Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Traditional Japanese Dango Sweets

Mitarashi Dango
A dango (prouounced "dahn-go") is a traditional Japanese sweet made from a small ball of rice flour. Several balls are placed on a skewer, and the whole thing is grilled for a few minutes. Different flavors can be added, such as soy sauce. My favorite is a thick, malty, sweet sauce called "mitarashi."
Not too many places in Tokyo sell dango anymore, and the quality can vary. One excellent stall is conveniently located for toy shoppers. It's right across the alley from the Mister Donut that is near the entrance way to Nakano Broadway.
Some types of Dango available at the shop:

Shou yu = Soy Sauce
Mitarashi = Sweet, thick sauce
Anko = Red Bean Paste

If you have a chance, the place is worth trying. Dango are only 100 yen each, and he'll hand you a beautiful ceramic plate that you hand back once you're done. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Paper Board Dice Games

In my previous post, I talked about the possible origin of Chicken Fever. One of the sources I referred to was a paper board game played with a pair of dice. Here are a few more of these colorful, portable games which seem to have enjoyed some popularity in the 1970s. I'm not sure of the rules, but they're still fun to look at.

The above pic is of an Ultra Seven game. It's got a lot of action sequences and kaiju illustrations. Here are some closeups:
I guess you got points as you moved across the board. (?)

Maybe landing on 105 got you fried and you had to go back some spaces? I dunno. My guess is kids made up the rules, which is a lot more fun anyway!
 More after the jump:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The origin of Sin + Wombat's Chicken Fever?

Chicken Fever, a figure by Sin + Wombat, debuted in the early waves of indie sofubi toys, back in the mid-2000s. Not too many versions of the toy were released, but there were some nice ones, including collaborations with other toy makers like Cronic and Super7. One of the releases is shown above. (It isn't my pic, since I haven't got any of the figures on hand.)

Many indie toys can be traced to earlier characters, concepts, or designs from the 1960s-1970s. I believe I may have uncovered the origin of Chicken Fever, or at least the inspiration for the figure.

A short while ago, I came across this postcard-sized item, which I believe is from the 1970s. It's called a "Kaiju Siri E" which means "kaiju scratch illustration." The image is slightly raised, with a felt-like texture. Basically you put your blank sheet of paper over it, rub it with a pencil, and produce the image.

More after the jump:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Shirahama + Kaiju Ken Interviews + Super Festival report in MAT 11

The new issue of Monster Attack Team has an article I wrote about Super Festval 64. In it I go into depth about how the event is put together and what you might see at one of the shows. There's also a section about the tokusatsu actors who appeared at SF 64.
Besides my article, the magazine has pieces on Kamen Rider Amazon, Hedorah, Juspion, and a lot more. You can buy a copy on the site.
Shirahama's Dennis Hamman holding a Kumon.
For the piece, I also interviewed Dennis Hamman of Shirahama and Abe Toru of Kaiju Ken. There wasn't space to fit these in the magazine, so MAT uploaded them to their website.
Abe-san holding two Kaiju Ken figures.

For my Shirahama interview, click here.

For my Kaiju Ken interview, click here.

Once again I'd like to thank Dennis and Abe-san for their time. I'd also like to give a big shout out to Yukie and Gordon for helping with the translation for the Kaiju Ken interview. Putting these things together takes a huge amount of time. I hope everyone enjoys them!
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