Tag Archives: Japan

From samurai and ninjas to giant mecha like Gundam or the beautiful films of Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese history and culture inspire LEGO builders all over the world. With contributors fluent in Japanese, The Brothers Brick also brings you coverage of the people and events in the large LEGO fan community in Japan itself.

Sumo is the greatest sport on earth

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.

相撲力士(sumo rikishi /りきし)

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.

相撲力士(sumo rikishi /りきし)

Battle for the sky between Fujin and Raijin!

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.

雷神&風神 Raijin&Fujin

Ride the wave with Hatsusika Hokusai

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 OrderMike 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.

[Fate Grand Order] Hatsusika Hokusai

Aggretsuko: Twenty five, single, Scorpio, blood type A

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

TBB Weekly Brick Report: LEGO news roundup for April 22, 2018 [News]

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.

Real Porsche 911 & scaled-up LEGO Porsche 911 Turbo


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

How I built a 20,000-piece LEGO rice plantation inspired by The LEGO Ninjago Movie [Guest Feature]

Today we’re pleased to welcome Anu Pehrson as a guest contributor to give a special introduction to her latest creation. We spoke with Anu last year about her amazing models, which range from a monastery in Bhutan to the Iron Islands from A Game of Thrones. Her newest model, Master Wu’s Rice Plantation, is just as amazing. She worked on the 20,000-piece model over 3 months, and she’s documented for us the process of how a creation like this goes from idea to completion.

The diorama is enormous, at nearly four feet on each side, and includes multiple buildings, a river, beautiful trees, and lots of incredible landscaping up the staggered terraces of rice paddies.

The Building of Master Wu’s Rice Plantation

By Anu Pehrson

I wanted to build something in the Japanese architectural style, perhaps some smaller cottages where I could try different building techniques for the windows, wall patterns, roofs, and porch railings. I thought a village-like setting for these cottages would be the ideal layout. The second thing I was interested in trying was terraced agricultural fields, and rounded terraces that are used for rice farming in East Asia seemed like an interesting challenge. So bringing these two ideas together formed the basis of this MOC (My Own Creation). I also wanted to build a working gondola from a lower level to a higher level (but that hasn’t happened yet).

The LEGO Ninjago Movie was just being released as I was building this MOC, therefore, it seemed like perfect timing for to create a place for Master Wu to teach and practice with his disciples.

The starting point was a body of water. For any MOC with landscaping, I think a water body adds color and texture. The important part is to make the water interesting. There are a great many methods of doing this, but I began with using blue in the center and different shades of blue on the edges. At this point, I didn’t know how I was going to add to it, but I later added transparent 1×1 plates in a few shades over top of the blue plates.

The next step was to build stone curved walls for the terraced rice fields. However, it turned out that curved walls were very difficult to build upon as terraces.
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Japanese sushi that looks great and tastes blockish

Fresh from winning the ABS challenge in spectacular fashion, Didier Burtin has created a delicious Ikura maki roll. At sushi restaurants ikura (salmon roe) is always served gunkan-style (battleship.) Besides the rice and the nori (edible seaweed), there are no other embellishments and it is not served with any sauce, although you may brush a little soy sauce (shoyu) on top of the eggs with a small slice of gari (sweet pickled ginger) and the all-important wasabi.

Ikura maki roll

Gateway to tranquility

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.

KIYOMIZU-DERA, NIOMON

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.

KIYOMIZU-DERA, NIOMON

LEGO lion dances into the New Year

What better way to welcome in 2018 than with a LEGO model of a traditional Japanese shishimai mask, used for a lion dance at New Year? keiichi kamei has built a fantastic bust of the lion mask — the shaping of the face and mane are brilliant, and the restrained colour palette lends the image a real vibrancy. I particularly like the eyebrows and nose, and adding those fan pieces as a pattern on the coat is a lovely touch. But the masterstroke is the slight angle of the head, immediately injecting an air of fun and a sense of character.

shishimai_01

Shogun from the 16th century

This build of a seemingly cute warrior by John Cheng is so much more than it seems. Imagawa Yoshimoto was a feudal lord during the 16th century in Japan who was very good at not only battling but also at diplomacy and securing key alliances during his reign. His black steed and the accompanying base is quite a unique complement to the usual BrickHeadz builds that we’ve seen quite a lot of lately. Aside from being brick built, Pokémon Conquest fans may recognize him as a playable character.

Brickheadz Samurai Imagawa Yoshimoto

Brickheadz Samurai Imagawa Yoshimoto

This maneki-neko is the cat’s meow

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.

nEO_IMG_Dogod_ManekiNeko_01

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.

A demonic Bionicle straight from feudal Japan

The 2017 Bio-cup Bionicle contest is a great source of outstanding creations in the titular theme, with Tengu by the Belarussian builder Vlad Lisin as a prime example. Vlad’s theme for this round was feudal Japan and this samurai- and oni-inspired character has Japanese style to spare.

The menacing and muscular body gives a strong first impression, and details like the bead necklace and sandals reward closer inspection. In the end, all that is overshadowed by the masterfully sculpted face with a glorious white beard and the yellow eyes standing out in contrast with the dark red skin.