Hackman Gachapon

Mike Grist Japan, Toys / Games Leave a Comment

You can buy odd things in a Gachapon. Perhaps attention too often goes to the wadded-up knicker-vending machines (so sought-after these days), and not often enough to those cute little machines sitting so innocently right at your kids’ eye level. In the past I’ve experimented and come up with the rear end of a fire truck and a piece of railway bridge. So we are incentivised to buy more. Then I glimpsed these little beggars. They cannot be for kids. They are some kind of post-ironic jab at uber-too-cool-for-school hipsters, phone donglies that scream ‘I listen to Tragically Hip’ while …

DragonBall Z Key Chain

Mike Grist Japan, Toys / Games 10 Comments

And lo, let there be Dragonball Z. Dragonball Z is some kind of Pokemon copy, with weird powers being stored inside little balls that folks keep in their pockets. I’ll admit I don’t know anything about the genre- but that doesn’t preclude me from buying some of its bits and pieces. Also I know there is a Dragonball Z movie coming out- seems a Hollywood version so you get more bang for your ball. This is another keychain you can win! Winnable.

Mickey Mouse Sweets Time Mascot

Mike Grist Japan, Toys / Games 2 Comments

Ever felt a little lonely at Sweets Time? Perhaps you needed a little support, a little pick-me up, someone to sing while you take a bite, whip out back-flips as you brush away crumbs, and rustle pom-poms and dance when you swallow. Who hasn’t needed that at Sweets Time? Disney is finally hooking us up. There are 6 types of Sweets Time Mascots, all of them featuring Mickey’s grinning mug, each one with a different type of bready candy goods: cookie, doughnut, chocolate, waffle, pretzel, and macaroon. It’s not a real bit of food though- it’s plastic.

Battle Cards: Destmoon vs. Obama vs. Nidoking

Mike Grist Japan, Toys / Games 4 Comments

Battle cards hold a special place in the hearts of all Japanese- from childhood they are accustomed to trapping the spirits of nature in little plastic balls (Pokemon, Dragonballz) and unleashing their fury upon each other- their incarnations ranging from monsters to cute yellow mice to beatles (rhino-horn!) to girls in various cute outfits to Obama. Yes, Obama is now in the market- complete with fighting stats and assorted team members and enemies. Japanese pour their hope and dreams into him just as readily as they do into Gundam and Hello Kitty. How will he fare against those stalwarts of …

Ikebukuro Jingle Key-Chain

Mike Grist Japan, Toys / Games 18 Comments

Train Stations in Japan have jingles; at least the stations on the JR Yamanote line do- when the trains pull in and when they pull out. They’re bright, cheery, and last about 10 seconds. I suppose they let us know- OK, now it’s time to get on the train. Now it’s time to get off. Oops, mind the gap! Each train station has a different jingle – Buddha alone knows why, perhaps so the blind know where they are – but now an enterprising toy-maker has produced a range of collectible key-chains that burble out the full range. Who needs …

Gachapon Toys

Mike Grist Japan, Toys / Games 6 Comments

Capsule Stations or ‘Gashapon’ are a big deal in Japan, located outside any place that kids or otaku (nerds) might go. They are basically toy vending machines, like gumball machines, but for toys in plastic egg-shells. The name Gashapon is onomatopoeic, where the ‘Gasha’ is the sound of you turning the handle, and the ‘Pon!’ is the capsule toy popping out. They dispense a whole range of toys, from super-cheap garbage up to higher-end ‘adult-content’ type stuff.