In my youth I used to watch a lot of anime, and of course with most of it being created in Japan during that time, snippets of daily Japanese life found their way into the animations; school uniforms, cherry blossom trees, and of course Bento boxes – neatly home-packed meals. The fairly new BYGGLEK boxes produced as a collaboration between LEGO and Ikea are perfect for creating LEGO Bento, which builder nobu_tary has expertly done here.
Rice balls, veggies, and more! These foodstuffs are all expertly brick-built, some – like the rice balls are constructed by way of the SNOT (studs not on top) technique, utilizing some basic pieces such as slopes and bricks and others such as the two tomatoes are built regularly and are composed of only a couple pieces. These colorful food builds certainly capture the colorful palette of Japanese cuisine. The cover of the box is also colorfully decorated with a nice mosaic pattern built out of variously shaped tiles which can be found in the LEGO Dots line. Nobu_tary did not forget the utensils either – the chopsticks here being shaped by various cone and cylinder pieces topped with some 1×1 bricks and plates. Certainly this build is a palatable one indeed.
Master of brick-built characters Eero Okkonen has shaped this fanciful LEGO samurai, and true to his typical style, has kitted it out with splendid parts usages from top to bottom. While there are many clever building techniques that are worth highlighting, such as the lever bases around the flag on his chest, or the offset cascade of car slopes for the front of the red kusazuri (or skirt armor), in my opinion, the best technique is a very simple one that serves both form and function. The front of the Samurai’s feet are made with two red cheese slopes around a black lamp holder, and the color different would be a problem in most applications. But here it perfectly mimics the split-toed tabi (or socks) of traditional Japanese garb.
You can read more about the samurai and how Eero designed it on his website, Cyclopic Bricks.
I deeply admire those who can take a LEGO build and create a story using beautiful photography. That’s exactly what Orient R Minesky has done with this pair of adventurous school girls. The builds themselves are well done, but their interaction with non-LEGO items brings them to life. The collection includes several great shots, and we wanted to share a few of our favorites. Here they’re spending a beautiful day taking pictures in the park.
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Can someone help me with a tech question? How do I set the parental controls so that my parents can’t watch Fox News? While The Brothers Brick IT team and I are working that out, I’d like to show you a fox of a different kind. This Kyuubi no Kitsune (Nine-tailed Fox) built by Jessica Farrell is a well-known character in Japanese folklore. Jessica tells us that this magical creature lives for an incredibly long time and grows a new tail for each century of spiritual training and wisdom. Upon gaining its ninth tail, the Kitsune has reached its full powers and its tails may begin to turn golden or white in color. Its natural form is that of an ordinary fox but the powerful Kitsune is able to shape-shift into other forms, particularly that of a beautiful young woman, and get up to all sorts of mischief!
She also tells us that this model is comprised of 4,304 elements and took three weeks to design and build. I am particularly fond of the intricate textured stones and the flowing brook. The entire setting instills a tranquil feeling for me and the Kitsune’s expression exudes wisdom. Now that is a Fox network I would watch!
This wouldn’t be the first time we were enchanted by Jessica’s mythical beings. Check out this dragon and an uncanny walking house.
Growing up, I was lucky to have one of LEGO’s early sets in the castle theme, 375 Castle, which, along with several classic space sets catapulted my LEGO building creativity to a whole new level. And it seems I am not alone in my nostalgic feelings for this set. Galaktek has built a LEGO model inspired by this set, featuring a central section, with four hinged wings that open up for further play and display options. This one perfectly represents feudal Japan with an arched front gate, very detailed stone foundations and vegetation, and a lovely pagoda with ornate gold details.
And if this castle mash-up feels familiar, it’s for a good reason. You may have seen this model in person if you were in Seattle for Brickcon 2019 in early October, where the builder had several castles all built as an homage to the original castle LEGO set. We also covered another of these castle mash-ups recently here on TBB.
In Japanese mythology, the giant catfish Namazu lives in the mud under the islands of Japan. When this creature thrashes, violent earthquakes result. Not a good thing, but that hasn’t stopped Japan from embracing Namazu as a mascot of sorts for earthquakes. Catfish are a common image on earthquake-related signs, and even appear on the Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) logo. And, as you might expect from a monster-turned-mascot, sometimes those catfish images are just adorable. Case in point: [Jack Frost] has built a LEGO version of Namazu that will melt your heart, even as it shakes your world.
There are a lot of fun aspects to this build. Although a couple of studs can be spotted, the majority of the body is sculpted in smooth black elements including Hero Factory armor. Meanwhile, the flame colors in the Legend of Chima energy effects used as fins invoke the destructive aspects of earthquakes. But the large and expressive eyes and charming smile somehow try and make that seem like not a big deal.
Somehow, though, I think we should probably just be terrified.
I met Javier Soravilla at Japan Brickfest in Kobe a couple of weeks ago, and I swore to him that if he ever looked the other way even for a minute, I’d steal his Queen of Hearts away from him. This lovely character was one of my favourite builds on the floor. It looks so perfect with that solemn pose, graceful stance, and beautifully shaped back bow down to the rubber belts for the sandals.
I’m also heartbroken to say that though I did make a proposal, she did find her way back to Javier in the end.
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!
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.
The cherry tree in blossom has a particular significance in Japanese culture, acting as a metaphor for the Buddhist idea of the transience of life. As a result, Ayerlego’s choice to showcase the vibrant pink blooms in his LEGO recreation of an elegant Japanese garden adds an extra level of authenticity to his build. The tree is expertly constructed, carefully arranging its multiple flower stem elements to create the symbolically significant firework-like burst of colour. Setting it against well-selected additions such as the ornamental fish statuettes at the bridgehead, and kimono girl mini-figure completes an aesthetically pleasing display of traditional Japanese life.
Two or three carefully selected elements are all it takes to create something truly elegant from LEGO and ItouN’s samurai girl Suika makes this a case in point. Combining inverted wedge and red ball joint elements to create flared britches is inspired building at its best. It’s a trend that continues throughout, from the clip plates that double as braided hair through to the pointed red boots; everything here works towards a coherent aesthetic vision. Simplicity in this instance is the very essence of beauty.
The flower-laden gardens and open paddy fields that surround Rollon Smith’s Snake Samouraï Temple create a beautifully secluded retreat for the noble Japanese warrior. What I find really appealing about this scene is the way the well-selected decorative details, such as the serpent reliefs and the various printed tiles, are balanced against an obviously tended natural landscape.
Zooming in you find the minifigure inhabitants of the temple caught in the acts of harvesting rice, pruning plants and raking gravel; and it’s this little nod to Zen aesthetic practice that ultimately makes for such a satisfying build.