William (genkischuldich) wrote,

Today I attended the first public day of the International Toy Show (「東京おもちゃショー」) at Big Sight in Odaiba.

Many of the toys are based on classic properties such as Gatchaman and tokusatsu shows, although Code Geass and Gundam 00 are also very popular. Another approach took a typical Japanese pastime and added robotics or gadgetry. An example of this is a sushi-rolling device called Futomaki no Makki which lets you make thick sushi rolls with hearts and faces in them (see the gallery for a picture). There were also battling beetle robots.

In some cases, they took two popular things and combined them -- like teacups and poodles.

Meet Teacup Poodle, on the right. It's a poodle. In a teacup.

The same booth had a game where you had to extract tiny toys from the plastic jaws of a drooling dog. It was one of the first things I saw and I watched kids picking red blocks from rubbery green slime with a kind of D: look on my face.

(Another similar attempt to mix two popular concepts is "Beauty Magazine Chocolate", already on sale. Every issue, you get beauty tips and a bar of chocolate.)

I also had a go at Hi-Kara, little knowing that it's currently one of the most talked-about new gadgets. There wasn't much queue to try it, mainly because it involved getting up on a small stage and singing in front of hundreds of people who were queuing for other stuff.

Well, you know I'm shameless. ;)

As I watched a few stray Japanese people try it, I noticed they weren't so hot on the kanji. Even simple ones caused them trouble. I was feeling pretty smug, knowing I could handle them all... until my turn came.

First of all, I couldn't hear any sound... because the earphones weren't in my ears. So, headphones go over the EARS. Got that. Having figured the basics, I tried to sing and suddenly understood why even native Japanese speakers were having problems. The screen is TINY and the kanji EVEN TINIER. I imagine they'll be selling the unit pretty cheaply (it's 3000-4000 yen) and making a fortune on song downloads, so the tech in the screen is kind of low. You need a much higher definition screen. Once I got the hang of it, I butchered "Zankoku na Tenshi no Thesis" with almost the same level of proficiency I show in a karaoke booth. I was still missing a couple of kanji every two lines though.

Probably the only thing left to mention is the inevitable Indiana Jones merchandise drive. In the gallery, you can see a photo of an Ark of the Covenant business card holder from Hot Toys. That wasn't all -- there was a Holy Grail holder of paperclips and an idol for storing your pens. I couldn't help but notice that while all the Japanese folks were photographing the models from Alien and Pirates of the Caribbean, I was taking that picture. I guess we had different ideas of "Wow, wait till I show the people back home!" :)

Full gallery here

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