Archive for the ‘Toys/Games’ Category

Boss coffee has a great deal… buy some canned coffee at regular price, get miniature racing Mario Kart characters!


As you can see, I was also a willing victim during their Transformers summer campaign :o)

Anyway, back to the books… it’s crunch time :-S


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just saw this commercial…

yeah, so, minus annoying Japanese comedian, we’ve got ourselves a crazy-maneuverable toy car that drives on walls, ceilings, chairs, tables, anything…


This badboy comes out in a week at a decent price of about $45… veeeeery tempting

Here’s an explanation from a rep. at the Tokyo International Toy Show

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Everybody has a key chain and/or cell phone straps in Japan. Most popular are anime characters and plush toys but there are also straps that looks exactly like pizza, potato chips, fried chicken… it’s a great way to advertise. Actually, I’ve even seen ones shaped like miniature blood bags with the person’s blood type written on it (in Japan blood type is equivalent to astrological signs in Western countries.) I won’t lie, there was a time when I really wanted to buy a strap shaped like golden poop haha

One thing that’s equally popular is touching things that are ‘kimochi ii’ (feel nice to touch). One company has been capitalizing on this lately with:

Infinite Edamame straps: enjoy the simple pleasures of popping beans out of their pod – forever.

Infinite Peri-peri: no need to destroy the environment with your fetish for peeling cardboard tabs from boxes.

and Infinite Puchi-puchi: why not pop bubble wrap forever?


btw, the same company also makes marble roller coasters. You can buy ones small enough to sit beside your computer at work or you can assemble ones massive enough to install in a mall. Here’s a medium-sized example…

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Hundreds of years ago, before even the birth of my home and native land, Francisco Xavier was getting the Japanese addicted to gambling. Well, not really.. but the Japanese know a good thing when they see it and just like baseball, card games (with a 48-card deck) caught on quickly. However, not only did gambling come to be seen as a problem, but foreigners in general just weren’t very well-liked and so Japan locked itself up and went ‘Brian Wilson’ (minus the cocaine) for a few hundred years. To get around this, cards were Asianified but the gambling problem still lingered and no matter how many new types of cards were created to get around the bans, they all suffered the same fate in the end. Because of this, other forms of entertainment and gambling flourished and most people gave up on playing cards. However, the government, always the concerned parent, finally realised the popularity of card games and allowed the production and use of hanafuda (flower cards).

48-card deck of hanafuda arranged by month

A hanafuda deck consists of 48 cards divided into 12 flower ‘suits’, one for each month of the year. Because they contain no words they were thought to be less favourable for gambling purposes.. but because playing cards had been beaten down and suppressed for so long, they weren’t really favourable for anything. Despite this, in 1889 Fusajiro Yamauchi founded a company to paint the cards on tree bark and in 1902 started producing them in Japan. The game caught on and in 1933 the company became a general partnership and then a ‘stock company’ in 1947. By 1953 they were starting to mass-produce plastic versions and playing cards were once again a ubiquitous form of gambling (surprise, surprise).
The company is called Nintendo… and to this day they still produce hanafuda.

I bought myself a deck today for the reasonable price of $8. Because they’re picture-based, they’re quite versatile… for instance in a game called ‘koi-koi’, you get points for combinations like ‘drinking while watching the moon’. Who knew gambling could be so poetic.
And if playing the ‘original’, old-school analog Nintendo wasn’t enough, it’s widely believed that the yakuza (Japanese mafia) got their name from hanafuda. In a game called Oicho-Kabu, the worst hand is 8-9-3, or, ‘ya-ku-sa’ in Japanese. In other words, hanafuda was flossin’ O.G. before Ice-T changed his name from Tracy.

After you buy a deck, you can check out www.hanafubuki.org for the rules of some of the more popular hanafuda games.

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