Sunday, 29 November 2020

Plastic Puzzles From Hanayama...

They make me anxious but are still fantastic...

Lucky Cube

Double Cube
Not had much time for play recently after my Pelikan puzzle solving marathon whilst I had some annual leave - Now I am back at work, I have barely touched a puzzle.

I suspect that many of you will have never even heard of these before and yet they are made by Hanayama puzzles. They are not seen very often and I don't think they have been put up for sale outside of Japan. I was captivated when my friend Nigel (the very originator of the Midlands Puzzle Party) posted a few pictures of these last year on his FB page and asked whether anyone had solved one of the last challenges in the book. I had never seen one and asked a question or two and Nigel was very encouraging about them - he even went as far as to say that one was a candidate for his best of the year choice. Nigel is a highly skilled solver and very much a connoisseur. If he says to get something then I really do sit up and pay attention. In fact, he is pretty much responsible for my 25th wedding anniversary present - he put me in contact with someone to help me acquire my grail puzzle - the Berrocal Goliath sculpture. Duly motivated to try them, I found someone selling these in Japan and got in touch - after an exchange of Yen, they were whisked across the planet and arrived Chez moi where I delightedly unpacked, photographed and started to play...

The instructions on the back are not terribly helpful - to this day, I still have no idea what they say:


Does anyone know what this means?
Despite not understanding the instructions I took the puzzles out of the packaging and looked at the booklets that came with them hoping for some more information...Nope! But despite this it does seem quite clear what to do - make the drawn shapes out of the pieces inside. Easy? Nope!

These really are quite pretty to look at and wonderfully tactile. Then I got stuck! (what did you expect?) It would appear that they are really REALLY difficult. Not only are they tough to solve but they are also quite difficult to describe - I have them classified as a sequential movement puzzle in my catalogue but others might call them assembly puzzles. Each of these is a pair of complex plastic structures with shapes that are connected together along an edge. This edge allows them to be flipped and folded into lots of interesting shapes and as there is a pair of them in each box then for some of the challenges the pair needs to be interlocked with each other to make more complex shapes.

Lucky Cube looks like a Hashimoto cube
Really complex pieces
These things make absolutely fabulous worry beads as they fold in and out of themselves. After you have made a few flexes, it is quite hard even to get them to fit back together. There are 30 challenges in the booklet and I have so far only managed about 15 of them. They are even highly repeatable (unlike most Hanayama puzzles) because once you have solved a challenge and moved on it is still just as hard to do it a second time. Here is one of the easy first challenges:

Even this took me a few minutes to work out
Some of the more difficult challenges have a Japanese description which I would love to understand as it may help me work out what to do

The bottom of the right page looks fearsome and maybe the text might help?
My real favourite of these two puzzles is the Double cube which looks a lot simpler in construction with many less faces to the pieces but somehow this does not necessarily make it a significantly easier puzzle:

Double cube - easier than Lucky cube? Not for me!
There are only 14 challenges in the booklet and yet after more than a year with this puzzle I have only solved half of them. It is really really tough.

An easy challenge
Challenge 2 - I couldn't solve again today
Just imagine how tough it is creating these:

So why do they make me anxious? I am terrified of breaking a hinge. They do seem pretty robust and I have spent many many hours twisting and turning without causing any harm but still I am frightened. Also for some reason just trying to solve these puzzles and failing after 15 - 20 minutes, I seem to get anxious. This is not something that happens with other puzzles but somehow is a problem with these and forces me to put them down after a limited amount of fiddling time. Despite this they are great and I cannot recommend them any more highly. Thanks Nigel for the heads up on something I would never normally have gone for.

What I really need is a way to translate the boxes and booklet text into English - any volunteers out there?

If you get a chance to buy these then don't hesitate...just buy - they are fabulous. In fact they are so good that they are candidates for my top puzzles of the year.

Keep safe out there everyone.







8 comments:

  1. Using ‘Google Translate’ app on the iPhone and importing your back cover images we get...

    OPuzzlemad DOUBLE CUBE "Katsunou" is a puzzle series that allows you to work happily with a smile while giving an appropriate amount of stimulation to your brain. "DOUBLE CUBE" where you can enjoy countless transformations. It is a mysterious CUBE that you can enjoy innumerable deformations by connecting 12 squares that divide the cube diagonally into 6 pieces and bending or twisting them. Let's challenge if it can be transformed according to the silhouette in the problem collection! I recommend it! Physiotherapist Satoshi Kawabata Challenges refreshing thinking and anti-aging of the head with dual tasks of visual spatial cognition that interprets developments and renderings into "vertical and horizontal" and skillful hand movements such as "opening, folding and twisting". It is a puzzle that can be done. Let's solve it by making use of the inevitable experience by chance! ■ Answer diagrams are not included so that you can fully enjoy the fun of solving puzzles. ■ Please note that the design and specifications of the package photo and the actual product may differ. ■ We use material which keeps strength of piece joint part. Therefore, it may repel naturally. Please note that. Puzzle Creation: Akira Nishihara Taisho Nenrei Saijo Target age 6 years old and over Patent pending OHANAYAMA Please be sure to read this for parents. ZA ● There are small parts. Never give to children under the age of 3 as there is a risk of accidental ingestion and suffocation. ● The piece is functionally dangerous because it has a sharp point. Please do not play anything other than the sound products used. Sho Hanayama Co., Ltd. 6F, Akihabara Koike Building, 1-25 Kanda Sakuma-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0025 https://www.hanayamatoys.co.jp ● 2 puzzles (gold, silver) (material / ABS / PS) Warning (Keikoku) ● Problem collection 1 book (material / paper) Usaki Hanayama Customer Service Center 68, Sakuma-cho, Chiyoda-shi, Tokyo 272-0803 Free dial: 0120-910-922 (call charge free) -PHS From some IP phones: 047-337-2215 (Reception hours Mon-Fri (excluding tax holidays) 10-12: 00/13-17: 00 ● For safety, use when damaged or deformed Note ● After playing, do not leave it on the floor, etc., and it is within the reach of children under 3 years old. Outer box cushioning material Plastic: Pristar 4 977513 068048 © 2019 HANAYAMA CO., LTD. MADE IN CHINA ( Please keep it in a place where it is not available. Paper n 0N ns I v Me C CoC f I r DOUBLE CUBE

