Notes from Puzzle Palace

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Puzzle party Hakone

Puzzle party today and it was even more amazing than the one in Osaka! If that is even possible.

I took another 488 photos again today! On to the puzzle party. I had a few more hanayama I wanted to buy and ended up buying 6 more! Other purchases today were a few puzzle box kits, a couple more wooden puzzles, an old russian slide, a few paper puzzles-folding boxes, some icecream puzzles, a number of cd puzzles...I can't remember them all. At the end of the event I have added over 100 new puzzles to my collection. I'll have to count when I get back to HK.

Matt and the bug even came to the puzzle party. I saw that it was open to the public, so I made a bee-line to the room to get them before they went exploring. We all got to use a plane and shave a bit of wood. 7 microns thick I was told.

Matt looked at the wooden puzzles, tried a trick lock and loved looking at the tools used by the craftsmen.

We went up to the room so I could pack up the bags (and what a job that was!) Snap a few more photos and get ready for dinner.

Awards dinner-totally uneventful! Not. Surprise, Laurie and Ethel Berkenshire both won a prize for the puzzle rally. His and hers matching puzzle boxes.

HARMONY by Dmitry Pevnitskiy and Krill Grebnev was the puzzle of the year. It's a real beauty too. Easy to solve but very very pretty.

I'm happy to say that Pantazis ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE, as well as Bram's CAST RATTLE both got prizes. (I voted for both of them!)

My little bug got an "award" for being best announcer at IPP! I just love Nick Baxters sense of humor! Her "AWARD" was CANNIBAL MONSTERS (a puzzle in the competition) MINE!!! hahaha, she won't even let me look at it. Good thing I played it during the "judging".

Heidetoshi refused to change t-shirts with me, but he made up for it at the end of the day with a most generous gift of a puzzle! I was again overwhelmed.

When I return to HK and can put puzzles to people (with the help of the attendee list) I will endeavor to post who I got what from.

Once again it is past midnight and I've been up way too late.

I will end this blog a simple 'I LOVED IT AND CAN'T WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!'

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Puzzle Hunting in Hakone

Apparently we were supposed to answer some questions about puzzles during this hunt. OOPS! Panda and I joined up and totally forgot about that bit. we thought puzzle hunt meant hunting for more puzzles.

I don't remember when we stopped where, so I'll just give an overview of some of the highlights of the day.

One stop was to see a craftsman work. Isakawa? I can't spell. Anyway, as we went in the door Jerry turned around and told me the craftsmanship was amazing in this shop. Well hello! You can't get a better stamp of approval than that. I bought a number of puzzles from there that I probably shouldn't have, but I won't be in Japan again for a few more years so why not. 3 or 4 boxes, a couple of put together shapes. A couple of kits and a dolly for the bug.

After that, the good Dr. and I set out to look for a drink. He needed Juice and I needed COFFEE! We then wandered down another street when I spotted the wood pattern on the side of a building and I am pleased to report that we only bought more from 2 of the7 or 8 shops we saw.

We took a walk down the road through a bunch of Cedar trees which were 100 years old and amazing. Back to the bus for another stop further down the road. This one I got a simple but elegant puzzle heart. And a few other toys.

More bus ride and we came to the cable car here in Osaka. I took some photos of the mountains. I'm sure if you have very good eyes you can see them through the fog.

last stop was Goya. We decided to forgo puzzle hunting and instead we took in a tea ceremony and a little tour of a tea house. It took longer than expected and we had to run to catch the bus back down the hill.

Matt and the bug and I took a walk around the town, and Then went for dinner. Nice again. All of them have been good. I had a bit of a problem last night with allergies, and was swollen this morning, but lucky for Panda, it only affected my mouth. I couldn't talk much because I was in pain.

After dinner, we went down to check out the competition puzzles, I made my vote, and Matt solved 3 puzzles! Shocked me!

