Thursday, June 30, 2016

Toys & Life in Residential Japan: Potted Plants Filled with Toys

Toys and characters are a big part of life in Japan. It's much more common to see an Ultraman or Kamen Rider promotional tie in than, say, something from the latest movie. So you see posters, signs, and all sorts of other things related to Japan's character kings like Mario, Doraemon, Godzilla, Pikachu - the list goes on and on...
People in Japan like putting little statuettes (toys, animal sculptures, etc.) in front of their houses. Sometimes you'll even see them cemented onto walls and fences. Recently, I came across a home that tops them all. In front, there were dozens of little toys stuffed into planters, like a mini display being shared with everyone passing by.

Here's a video I shot:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

ThreeZero Toy Show at Pixiv Zingaro Gallery in Tokyo, Japan

ThreeZero Mazinger Z
The Pixiv Zingaro Gallery has an ongoing exhibition of ThreeZero toys.
The Pixiv Zingaro gallery is inside the Nakano Broadway mall.
The super-detailed figures from the standout Hong Kong company are based on a variety of licensed characters from anime, video games, and elsewhere.
Getter 1 from Getter Robo

Iron King from Zoids
A lot of figures are for sale, including 4 figures which are exclusive to the show.
T-45 Power Armor from Fallout 4
All of the figures have an amazing sense of realism and detail.
Full Metal Ghost Captain Form

Here's a video I shot of the show:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Chojin Hakaba – Kinnikuman Specialty Shop in Tokyo

Just a few weeks ago, a new shop – Chojin Hakaba (which translates into  “Superhero Graveyard”) – opened in Nakano Broadway. The shop doubles as a Kinnikuman specialty store and an art gallery.

 Here are the shop details:

Address: Nakano 5-52-15, Nakano-ku, Tokyo  164-0001, Japan
Tel: 03-5318-9221
Facebook: chojinhakaba

It’s on the third floor of the Nakano Broadway mall.
Toy Showcase
Chojin Graveyard (a name mixing Japanese and English which the store also goes by) has some toys, but the focus is currently on lifestyle goods like T-shirts, bags, hats, skate decks, and cell phone cases. I asked, and it sounds like they are planning to have more Kinnikuman toys down the line, possibly from Five Star Toys and hopefully others.

Here’s a video I shot of the store:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Vintage Godzilla Posters and Champion Matsuri Pamphlets

Very nice selection of vintage Japanese posters and Champion Matsuri pamphlets potted in Tokyo.
Here's a video I shot:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Japanese collecting traditions: Calbee

Calbee potato chips with giveaway 2016 baseball cards

When going about one's daily life in Japan, one of the things that stands out is the strength of certain brands, not to mention their longevity. You can be in an antique mall and see a box of 50-year old Glico  toys. Then you cross the street, go into a 7-11, and there are new Glico snack products on the shelves. The same thing goes for many lines, and that isn't surprising since there are two truths about Japan: traditions are important, and things are slow to change.

Quite a few snack makers, including Glico, Morinaga, Meiji, Calbee, and Lotte (A Korean company that was originally founded in Japan) have been bundling premium cards, stickers, and toys with their products for decades. I thought I'd write about some, to show how traditions going back half a century (or longer) carry on today.

Let's start with Calbee. The company was formed in 1949 under the name Matsuo Food Processing Co. That was changed to Calbee Foods and Confectionery Co. in 1955. Fortunately Japanese companies are fine with using shortened forms of their names, ala Calbee.

Calbee is known for its shrimp crackers as well as potato chips, which dominate many snack sections in convenient stores.
Selection of Calbee chips at a convenience store

Long ago, in 1971, they released a line of Kamen Rider branded snacks, with cool packaging and a pack of bonus Kamen Rider cards attached. 
Wall of vintage Calbee Kamen Rider cards from the 1970s
These are highly collectible - possibly the most widely collected cards in Japan along with vintage baseball cards.

Here are some closeups of rarer cards:
 More after the jump:
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