9 Jun 2019

Freshly made puzzle with no name

Hello puzzle lovers!
Here is a puzzle that I would like to show you today which was just completed yesterday. 

Juno has designed and made this nine-piece block puzzle. The corners of each piece are partially chamfered. The target of this puzzle is making a cube shape using those nine pieces. Those chamfered edges can be a hint to solving it.

Probably, most puzzle enthusiasts may think that this puzzle is easy. Well, that is partially right. This is not very difficult, but I say there is something a little tricky. If someone is not used to playing with a puzzle, he/she might struggle to find the solution. I am sorry, I cannot say what it is.

This puzzle is just made for trial and we have no plan to make it as a product to sell at the moment. Therefore, this puzzle does not have a name.
Can anyone come up with a good name?

2 Jun 2019

Patience makes fun puzzles

Making puzzles is a job that requires patience. Juno and I have been working on two kinds of puzzles for a long time. One is a burr puzzle, Grooved 6 Board Burr #3 and another one is a sequential discovery puzzle, Slammed Car. In other words, we haven't released a new puzzle for a long time. I feel sorry for you guys that we kept you waiting.

The reason that we have spent a long time is related to one of the puzzles, Slammed Car, which we are making now and it has lots of parts. In the engine compartment, there are some parts. We thought it would be more fun if it contains some parts inside the engine compartment like a real vehicle. We have been making the Slammed Cars while imagining how puzzle lovers would be glad seeing those small parts inside the engine compartment. We knew if we added even one more small part, we would be very busy, but we did it. Aren't we stupid? We have made ourselves busy.

I'm still not sure how many Slammed Cars we are able to complete, but most of the time, we have made at least more than 100 pieces for each part. The reason is timber is a natural material and some has cracks or elements that become defective. We anticipate and make extra parts just in case defective parts will be made. That is the reason I have written in the beginning of this journal that making puzzles requires patience.

Honestly, I sometimes get bored making more than 100 of the same parts, so I drink a cup of coffee and chocolate for refreshing frequently and restart the job again. I don't know how many cups of coffee and chocolate I have had.
However, once it is approaching completion, all the effort pays off.
They look pretty good! Speaking of something I regret, I might have had too much coffee and chocolate sweets. The weight gain is proportional to the effort that I spent on those puzzles.

Just for your pre-information, Grooved 6 Board Burr #3 is harder than #1 and #2, but it would be enjoyable.
Slammed Car is the puzzle for which the most steps are required to solve it compared with our other sequential discovery puzzles we have made.

Those two puzzles are going to be released on the same day of around mid-June.
I hope puzzle lovers are able to have fun with our new puzzles.

31 Mar 2019

The huge face balloon that left a huge impression

Twitter gives me an opportunity to know something I didn't know.
I found a very interesting art project that was held in 2014. Yes, I know it is a bit late to notice, but I cannot hesitate to write about it because it is funny, amazing and has a little taste of surrealism.

The project was called "Floating Guy's Face in the Utsunomiya Sky." Utsunomiya is a name of a city in Japan.
Seeing is believing, here are pictures of the project that was on Twitter.


This project was prepared by the Utsunomiya Museum of Art and an artist group named "Mé." The face model was selected from among the 218 applicants in the city. To me, this face looks like a famous Japanese comedian and it makes this balloon funnier. The size of this balloon is 15 m (49 ft) in height and 10 m (32 ft) in width.

I have seen big balloons before, but they were shapes of pretty animals or ordinary spheres, but not a realistic human face. When people see an enormous realistic face in the air, the impression they would take seems very different from those pretty animals or spheres.

If I didn't know about the project and went out of the house, then noticed this huge face balloon floating above, I would have been astonished.
According to people who saw this huge balloon with the unaided eye, they said that this huge face balloon left a strong impact on their mind and most of them couldn't stop gazing at it, and some of them kept following it. If we see a big balloon, we look at it but don't try to chase after it.
I don't know what it is, but a realistic face balloon seems to have something that attracts people.



I linked to a news page that have several face balloon pictures. Please look at those pictures.
One of them was taken at night and the balloon looks like the moon.

AFPBB News

https://www.afpbb.com/articles/-/3034866?pno=9&pid=14986656 

I don't know the definition of art, but I think what can leave so much impression on people's mind and still continues to be handed down even after five years have passed is an art.

If you are very interested in this balloon and want to see your face become a huge balloon, here is a chance! You can apply for your face to The Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the English page. If you want to apply, please tell me. I'll help you to translate it. If your face has been chosen, your huge face balloon will float in the Tokyo sky in 2020. Isn't it exciting?


https://masayume.mouthplustwo.me/index.html

23 Mar 2019

Automata, pendant heads and puzzle ring creator, Hideo Fukuda

I found Hideo Fukuda through Twitter long ago. He designs and makes silver accessories and automata. Once you look at his unique sense of designs, you will not forget them.

