The Gachapon Chronicles

This evening, as our flight to America inches ominously closer, I have decided to take my mind off my own impending doom by blogging about something completely different.  Yes, I know, let’s talk about Gachapon capsule toys.

One common myth about Gachapon products, is that they are utterly, categorically, and almost comically useless.  And when we consider all the cute animals sleeping in fake food, or the variety underwear for your cellphone that gacha have to offer, it can be easy to assume this is the case.  Yet in our household, nothing could be farther from the truth.

So in this Very Special Post, I will show you how to pimp out your household toys using  seemingly purposeless items from The Real Japan’s famous Gachapon vending machines.

First let’s talk about these tiny plastic appliances, a new-ish set which has been making the rounds lately in places where Gacha are appreciated:Perhaps at first glance, these products appear even more pointless than smelly abenomasks.  After all, they don’t even have straps attached, which precludes them from getting tangled up in all your other danglies.   But let’s not be too quick to judge.  Here, for example, we have a perfectly safe 3-story Lego apartment building, with functioning elevator.

All we need, however, are a few choice items from the above vending machine, and now we have a fire hazard of epic proportion.

Similarly, this gacha is really great for sprucing up any dollhouse.  Our Sylvanian Families dollhouse, for one, is already extremely well-loved.  Both my boys are passionate about arranging or rearranging furniture, especially the bathrooms.  Too passionate, really.  So much so, that their quarrels over home design turn violent quickly, often resulting in personal injury or property damage.  But I digress.

Sylvanian Families furniture is very cute and all, but the older I get the more I realize that its main function it to remind Boomers of their childhoods.  But do not fear.  A few tangled cords can make even the most Eisenhower-era television set look realistic.

And with Japan being dry AF in the winter,  I don’t know about you but we all sleep with this humidifier in our rooms.  The layout of the power cords also bears a striking resemblance to our reality.

Working from the kitchen table is similarly a common occurrence in our home.

Better yet, add a free sticker from a Certain Corporation’s promotional materials (which I will never stop receiving by mail no matter how much I ignore them), and suddenly we’ve normalized Zoom playdates.

Another popular Gacha I’ve seen around lately is the one selling bus buttons.

They look and sound exactly like the buttons you press on the bus before your stop, so that the driver knows to pull over and let you off.  The experience is remarkably similar, except that there is no bus, no driver, no bus stop, and nobody is actually going anywhere.  Don’t worry though, you just need some old toys and some tape, and you’re good to go.  For hours.  Until the battery flickers out and dies.  I recommend earplugs for this particular project.

Another noisy favorite are the out-of-context doorbells.

With these, though, I have managed to skew the urusai factor to my advantage.  Here we have the popular IKEA Kura child bed with house-themed tent.  (Just an extra 3000 yen or so.  Totally recommend.)

Except there is one small addition.  Do you see it?

Yes.  And now you know how, with the help of the Gacha Gods, I have stumbled upon the most annoyingly effective way to wake my child up for school ever.  And if that isn’t useful, what is?

Lastly I am going to talk about our favorite: the emergency button Gacha.  For these, we just skipped the vending machine experience and bought the entire set off of merukari.  Indeed, we must have intuitively known how practical and loved they would be.

Emergency buttons save lives on the tracks, I’m sure we can all agree.  Especially this dull-witted sheep who is about to be flattened by the 8th Ave. local.

Accidents on the toilet, especially those involving dolls, are not talked about as much as they should be.  My boys have taught me that all sorts of scary things can happen.  Observe.

Which is why the toilet “yobidashi button” can never be separated from our toy toilet.  A toilet which lives, for reasons unknown, atop the dining room table.  It can not be moved for any reason, lest I face the wrath of the tyrants.  And nobody wants that.  Not for the sake of a trinket, anyway.

And a very useful one at that.

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