July 7th, 2004


Getto Shitai!

I've spent a fruitless half hour trying to create a customer account at various Japanese online shops. You'd think that some bright spark would realise that there's a large number of overseas people, Japanese and others, who would like to be able to order stuff direct and not wait for some trendy Western shop to slap their healthy percentage onto it. Oh well...

What I'm after is this, a Zihotch. This is one of various gudzu produced by Maywa Denki, who are... Well, it's hard to describe what they are exactly. They're named after a little company that their father once owned and the two brothers resurrected the name to produce a range of bizarre-yet-useful inventions and become a sort of pop group in the process. It's a shame that I can't direct you towards an English version of their various mission statements and philosophies (deliberately, I think, they also use the more archaic Japanese way of romanising into English), particularly their heavy accent on fish intelligence (or lack of rather). Their products range from short-run pieces to these mass produced goods that more or less fit into the Japanese market for... well, gudzu is the best word for it - basically, themed products. Part of the charm of the Maywa Denki line is their useful-yet-useless nature. I'd love to have a a compete set of their Knockman family. These are little figures that produce a basic musical/rhythmic output. They weren't the first to have this idea, but there's a definite Dadaist stupidity to theirs. The original Knockman in the series, after all, is someone who likes nothing more than to bash himself on the head to produce a k-nock sort of sound. You can link Knockmen together so they do a sort of syncopated bashing of each other's heads. They never stop smiling. I find this hilarious.

Knockman is the more the cute side of the range. There's a range of Savao stuff too. Savao is an unborn foetus and I had a mobile Savao strappu for a while before it fell off somewhere. Mmm, a Savao samba whistle. The idea of an unborn foetus being a cute character is quite a perverse idea for a country with such a high rate of abortion, yet it has a sort of dark sense when you consider the issue of mizuko and see all the related jizo at various temples. And how about this Gacha-con? A retro styled remote control for your TV. Clunky and without any features other than channel changing and volume.

The Zihotch [that might be a small hand at the bottom, but look at the size of it. Now, I definitely want one! 欲しいいいいいい...] I'd like to offer in the Sarmoung Anniversary Bingo that will be part of the forthcoming Autocrat launch, although I think that there's a chance I'll just hold on to it if I manage to get one. To obtain the time, you dial 117, the old number for the speaking clock in Japan. There's an alarm feature as well, but if you're not prepared to learn how to tell the time in Japanese, it might be a bit of waste. I'd be prepared to give a few lessons should it be offered as a prize.

If anyone has any ideas how to get my hands on either a Zihotch or the Knockman series here in the UK in time (other than ordering it via the States) please let me know.

I finalised the design for the embroidered patch yesterday. You may be entertained to know that the patch is actualy costing more than the CD! Ha, ha, ha. I find this hilarious...

Finding all those links makes me quite nostalgic for a few weeks in Japan in the summer. It also managed to get me through a David Blunkett interview on Radio 4 without paying too much attention.