In many Asian cultures, koi ponds symbolize luck, good fortune, and abundance. They also tend to represent courage and perseverance. Perhaps that’s why, even with the abundance of rain, this geisha isn’t afraid of her makeup running!
Banter aside, this expertly photographed build by Architeclego is stunning. I personally find heavy rain beautiful and almost calming. From inside, its enveloping, rhythmic drone is even cozy. This is one of those picture that provokes those feelings.
While the photography in itself is compelling, the build is not to be overlooked! I’m a fan of the layout and recessed pool, and I especially like the inversion of the arch bricks for the roof. We certainly hope to see many more pieces of art like this in the future.
In a few months’ time, I’ll be attending Japan Brickfest in Kobe. I always find the prospect of displaying a model at an event motivating. So, for this occasion I am building a few new models with a Japanese twist. I presented my Tokyo Police car a little while ago and I’ve now completed an ambulance to accompany it. The typical Japanese ambulance is a Toyota HiMedic van.
Mine represents an example used by the Tokyo Fire Department. At a first glance it may look like a box on wheels. That box is a lot wider near the bottom than near the top, though. I got the sides to taper by attaching them to hinges, but getting all of this to fit was a challenge, in particular around the windscreen. Despite the angled sides, all the doors open, including a sliding door on each side of the van. I really enjoyed making the stickers. I got to draw kanji letters and little emblems that depict Kyuta-Kun, which is the super cute Tokyo Fire Department mascot. The end result looks very Japanese and suitably futuristic. Picture this with two nacelles instead of wheels and it wouldn’t look out of place in the shuttle bay of the Starship Enterprise. Befitting a culture known for politeness, these ambulances have a PA system with recorded sentences that kindly warn other road users to make way. That detail, unfortunately, is missing from my LEGO model.
In Japanese cuisine, bento is a meal in box for take-out or eating at home. Leonid An has built a delicious looking LEGO bento, which includes sushi rolls, nigiri, vegetables, wasabi, and a hearty serving of white rice. Each dish is able to stand on its own, thanks in part to a diverse range of colors and building techniques. The pieces of nigiri use a mix of curved slopes and constraction figure elements to form slices of raw fish. Black tires and white tires are cleverly used to represent the seaweed and rice in the sushi rolls, and lime green Bionicle Krana Za masks are used to form the side of wasabi. Meanwhile, a pair of chopsticks at the base of the box signals it’s time to eat. Itadakimasu!
Japanese cars well-engineered and sometimes innovative, but in my opinion they are often not all that exciting. However, Japanese manufacturers do have a history of building some pretty neat sports cars, like the 240Z /Fairlady or Nissan GT-R or the Honda CRX.
A little more than a year ago, during a work trip, I was lucky to spend a day in Tokyo. It is an amazing city and ever since I’ve been thinking about building some Japan-themed LEGO models. I already have a collection of LEGO emergency vehicles, so adding a Japanese police car seemed like a good idea. Their typical vehicle is the Toyota Crown, which certainly fits the not-all-that-exciting category. However, a bit of internet research revealed that, until a few years ago, the Tokyo Police department also had Mazda RX-8 patrol cars. It’s a curvy coupé with suicide doors that was mainly used for traffic duties. Building one of those was a much more interesting prospect. I simply had to have one.
The world-famous Great Wave Off Kanagawa print by Japanese painter Hokusai gets the LEGO treatment in this great piece of work by koffiemoc. The model’s inspiration is immediately recognisable — from the overall colour scheme, the towering wave threatening the three boats, through to the triangular white peak of Mount Fuji in the central distance. The builder has added in some of the more subtle details of the artwork too — the crests of the waves are tipped with clips, capturing Hokusai’s depiction of the water having claws. There is also the triangular shape of the foreground wave, mirroring the form of the background mountain. This is a beautiful brick-built tribute to a beautiful image.
Tengu are legendary creatures in Japanese myths going back hundreds of years. Although they have a complicated history, they’re most often seen today as protectors of mountains and forests, though still certainly fearsome! John Cheng has built a rather adorable Tengu, dressed in Yamabushi (mountain hermit) garb with black bird wings and an enormous, beak-like nose that reveal his avian origins.
LEGO TOKYO is a special collaboration between Aurélien Mathieu (better known online as Shobrick) and Cole Blaq. To be precise, it’s really Shobrick’s swan song from the LEGO scene–and what better way to make a grand exit but with a monumental partnership to release four epic scenes that were put together by professional set designers and talented artists.
Click to see the duo’s amazing images of LEGO Tokyo and read about how they were created
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.
The Japanese Shinto-Buddhist gods of wind and storms have an eternal rivalry for control of the skies. Fūjin is the god of wind, and carries an enormous bag of air to blow, while Raijin beats drums to make thunder and lightning. LEGO 7 has captured the look of these well-known deities perfectly in LEGO, complete with bolts of lightning emanating from the cloud that Raijin is floating on. Although Fūjin is typically depicted with red hair, the white hair that both characters share ties them together wonderfully, while both gods sport distinct armor around their waists in silver and gold. This pair of fearsome spirits would fit in perfectly guarding the Kaminarimon “Thunder Gate” at Senso-ji in Tokyo.
When it comes to Japanese art, one of the most iconic pieces produced during the late Edo period was Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” This masterpiece helped to inspire the character of Hatsusika Hokusai, found in the free-to-play role-playing-game (RPG) Fate/Grand Order. Mike Dung has made two versions of this character, including a cute chibi figure. In the chibi-build, Mike’s brick-built wave is instantly recognizable and beautiful representation of Hokusai’s artwork. The wave in the other model is cleverly built with several trans-light blue garage door pieces.
Say hello to Aggretsuko (アグレッシブ烈子), the latest character from the creators of Hello Kitty. By day, this red panda is a gentle and kind accountant, doing the best she can in a job she loathes. But by night, she blows off steam by shedding the cutesy look for that of a raging death-metal karaoke enthusiast!
Originally aired as a series of shorts on Japanese television, the adventures of Retsuko have finally arrived on Western shores in the form of a Netflix original series. Taking inspiration from this unexpectedly kawaii take on the modern condition, I decided to try and capture Retsuko’s struggle using LEGO bricks:
Click here to see LEGO Retsuko with all her accompanying accessories
In addition to the amazing LEGO models created by builders all over the world, The Brothers Brick brings you the best of LEGO news and reviews. This is our weekly Brick Report for the fourth week of April 2018.
TBB NEWS & INSTRUCTIONS: As spring 2018 LEGO sets continue to be revealed and we begin looking ahead to the summer wave of LEGO sets, it’s been another busy week of LEGO news here at TBB!
See the rest of our LEGO news roundup after the jump