July 14, 2010

Karakuri Exhibit (Part 2)

Well, my post about today ended up being so long that I had to break it down into a few separate posts. Check out Part 1 if you're just joining us.


The next table had, you guessed it, even more boxes by Akio Kamei! I started out with Hamburger (1997), which has a great appearance. It took me a while to figure out the trick: even though it was an old principal, I didn't recognize it in this form. I found Outlet to be pretty easy, since there aren't many options for how to proceed. It isn't as simple as just sticking the plug in the outlet, however.

Sakura Mochi (2009), the one with the leaf,  is a new one by Kamei, and his a cute mechanism. It is similar to a mechanism in another puzzle on this table, and pretty tricky to find! This copy was a bit worn, which makes it easier to discover. It seems like this type of wear would happen fairly quickly on this type of mechanism, but who knows how many people have played with it.

Bar of Chocolate (2006) is pretty trivial, though it looks nice. Kamaboko (2008) is the one that looks like a rolled yellow cake of some sort. I don't recall how this one opens, perhaps I skipped it. I didn't solve Hot Miso Soup (2007), though I saw some folks working on it and got the general idea. From the looks of it, the mechanism is a bit fiddly.

Cosmox (1990) has a unique round shape, and a tricky mechanism to discover. It is similar to the mechanism in one of the Small Box series, though in the small box it is a bit easier since it is square rather than round. Pneumatic Box (1991) is an interesting one, you can probably guess what is involved in the solution. Kamei managed to do this concept in a manner that does not require putting your mouth on the box, which is nice. The mechanism is a bit fiddly though, but perhaps it is easier once you get the knack of it.

Starting back at the other side is Cake (1985) and Coffee Cup (1985) were made as a set. The solution to Coffee Cup makes sense, which makes it quite easy. The solution to Cake has nothing to do with the fact that it is a piece of cake, and is more difficult. It bugs me when implements are purely decorative, and this is the case for the fork and (arguably) the spoon as well.

Barmkuchen (2010) is the round yellow cake with the hole in the center. I didn't find the solution to this one to be  particularly clever. Stapler (2008) is pretty nice, I found it to be somewhat challenging, but eventually figured it out and was surprised that it took me so long.

Can (2000) is a nice one, I was playing around with it a bit without much luck, so somebody gave me the helpful hint to think about who eats spinach. I was pretty surprised by the solution, since it was unlike anything I had seen before and I didn't know it was possible.

Both Milk Container (1983) and Whiskey Bottle (1983) employ a trick that Kamei likes to use where the first compartment is fairly obvious, and the second is harder to find. Since the first compartment is large, the solver can neglect to look for the second one if they don't know that it exists. I don't think I found either of these to be particularly difficult, though my memory of both is a bit foggy.



Phew, that's all of the Kamei boxes! The next table had the work of four different craftsmen, the first of which is Tatuo Miyamoto. Odawara Lantern (2008) is fairly easy, but it is fun to play around with, since it changes shape as you solve it. I really enjoyed Fortune Cards (2006), it has a fairly simple trick, but it is well executed. The compartment springs open when you succeed, which I think is a nice touch. It really adds to the "Aha!" moment.

Clamp (2009) was Miyamoto's Christmas present last year, and I was quite curious how it worked after seeing pictures, since it looked like an interesting one. Both the movements of a clamp and the movements of a secret box are utilized in this one. A Chance Meeting (2006) is a clever design as well. You can probably guess what is involved, but it might end up being a bit trickier than you would expect.

Kuru Kuru Heart (2003) will probably remind you of the locket in the movie "The Illusionist." It doesn't work quite that way, but it transforms from an oval into a heart. This one is fairly easy. The fairly nondescript  brown box is Romantic Cake (2010) and when you remove the lid you see a heart-shaped cake. I don't recall the solution to this one, but I think it took me a minute or so to figure out.

Continuing along the far side counterclockwise are three boxes by Shiro Tajima, the first of which is amusingly named The Tiger of Carboholic (2009). I had tried this one at Brett Kuehner's house and thought it was fairly clever. The next one, Goblet Secret (2006) is a nice one. It uses the classic double-image of two faces, where the space between the faces looks like a goblet. The solution is just like a standard secret box, but when the two faces kiss, the box is ready to open. Interesting idea! The last box is The Hermit Crab Box (2006), which isn't much of a puzzle, though it is fairly cute.

Next up were a few puzzles by Hiroyuki Oka, the first of which is Maze5+2steps (2009). I didn't try it again since I had tried this at Brett's house as well, so I'm not exactly sure of the solution, but I remember liking it. Honeybee is a cute box that looks like a flower, with a little wooden bee. The solution is simple, though it is well implemented. I didn't get a chance to try the geometric looking one, Butterfly (2000), but I enjoyed the next one which was Checked Secret Box (2001). It requires several moves to open and isn't too difficult.

The last craftsman on the table was Hideto Satou. Jacket (2000) is an interesting looking one, but the solution is quite simple (as is much of Satou's work). I did not solve Mailbox (2005), since I guessed that it was they type that you need to put a certain amount (weight) of coins in it for it to open, similar to the next one Moneybank (2009). The final box is Openable Box, which is more of a curiosity than a puzzle: regardless of which side is up, the drawer will always open in the correct orientation with the opening facing upwards. Not my type of thing, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Ok, two more tables done! Three more remain, hopefully I can wrap it up in one more post and get on with the puzzle party and awards banquet!

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