I’ll start with a question to all of you cool young ones out there. Have you heard of those little twenty pence machines in leisure centres or maybe you remember them from when you were a little bit smaller? Those wonderful obsessive machines with the sweets in? The ones that you want your parents to so desperately give their last bit of change to just so that you can taste the banana shaped sweets or the strawberries or oranges or even the chance the get the ring so that you can pretend you’re proposing to your first boyfriend or girlfriend? Well, wait one second! Now, Japan have created something even bigger and better and it’s going to make you want to get that last bit of change all the more and not even at the leisure centre or at a young age.
Take a look at the above image. These incredible and tiny capsules hold magical, wonderful and miraculous balls of joy! You’ve seen programmes on the television where your favourite superheroes feature right? Well take this and then minimise it to a wonderful world. Think of it a little bit like the old story ‘The Borrowers’… only a LOT more cool! This is the world of Gachapon (or as the ones that like to be different call it – Gashapon)! How can you get involved I hear you ask? Well take a look below!
1. Discovering Gashapon
So where can you find these amazing and wonderful Gashapon capsules? There are loads of places and not just in Japan as well. Places like Hong Kong, America and even Thailand are catching onto the trend and they don’t have to be expensive to buy either. You can go into just about anywhere around these places – supermarkets, shopping centres, restaurants and they are even lining the streets. If you want to become a Gashapon enthusiast you can even purchase sets from stores in places like the amazing Akihabara Electric Town as you can see in the second image above or in or Osaka’s Nipponbashi (Den-Den Town). You might find that these sorts of places will also sell Gashapon figures in bulk that are usually cheaper but don’t get caught into the trap. The surprise element and ‘Gasha – pon’ experience really isn’t the same at all and you won’t come out with that same grin and burst in your heart.
2. Gashapon pronunciation
You might be wondering where the word ‘Gashapon’ comes from? It’s a strange sounding word and maybe not one that you’ve come across before. It’s cool though right and it matches these brilliant PVC plastic toys that you can find in the vending machines in various places when out and about? Don’t worry about getting the word one hundred percent right, nobody is going to be judging you. The word Gashapon itself comes from the actual ‘click’ of the machines that mimics the ‘gacha’ sound and then supposedly, the dropping of the toy when the capsule pops out and lands in the bottom part of the machine – ‘pon’, smart right? If we translate it from Katakana, it simply means ‘trading toy’ or alternatively, ‘candy’ or ‘sweet toy’. There are even some people who spell it slightly differently as ‘Gaschapon‘ adding a ‘s’ in. It’s not known why but society generally likes people who are a little bit different right, so why not?
3. Gachapon expense
Gashapon is available for just ¥10 – 20 at some vending machines, amazing and cheap for everyone! You just pop your yen into the slot, twist the dial and then off you go – the capsule is yours! If you’re wanting something of a high quality material and that’s painted really quite smart and detailed, you’re going to be looking at something more like ¥200 and ¥500. I think it’s time to get saving your pocket money and maybe don’t go asking the adults for that this time round!
4. Gashapon Beginnings
We know that Gashapon isn’t really new to Japan despite other countries like America getting on board. But when did it all begin? Apparently, it is said that Gashapon began with entrepreneur Ryuzo Shigeta, who nowadays is known as Gasha-gasha Ojisan, you can check him out here. You’ve heard of manga and anime right? Maybe even other cool video games that you and your friends play with characters ranging from Fuchiko or Pokemon right the way through to Disney characters which are recognised all over the world! You can pop these characters that have been adapted to modern day culture onto all sorts of daily objects – cups, sideboards, smart phones, computers, doors, clothes and all sorts of other bits and bobs making them your everyday friend. For some reason, they were in the past originally designed for the older male market. Now, they are no longer so. Males and females everywhere out there are loving Gashapon and going to these vending machines to get their surprise capsules in bulk. I bet even your mums, dad, siblings and guardians will be using them. So keep those eyes on your Gashapon friends and keep them close by so they don’t go missing.
5. Gashapon Trends
Manga and anime have to the the top sellers for the Gashapon trend market so far. Pokemon, Dragonball, Anpanman, Sailor Moon, GeGeGe and not forgetting Gundam are majorly popular amongst young people and they’re definitely ones that you’ll be wanting to get your hands on and I imagine your friends have lots of them! If not then they’ll be wanting them that’s for sure!
We also have the more cooky and quirky Gashapon. Who would have thought that people would pay a fortune for things like house furniture, people in business uniforms, how about a monkey hanging upside down with a banana for it’s leg? Or maybe a pizza with a pineapple stood up on it, instead of cut up as pieces? Even other food objects like soda cups and burgers.
Want to find out more about Gashapon? There’s so much more on the web. Why not go and discover it in your home country as well? Speak to your friends about it and check Gashapon out on Instagram too! Why not take a look at Gashapon world. It’s brilliant and there’s loads of unique and secret tips, adventures and new figures to find on there! Plus, it comes from the origin of Gashapon or as some call it, Gashapon itself – Japan! Stay creative, keep discovering and most of all have LOTS of fun!
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