the glory days before the Internet, when deals at Kane County flowed like wine and people traveled from all over the world to get in on the action. These days, auction websites and the democratization of information have leveled the playing field, contributing to the decline of toy shows (and not just in the USA).
But there are still a lot of people who like seeing toys in person before buying them, not to mention fraternizing with collecting buddies and learning from the greybeards who bring centuries of combined knowledge and wisdom. Plus there are several food trucks selling delicious ice cream with freshly made waffle cones. So good...

Here's a look at the show:
There are many high quality toys and excellent displays at the Kane County show.

 More after the jump:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Superhero + Monster Pez at the Pez Visitor Center (Orange, CT)

In Orange, Connecticut, just outside of New Haven, is a kind of mecca for Pez fans: the Pez Visitor Center. It has a small museum, shop, and some nice displays. It's also the site of a Pez factory, but that isn't open to visitors.

Pez seems synonymous with American candy, but it was actually invented in Austria in 1927. A few decades later, they started selling candy with the now iconic dispensers. There are a huge number out there, not to mention a faithful following of collectors.
Here's a look at one of the displays at the Pez Center, showing Superhero and Monster dispensers from over the years.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ultraman Ace Exhibit at Super Festival 72

The tokusatsu focus of Super Festival 72 was Ultraman Ace. As with past shows, the organizers did a great job putting together an exhibit of Ultraman Ace items. That included toys, books, scripts, and what look like props from the show. Here's a look:

 More after the jump:

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ippei Kuri Artwork and New Book

For more than half a century, through manga, anime TV shows, and movies, Ippei Kuri (九里 一平) has worked as a character creator, artist, animator, director, and producer. Through Tatsunoko Pro, which he cofounded with his brothers in 1962, Kuri-san has been part of the creation and production of many famous stories, including Speed Racer, Gatchaman, Casshan, Hutch the Honeybee, Robotech, and a long list of others. IMDB lists his impressive achievements.

On the fourth floor of Nakano Broadway, there's a nice homage to the master's work, as part of a rollout of his new book.

Digital prints:

 More after the jump:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Godzilla vs. Evangelion Dried Ramen Snacks

As a tie-in promotion with the Shin Godzilla movie, the makers of "Baby Star" dried ramen have released a really cool two pack featuring Japan's most famous kaiju vs. one of its most famous anime mecha characters.
More after the jump:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Huge Assortment of Japanese Tin Toys

I spotted this massive assortment of tin toys in Tokyo. They're modern versions by companies like Billiken. Here's a video, followed by some still photos.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Excellent Hedorah Sofubi Exhibit

I recently saw an excellent exhibit of Hedorah sofubi figures. Here are pics:

 More after the jump:
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