November 18, 2006

Most Awesome Muji Christmas Toys Only Available If You Have A Flying Sleigh


Ah, the holidays. It's been a while since we've agonized over the essentially unobtainable awesomeness of Muji products and toys, but with the release of their 2006 Christmas Catalogue, we can start anew.

The toy selection includes some simple wooden toys and rattles, but the highlight is a whole slew of stuffed animals in plain, organic cotton twill or denim. Pigs, puppies, dragons, bears, all the animals from the Chinese restaurant placemats, in fact.



There's also a plain, white terrycloth "muppet doll," which actually namecheck's Sesame Street in the description, but doesn't seem muppet-like at all; it's just a bunny puppet. Maybe muppet has become a generic in Japanese for hand-up-the-butt-style puppet.

The retro-style, wind-up robots and planes are great, too, but they're probably better on a desk than in a crib.

By far the coolest-looking things are also, unfortunately, the most problematic. Muji made a series of cloth activity books to explain how things are made, because kids these days are interested, but so far removed from how and where their stuff is made.


Now, though, kids can have fun learning about Benan's cotton in west Africa, Svenne's silk in the south of France, and Maramresh's wool from Romania. What a relief: everything's made in an adorable, humane, organic cottage industry. No cloth book of Mei-lin's cloth book factory in China, with cute little Miffy-like teenage workers chained to a sewing machine for 14 hrs/day.

The other buzzkill, of course, is that almost none of these things are available outside Japan. The Muji UK site has some, and if you go to one of MoMA's Design Stores, they have a few of the white cotton puppies and some city-in-a-bag kits introduced last year, but otherwise, you'd better hope Santa is real. Or that you have a trip to Japan coming up soon.

2006 World Muji Christmas Gift Catalogue, toys, and cloth books [, lots of Japanese, duh]


We'll be hitting the Yurakucho store again next week in Tokyo... the one out here in the boonies that I went to had nothing for toys, although I seem to recall another one in the shopping street downtown did...

Nothing can compare to the red-roofed monstrosity by the Tokyo International Forum though... thanks for the hint on that last year!

[don't miss the stamp-it-yourself stuff at Yurakucho. bags, t-shirts, anything you want, you can customize it with their giant tray of stamps. -ed.]

Sounds very cool... thanks for the tip!

That seems to be a big trend in Japan; my wife bought some fabric-safe ink at another store (one of the "Aming" chain, I think) that's supposed to work great with rubber stamps.

I actually have a can of silver (disco-quality) T-shirt spray paint gathering dust at home, as our ink-jet conked out when we moved in summer and I haven't got around to replacing it so I can get printing some stencils. It'll probably continue gathering dust if this stamp ink works out... :)

These toys look great. Another good idea would be the new Roboreptile by Discovery. It is the coolest toy for Christmas. It's like a little pet. I can't stop playing with my Roboreptile. Check him out or play his fun online game

Do you know where I could find the dragon in NYC?

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