September 13, 2010

Sushi Puzzle Box

During our recent trip to the International Puzzle Party in Japan, my fabulous girlfriend, Kellian, was kind enough to purchase a puzzle box for me. She had been exploring the Hakone area while I was puzzling, and she came across a nice hotel that also happened to sell some Karakuri Creation Group boxes. I was quite thrilled that she selected a box my one of my favorite craftsmen, Hiroshi Iwahara!

I didn't try to solve it while we were in Japan, as was the case with most of the puzzles I got while we were there. When we got home, this was one of the first ones I tried!

It is beautifully finished and has a great appearance: I think this one will really stand out in my collection due to its unusual look. The wood is beautifully finished, and I really like the woods selected for the pieces of sushi. These nice photos are from Izumia, though they are currently out of stock on Karakuri Sushi.

This puzzle actually consists of two compartments, one in each piece of sushi. Iwahara's hint in the description is to think about "how to eat" and "how to hold" them. I started with the one on the right, which is not attached to the base.

I had a pretty good guess for how this one would work, but it still took me a good 10-15 minutes to figure out just how to open it. One panel was a bit tight and required a bit of wiggling to open up, which I think delayed me a bit. These puzzles are quite sensitive to humidity, so this is frequently the culprit. I really liked the solution, since, as the hint implies, it is quite related to sushi.

The second piece of sushi on the left is attached to the base. It took me a similar amount of time to figure this one out, about 10-15 minutes. It is sort of like a type of trick I had seen before, though a bit different. I think most will find this to be quite difficult. I have shown it to a number of people, and they have all required some encouragement in the right direction.

I think the only downside to this puzzle is the tight fit on the first piece of sushi. I'm not sure if they're all like that, but it is the case with mine. Other than that, I thought that the solutions were clever and the craftsmanship is superb!

Thanks again to Kellian for the lovely puzzle box!

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