Fixing Konata

Since I broke Konata’s leg last night in preparation for a photo shoot, I decided to seek out a replacement. Thanks to my friends over at DannyChoo, I soon found a US seller that still had stock of the now hard to find figure. For not too much money (and a bit less than what I paid for the first one), I will be receiving a new Konata Figma from AnimePavilion. Though I couldn’t help myself and also ordered a Tohsaka Rin Figma… I keep telling myself it was only $1 more to ship two Figma instead of one, so it’s really worth it. Somehow, I don’t think it quite works that way.

With the new Konata on the way, I set my sights to fixing the one I already had. I felt bad at breaking it after just one attempt at posing her, so I broke out the glue and got to work. First, I worked the remaining leg from the socket and was left with the two pieces on the table. Since the break was fairly clean, it was easy lining up the pieces. A small dab of superglue did the trick with holding them together, and after setting for a few minutes, I reattached the entire leg. Fortunately, the break happened when it was still fairly straight, so the pose isn’t too unnatural for display.

IMG_3025 Konata and her new best friend. No cast necessary!

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Close up of the joint. Can you tell it was broken?

New arrival and review of Tenso.com

I swung by the post office on the way to work this morning since I received a notice that a package had come in (apparently I was vacuuming and didn’t hear the doorbell ring). My Miyuki Figma had arrived, courtesy of Tenso.com.

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The package arrived in good condition and it appears that Tenso had put a new shipping label on the box and forwarded it on. It didn’t seem the seller had anticipated that Miyuki would be flying overseas, so no padding was used at all…

IMG_3013Kagami, Tsukasa and kitty welcome Miyuki to her new home

You may have noticed that Konata is missing from these shots. I was going to pose her on top of the box in a sitting position, but there was an accident when I tried to do that. Apparently the joint was a bit tight or weak (never really tried to pose her before) and it snapped as soon as I tried to move it. ;_;

IMG_3014Poor Konata… she doesn’t get to join Miyuki

I’ll definitely try to replace her, but I haven’t had much luck finding a seller that still has them in stock (aside from eBay). Realistically though, I’d just be looking to replace the leg piece, so if anyone knows where I can get a spare left leg for Figma 008, I’d be open to options…

IMG_3021 Since Konata is temporarily out of commission, Miyuki has taken her place on the shelf

As for the actual Tenso service, it seems like a pretty good concept. I can see how it could be useful for people trying to buy goods from a Japanese retailer that doesn’t ship outside of Japan. The process itself is pretty simple:

  1. Go to Tenso.com and sign up for an account
  2. Once the account is activated, they provide you with what amounts to a PO Box at their offices in Tokyo
  3. When purchasing from a Japanese retailer, provide them with your Tenso address
  4. Once Tenso has received the package, they contact you for shipping payment (a small shipping and handling fee applies on top of actual shipping cost)
  5. When they’ve received your payment (they take credit card and PayPal), they’ll put a shipping label on the box and send it to you
  6. You wait and check tracking every 15 minutes to find out where it is
  7. Package arrives via EMS and delivered by your local postal system

In all, a nice little business model. It is very easy to set up and use. For my order, however, I struggled a bit to see the value of the service. Miyuki cost 2244 Yen from a marketplace seller on Amazon.co.jp. Shipping charges from Tenso added 1990 Yen more, bringing the total to 4234 Yen or US$42. The current going rate for a Miyuki Figma from Toylet.net is $30+$10 shipping.

Now, using the service may be worthwhile on something a bit larger and expensive, as the service charge would be a smaller percentage of the item cost. With a small order such as this, it doesn’t make much sense to go with this method. It may also be worthwhile to get rare items that can’t be found elsewhere except for Japanese auction sites or smaller online retailers.

Thanks Danny for allowing me the opportunity to try out this
service! Now to see if I can replace Konata or her leg…

Hanami in Washington DC

While traditional Hanami happens in Japan, I had the pleasure of visiting the nation’s capitol this year for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The trip was only for a few days (March 31-April 5) but our time there happened to coincide with the peak blooming period (April 1-4). We wasted no time going out to see the trees and packed our gear for the beautiful walk around the Tidal Basin. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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IMG_2134 The walkway along the basin was lined with trees and people

IMG_2181Looking across the water to the Jefferson Memorial

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In addition to the trees, Saturday brought the annual Sakura Matsuri street festival. As one of the largest Japanese festivals in the nation, it closed down 6 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue and featured performances from cultural groups, taiko troupes, and even JPop artists. This year’s major guest was singer Kawashima Ai, the young and talented JPop artist.

IMG_2943 The crowds gather to eat, play, and enjoy the beautiful weather

IMG_2924 No celebration of Japanese culture can be complete without Cosplay

IMG_2960 …or Godzilla, for that matter…

IMG_2949 Kawashima Ai performs on stage

Figures in the snow

Charlotte saw one of its first major snowfalls of the year last night. The storm went on through most of the evening and left behind several inches of snow. Most of the city was shut down during the day, but since I’m originally from Upstate New York, this really felt more like an early spring day. Which means I didn’t mind going out, driving to work, etc. It also meant I had a golden opportunity to do some awesome figure photography. I present to you several series of snowy photos.

IMG_1644T: What’s all this stuff?

IMG_1647T: It’s kinda cold out here…

IMG_1649T: Aren’t you cold Shana? Neither of us are really dressed for this…

IMG_1650S: Nah, my leggings are pretty warm. Plus my hair is on fire.
 

The next day, Tsuruya-san came with me to the office. I spotted the following scene and decided it would make a great picture.

IMG_1664There’s irony in here somewhere, I just don’t know where it is

Once I got home, a couple of the girls decided to go out for a little beach party. Kokoro went out to scout the area first, then everyone else followed.

IMG_1691Shana, are you making a snow-mellonpan?

While the bikini girls were having a chillingly good time, Tsuruyu-san and Shana were at it again. This time it looks like Tsuruyu-san is having a bit too much fun…

IMG_1693 S: Tsuruya-san, what are you doing? You’re going to catch cold! IMG_1697 T: This is great! You really should try it, Shana!
 

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S: That’s probably not such a great idea… It might put out my hair.

It was a short windows of opportunity, but I’m glad I took advantage. If only I’d gotten the Gift Saber in today… That would have made for an awesome photo shoot!