I’ve explained elsewhere why sumo (traditional Japanese wrestling) is the greatest sport on earth — it’s fast, complex, and incredibly exciting. I won an apple in my first sumo bout at age three, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Cindy Su apparently agrees with me, because she built this wonderful rikishi (or wrestler — sumo is the name of the sport, not the name of the wrestlers). She layers various round tiles to bulk up the underlying BrickHeadz form, and gives this mountain of a man a stand complete with a Japanese flag to pose on. He has huge arms to shove opponents out of the ring, with an expressive face that seems to say he’s relieved to have just finished a winning bout.
Interestingly, many of the top wrestlers these days are foreign-born, from countries like Mongolia and Georgia. As someone who spent 15 years getting called gaijin (foreigner, with connotations of “outsider”) in my own home country, I’ve taken a perverse pleasure in rooting for the foreigners in recent sumo tournaments. Of course, sumo wrestlers aren’t born quite so big. They bulk up by eating a special stew called chankonabe, which Cindy has also faithfully created for this rikishi to enjoy.
Many people use LEGO building as a form of meditation, but not quite as many use LEGO to literally build meditation. Andreas Lenander definitely uses it at least for the latter — that we can be sure of. The build is very atmospheric, but secretly, it is also quite technical in its construction.
The Journey represents an old traveler crossing a bridge amongst blooming trees. The surrounding landscape is not bad, but the bridge is really the impressive part. The railing uses Elves fence pieces with a well-known curve technique. The bridge itself is just stacked plates carefully curved to follow the railing’s curvature – a construction that seems very unstable, but Andreas says that it actually holds together quite well. The trees should be noted too, densely packed with flowers, nicely designed trunks, and lanterns hanging off the branches.
This elaborate architectural beauty is the gate to Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. André Pinto is the architect of this faithful LEGO version, which captures the ornate decorations and the vibrant colors of the gate.
It’s worth noticing that the builder incorporated the intricate lattice in the underside of the roof, which is a huge undertaking but also one with huge payoffs.
There’s always a splash of grandeur in detail with buildings from ages long ago. Perhaps inspired by a flashback of an oriental abode, this build by Jennifer Lee has transported us to ancient times. The home is adorned and detailed with red and gold. Red, in Chinese culture, is a symbol of good luck, joy, and happiness, while yellow or gold, in this case, is considered the most beautiful and prestigious colour.
See more details and photos of this Asian home
The Great Wall of China requires no special introduction, and neither does Forlorn Empire. As the great wall can bee seen from space, so can mr. Forlorn’s building skills. While this segment of the Great Wall may not be the largest we have seen in LEGO, it is surely one of the best (and frankly, keeping up this level of detail and texture on an excessively large scale would turn out to be too much for pretty much any builder) in the terms of construction quality.
As I have mentioned, it boasts a high level of details and some nice angles, but what I like best is the roofed hut on the top of the tower – the roof technique is a stroke of genius. To top it all off, the builder has added a minifig on guard duty to fill the scene with life.
This diorama by vincentkiew showcases the beauty of traditional Chinese architecture and landscaping. A quaint courtyard and miniature garden completes the peaceful setting, and the use of the new Ninjago fences as well as the wallpaper brick are fantastic details that add style to the creation.
There are many delightful detail shots to discover in the Flickr gallery, or you can check them out in this slideshow accompanied by traditional Chinese music.
What better way to relax than to rake through the brick bins and create an Oriental pavilion? At least that’s what David Hensel appears to have decided. David clearly felt the roof was the key element of this LEGO creation — and no surprise, it’s wonderfully detailed, and a nice mix of colours without appearing garish. That would explain the shallow depth of field in the photography, bringing the roof into sharp focus and rendering the rest of the scene with something of a haze. This, coupled with the lack of minifigures, creates a strange dreamlike atmosphere. I like it.
Maneki-neko are Japanese figurines of cats that businesses all over the world have adopted to beckon customers and the money burning holes in their pockets. The cats often hold large, old-style Japanese gold coins in enormous denominations, as this lovely white cat by Taiwanese builder DOGOD Brick Design does — this maneki-neko holds a coin worth ten million yen! This lovely feline was recently installed at the Masterpiece Gallery in the LEGO House.
Maneki-neko hold their paws up in the gesture that Japanese people use to ask someone to come over — palm facing out while “scooping” the fingers toward yourself, rather than palm up as many Westerners do.
The prolific teenaged builder William Navarre is no stranger to realistic historical Japanese themes, but this latest creation of a company of samurai ambushing a camp of the emperor’s ashigaru is one of his best addditions to the series.
There is much to see in this full LEGO scene, from the minifig action that seems to express motion much better than one would expect of the somewhat motorically limited minifig, to the flags and the realistic ground texture. The background deserves discussion too; while the opinions on the trees’ textures may be variable, the textures do work for what they are supposed to. More importantly, you should not miss the most subtle, but also the most ingeniously simple part of the build: the angled black background with dark blue rays of light penetrating the treetops.
Walking amongst the old residential buildings in certain parts of Hong Kong, one looks up to see hanging laundry, treasured rooftop garden space, and air-conditioning units attached to dusty windows. Chiukeung Tsang has captured the scene perfectly in LEGO, with loads of character packed into one model. The curved corner is typical of the architectural style, as are the rows of windows, and the commercial nature of the ground floor with residential housing above. I particularly like the use of colour on the right, it lifts the entire build and adds visual interest without looking too garish.
The view from the other side shows the typical ground floor shop, complete with awning, and the obligatory tourist posing for a selfie.
In conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence, Malaysian builder Brandon Wyc has created a LEGO build based on the multi-racial, colourful and unique culture of Malaysia. Brandon describes the concept of his build as “Jalan-jalan Cari Makan / Walk Around To Find Good Food“. At the centre there is a colourful, imaginative three storey building with local food stalls, and four scenes along the edges; two are small roadside towns, one is a small riverside village, and the final one is a seaside village. The first view shows the roadside and seaside scenes with lots of activity going on and busy food stalls.
Take a closer look at this beautiful LEGO creation inspired by the diverse culture of Malaysia
This little Chinese LEGO village by Toltomeja is adorable. I love the irregular base and the squat buildings. There are some great details like the wavy patterns in the water and flippers-as-tiles roof design. But the real star of Toltomeja’s scene is that beautiful Chinese bridge and winding path.
The main photo doesn’t do nearly enough to show off the sweet curves of the sidewalk, so be sure to check the alternate angles.