Posts Tagged ‘Tokyo Big Sight’
The International Tokyo Toy Show conjures up images of Asmovian defying robot, monsters (usually of the aquatic species), tooth-decayingly cute creatures and an array of insects. At least, that’s what I envisioned before braving the labyrinth train route to Tokyo Big Sight where this year’s International Tokyo Toy Show was held (July 15-18, 2010). The show did offer its fair share of creepy crawly beetle-mania with such companies as Megahouse; the proveyors of edible, gummy insects and Hexbug; creators of nanotech bugs with realistic pinching action.
Although there were a few companies that caught my attention, the show sadly lacked the pop culture cornucopia that I was hoping for. The show was mainly dominated by such toy giants as Bandai and Lego. There was also steady stream of bags amongst the swarms of people bearing the logo for Hot Toys. Hot Toys sells fully articulated and extremely detailed action figures of everything from current icons such as Iron Man and Predator to generic and inexplicably nude male figures labeled by ethniticity. The figure labeled “African American Male” was easily modeled after Obama (complete with a plastic hardpack and politician death stare).
I did find however find a booth that stood out from the towering giants. The company is called Groove, Inc. Groove, Inc. has assimilated the defunct Jun Planning which was known for its wide-eyed collection of Pullip Dolls. Continuing the line of Pullip Dolls and with apparent knack for design sensible trends, Groove, Inc. displayed its latest line of Steampunk inspired dolls accented by the accessory craze of Alice in Wonderland.
Although, the toys at the Tokyo Toy Show were more Toys ‘r Us than Kid Robot, I was grateful that Japan hadn’t given up on robots and bugs afterall.
Imagine a world where Japan’s artistic eccentricities of the past, the future and the surreally subversive come together for a visual tea party. Welcome to Design Festa! This past weekend, I attended Design Festa’s 31st event (its inception was held in 1994). Upon entering the illuminati tower that is Tokyo Big Sight (back again!), I was immediately greeted by three floors of sprawling artist booths creatively customized to represent everything from an anime metropolis cutout to live miniature Kabuki theatre.
As I walked down each elaborately adorned aisle, I noticed the artistic touches that made this event uniquely and distinctly Japanese despite the event’s international umbrella. I saw prints depicting lonely eyed Japanese schoolgirls strumming guitars blissfully unaware of the Hokusai tsunami behind them. A few booths away, I noticed a cluster of people illuminated by something that resembled a fluorescently lit medicine cabinet. A few of the viewers held tiny vials in their hand. A closer inspection revealed that the specimens in the vials were the color-injected bones of fossilized fish. As I continued to walk through the masses of Victorian maid outfits and furry mascots, I found a booth that was eerily unattended. It showcased tiny, abandoned buildings which I suspected were the flea-circus equivalent of a haunted house. As I declined the offer to receive a cosmetic scab and stitches, I stumbled upon a runway of cherubic Japanese children doing a synchronized dance followed by a Blade Runner inspired fashion show.
Design Festa is the rabbit hole of emergent Japanese artists who push each medium be it wooden robots or water-colored witches. Pick your pop culture poison. The next Design Festa is scheduled for November 2010. This time, I think I’ll see what happens when we step onto the other side of the looking glass booth.
*Some of the photos below link to websites. So clicky-away!
Photos: Optivion & Meghan