December 20th, 2007

animated kodama

Collecting bubble capsule charms- I could probably make these...

Last summer I went to a Japanese Buddhist Oban Festival and I saw a kid talking on a mobile phone. He had a dozen little toys hanging from strings attached to the phone, as if some colorful plant had grown up out of it. These are known as cell phone charms, and you get them randomly from plastic bubble capsule vending machines. Usually, each machine is a different series of characters and you don't know which one you will get after stuffing your quarters in, turning the metal handle, and eagerly scooping up the capsule from the exit slot.

The characters are usually animals from cartoons or videogames like Disney and Pokemon, and they often are no bigger than 3/4". Up until now, I had a tiny Hello Kitty popping out of a lunchbag and a cat wearing an apron while holding a spatula in its paw. But yesterday, holey moley, I went to Daiso - Japanese dollar store- and noticed they had TWELVE vending machines in the corner by the cash registers. And one of them had the Baby Disney characters. I had to have one! I wanted Baby Pooh, Eeyore, or Minnie Mouse to give to my mom. She lurves Minnie, inexplicably.

I deposited my quarters and I got... Baby Mickey Mouse. Well, at least it was close. It was 1 out of 6 characters in the machine.

Today I decided to try again, and if I didn't get Minnie, I would give away the others as a jokey gift to co-workers. I got...Baby Pinocchio. He has scary black empty eyes. 2nd try...Figaro the kitten, again from Pinocchio! This one was at least cute, although not what I wanted. So now out of a series of 6, I have the 3 characters I DIDN'T want - I wanted the other three. Oh, poo(h). After that failure, I decided to try at two others. From the Egg Circus series, I got a yellow egg dressed as a jester. It has a tri-corn jester hat, but it is frowning. The cute ones are egg dressed as a lizard and fortune-teller egg (holding a crystal) ball. Then I tried the Pokemon machine and got a weird tiny turtle with a striped shell and leaves growing out of it's head. I'd hoped for the monkey Pokemon to give to Niece #2.

When I got home these evening, I explained what cell phone charms are to my housemate's mother, who is visiting for Christmas. She said she was interested in acquiring some, not to use, but to collect as an artifact of popular culture!

I think it might be fun to make my own tiny amigurumi charms in thread crochet to give to people, spreadin' the ami-love. Last week I discovered that Simple Arts Planet website sells two kinds of cell phone straps, $3.50 for 12.

PS I am walking and moving about more easily now as my back injury pain is lessening. However, doc says it will take 6 months to heal. :-<