    ReplyDelete
  2. And...

    PUzZlemad LUCKY CUBE Lucky Cube "Katsunou" is a puzzle series that allows you to work happily with a smile while giving an appropriate amount of stimulation to your brain. "LUCKY CUBE" where you can enjoy countless transformations. It is a mysterious CUBE where you can enjoy various silhouette changes from a cube one after another. Let's challenge if it can be transformed according to the silhouette in the problem collection! Some silhouettes can be enjoyed in multiple ways, so give it a try! I recommend it! Physiotherapist Satoshi Kawamihata Development view using the prefrontal cortex, which controls thinking and judgment, the frontal motor cortex, which controls the fifth grade of fingers, the parietal lobe, which controls spatial cognition, the occipital lobe, which controls visual processing, and the entire brain function. With a collection of 30 types of puzzles that allow you to challenge the anti-aging of your head while imagining the completed drawing in three dimensions. ■ The answer diagram is not attached so that you can fully enjoy the fun of solving the puzzle. ■ Please note that the design and specifications of the package photo and the actual product may differ. ■ We use seal to keep strength of piece joint part. Therefore, it may repel naturally. Please note that. Puzzle creation: Kellchi Mlyazaki. Patent application OHANAYAMA Target age 6 years old and over Please be sure to read this for parents. ● There are small parts. Never give to children under the age of 3 as there is a risk of accidental ingestion and suffocation. ● Bees are dangerous because they have sharp points in terms of function. Please do not play except for your own use. Sho Hanayama Co., Ltd. 6F Akihabara Choike Building, 1-25 Kanda Sakuma-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0025 ● Puzzle body… 2 (white / silver) (material / ABS) -PT) ● Problem book 1 (material / paper) (Keikoku) | Hanayama Customer Service Center 68 Toll-free number, Ichikawa-shi, Chiba 272-0803 Toll-free number: 0120-910-922 (toll free) Mobile-PS 047-337-2215 (Monday to Friday) from some P phones (Excluding holidays-holidays) 10 to 12 o'clock / 13 to 17 o'clock Kiseki An "N | Son Al ● For safety, please stop using when damaged or deformed. | U Caution ● Playing After that, do not leave it on the floor, etc., within the reach of children under 3 years old Paper: Outer box joint material Plastic: Blister 4 977513 "065795 2017 HANAYAMA CO., LTD.MADE IN CHINA Please keep it in. G Zul 0N Toku G CO C ce Goans Su 2 A


    I hope it helps

    Jez (Jeremy Rayner)

    ReplyDelete
  3. And challenge 7 and 8...

    DOUBLE CUBE Double Cube DOUBLE CUBE Problem Making a Shape with Two Parts Problem 8 Making a Shape with Two Parts Fold or twist the two parts to make a shape as shown in the figure below. Fold or twist the two parts to combine them and create a shape as shown below. * The color arrangement is an example. The color may be reversed depending on how it is assembled. View from the front * The color arrangement is an example. The color may be reversed depending on how it is assembled. View from the front View from the side View from the rear View from the rear View from the side View from the side-6

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    Replies
    1. Wow! Thanks for that Jeremy. How did you get the Japanese text from an image into Google translate?

      Delete
    2. Hi Kevin,
      Open the app, select Japanese - English, then go to ‘camera’. You can either point you phone’s camera at the instructions ‘live’ and it will translate in the ‘viewfinder’ so to speak, or you can then select ‘import’ and choose a pre-existing image from your photo library (which is how I did it in this case), you have to select the blue bar at the top to see the recognised Japanese text, followed underneath by the translation into English. It’s not perfect, but it has been useful, for some of the wonderful puzzles from all over the world we get to see...

      Thanks for the blogpost, just ordered one of each of these from Japan via eBay.

      Hope you are all doing well in these trying times.

      Jez

      Delete
    3. Wow! I’d better download the app. I’ve just been using the webpage.

      I’m ok thank you. Rather busy as you might expect with what’s going on at the moment!

      Delete
  4. It looks like in the US one's best bet is through Plaza Japan - good prices and cheap shipping, but they're available on Amazon and, of course, eBay for higher prices

    ReplyDelete

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