Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shopping Surprises - A Life-size Pitagora Suicchi Puzzle

25th June, 2010 - One of the great things about Japanese shopping is that you never quite know what little surprises will come up next. For example, there was a display at the Daimaru department store in Sapporo Station... a brilliant wooden structure that was driven by a series of balls (and gravity) ... it was just so intricate and so fun.  I wish T-chan had taken video of this, but alas opportunities come and go... when I arrived in Japan later on, I also didn't take video of it. Go figure.

Actually... the one thing that it reminded me of was the brilliant models that they build in NHK's Pythagora Switch (pitogora suicchi, ピタゴラスイッチ)... a very interesting children's program that if you've been in Japan and if you have children, you're almost certainly familiar with. One of the regular segments of the show contains a marble puzzle, where intricate home-made devices are constructed with only the power of a marble to work minor mechanical miracles. I'm not sure about L-kun, but I always love watching these. (Explanation: Pythagorean Devices - sometimes known as Rube Goldberg machines in the USA - are contraptions that are generally overly convoluted in design against their intended function - in this case, generally the raising of a flag or sign with the shows name)

The one thing I can say about Japanese... they love clever... and this is something that is instilled from a very early age. Of course, not all Japanese children's shows are quite so intellectually stimulating.

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