Recently, one tweet with pictures that he has uploaded caught my eye. Here are the pictures I was fascinated with. It's a maze ring.



The structure of this ring is two layers, an outside ring and an inner ring. There is a tiny projection on the inner ring and the projection can go through between the grooves of maze that are on the outside ring. Yes, that's right. You can play with this ring. Two rings can be separated after you finished solving the maze.

Unfortunately, this ring is one-of-a-kind. However, Hideo says that he is going to commercialize the ring as a slightly improved product with almost the same design. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

He also designs automata. Most of his automata are very small and I feel a little melancholy and warmth about them. Here is a video of his automata.


It's unbelievable making such a small doll that can be moved. It must be a very difficult job.

He designs not only automata, but also works on pendant heads that are made of silver. As you see, those pendant heads are all animal designs.



My favorite is "A cat traveling to space" because it's a pendant head that can be moved by rotating a tiny handle like an automaton. Isn't it fun?


A pendant head of Opisthoteuthis californiana is charming too. It looks like an alien that people imagined long ago or a Pac-Man. One of the surprising things is, he has made octopus's feet finely. That's an amazing work! It seems like this tiny octopus is one of the best seller pendant heads.


There is one design I have never seen. A pendant head of a doll whose organs can be seen. What a unique way of designing! The preferences may be different depending on the person, but there is no doubt that this pendant head is a unique design.

Those accessories he has made used SILVER 925. Until today, I didn't know the meaning of silver 925. I googled it and understood that it means it contains 92.5% of silver. He says that all the works are finished by hand, so the color and texture might differ one by one. In a sense, I think it's nice that all the products are not exactly the same. You can have one thing in the world.

Those beautiful works are available only inside of Japan. If you would like to buy his work, ask your Japanese friend. I put his online shop link below.

Atelier puchuco : http://puchuco.jp/
puchuco's Twitter : https://twitter.com/puchuco709

 

13 Mar 2019

A versatile puzzle designer, Kohfuh Satoh

I would like to introduce you to a Japanese puzzle designer who has a playful spirit with a design sense. He is Kohfuh Satoh. I don't remember very well, but maybe I first met him at the site where the Academy of Recreational Mathematics, Japan was held.

Here is his portrait that was assembled with tangram. Making a portrait using puzzle pieces is very Kohfuh Satoh. He is quite a puzzle lover.

He is a multiple talented puzzle designer. He pays attention to a variety of wonders and offers various kinds of interesting creations; puzzles, illustrations, writing, event planning, editing books and so on.

For example, this is the mathematical magic book he has participated in editing, "Encyclopedia of Mathematical Magic" (Sorry, this book is only a Japanese version). Here is a photo of "Encyclopedia of Mathematical Magic." The cover design of this book was also his.

This is my personal opinion, there is no one except him who is suitable for drawing illustrations for mathematic or puzzle books because he majored in mathematics at university. It's better for someone who understands the contents of a book to draw illustrations. In fact, he designed the poster for The Mathematical Society of Japan in 2012.

Let's get back to the subject, puzzles.

I found his puzzles at my favorite puzzle shop in Tokyo, Japan, Torito
I guess some of you guys who read this blog visited Torito when you went to Tokyo, Japan for IPP.

Puzzle Shop Torito
http://torito.jp/shopping/search.cgi?series=kohfuh

Kohfuh feels sorry for puzzle lovers who live outside of Japan that his puzzles are a little difficult to obtain.

He says that his puzzles are not very difficult, but tricky.
What a nice word, tricky! I'm sure that most puzzle lovers love something tricky.
Long ago, I got one of his puzzles "4U." As you see in the picture below, it looks very simple, but it was tricky.
When I uploaded the picture of "4U" onto my blog, some readers said that this puzzle is impossible to solve. No, no, it IS possible.

4U
http://kofth.com/projects/4u/en.html

I'm now interested in the puzzle "Chaplin." Using four pieces you make a bowler hat. He says that "Chaplin" has an element of surprise. I'm a bit curious what it is.
Chaplin
http://torito.jp/shopping/item.cgi?_chaplin

Looking forward to seeing what he is going to do for his next step forward.

Kohfuh's website - Kofth :  http://kofth.com/en.html
Kohfuh's Twitter : https://twitter.com/kohfuhsatoh
Puzzling Times - Kohfuh confuses! : 
http://allardspuzzlingtimes.blogspot.com/2013/10/kohfuh-confuses.html