When you are at the supermarket cash register do your kids beg for a coin to put in the nearby capsule machine that dispenses little toys? Well, picture entire aisles of these capsule machines...that's what we've got in Hong Kong.
Andy and Carla, be very afraid...
Gashapons, as they are known in Japan and other Asian countries, have become a cult phenomenon. Each toy is only around 10cm tall and cost around $2 AUD each. These little plastic figures usually come in a series for buyers to collect, but as the capsule machines dispense the miniature toys randomly, collecting a whole series can be a frustrating challenge. The gashapons range from famous cartoons, manga, anime, or video game-related characters (Gundam, Astro Boy, Pokemon, Disney, Mario Bros, Bleach, Dragonball, Naruto, etc) to eduacational or bizarre items (human anatomy models, intricately detailed beetles, shoes for Barbie dolls, etc).
Thankfully, our children have not yet gotten caught up in the collectible capsule craze. Tirzah, however, is quite entertained by turning the crank handles on all the machines she sees at the shops. Once a well-meaning stranger even put a coin in for her to get a toy. Sadly, Tirzah's gashapon has since been misplaced somewhere in our apartment. I expect it's lost forever. Here's hoping it's not one of the extremely rare and valuable one-of-a-kind designs!