The bug was outside bothering people to look at their puzzles, and she didn't realize she can't just grab anyones puzzle. I made apologies and all was forgiven. My fault really. I've let her play with all my toys, so she doesn't know that some of them shouldn't be touched with out asking first.

The upshot of the whole day is that while I sit here typing this, Matt is trying to solve a Hanayama puzzle given to him by Stan Issacs. I do believe he is catching the puzzle bug.

Photos are not uploaded tonight. Some problem with the internet. It may be because it is a bit stormy complete with lightening. Or maybe not. At any rate, I will try to load again in the morning.

Tomorrow: Hakone Puzzle Party!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Train ride and Hakone day 1

Well, we got up and left Osaka at 8:40 this morning. Check out, load up the luggage, 20 minutes on a bus and we hit the train station. The train ride was around 1 1/2 hours. No, we didn't spot Mt. Fuji. It was raining. A switch of trains and within 15 minutes we were in Hakone and arrived at the hotel. What a disaster! The check in line was hours long it seemed. Not really, but too much for the bug anyway. Checked into the hotel and ran up and dropped the bags. Very quickly snapped a few shots of the room before the bug got to be the bug and destroyed it.

Down for the puzzle box sale. Lovely items on display, and I really didn't intend to buy any. The humidity back home just kills wooden puzzles. Yes, I know I have a bunch, but to spend money on a good puzzle and know it will be destroyed is like having a child knowing you are going to expose it.

The puzzle whore got the better of me and I bought 4 of them, one smallish one, and 3 tiny ones. I bought a couple of cows, a temple gate, and a bunny put together for the bug.

Panda bought a lot, and Bob got a nifty telescope. There were so many beautiful puzzles on display, it was very hard to decide which one to purchase. Surprise, surprise, Matt wasn't angry at all. He's really been very good this trip. Not a word of complaint out of him.

Back up to the room to unbox some Hanayama toys I got (the packaging is too much and I can't buy any more if I don't unpack them, so.....

Dinner and we all got a lovely little wooden box. listened to a bit of music, ate more good food, chatted, snapped some photos and the evening was over.

Jerry Slocum was presented with a puzzle box that takes 1536 move to open. Wei-Hwa opened it within 15 minutes or so! A round of applause went up when it was completed. No easy restoration so they had to go through the same process all over again to put it back together!

Matt and the bug and I went to the spa for 1/2 an hour and now it's time for big bed.

Tomorrow, Puzzle hunt!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Puzzle party

Well, today was the day. 9 am I was at the door and waiting. Being the greedy collector that I am, I was so hoping for loads of toys. I got a bunch of the new ones that are only in Japan, and a few others. But not loads and loads. Ok, only a suitcase full. It was an amazing 5 hours? is that right, the time just seemed to fly past. I sat with Oskar and Georges for a bit. Sat with Dave for a bit, walked around the room 50 times and on each pass seemed to find something I didn't see before. Im not sure how that happened. But it did.

Dinner was seafood as expected and Dave and Dr. Panda pigged out. Rox hit the sauce and ate what she could. (Crazy maker) Matt said it was way better than HK, and even the bug liked it.

A couple of nice after dinner shows. A juggler? can he be called that? a guy with a triangle and some squares that was wonderful, and that's when I couldn't remember anymore.

My lovely husband got absorbed in a wooden puzzle and even managed to solve it. Shocked us all I think. But then, he hates them doesn't he!

Dave and Bob did a bit of juggling for me and I have snaps of it.

I finally met Marcel and it made me realize how much I missed my puzzle daddy. I do wish he would return.

Again time has caught up with me and it's past midnight.

Photos a plenty were taken and can be found here:

and here:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

last day in Osaka

Today is the puzzle party! nothing but toys for a few hours. Then dinner tonight and tomorrow it is running for a train and a new city.

I wish there were wifi an I could post as the day goes on, but all will have to wait until tonight when I get back to the room at some crazy hour.

Here's hoping I don't buy too many toys. As always, I'll post when I return this evening. Expect more photos and (hopefully) just a bit of bragging. Have to go get something to eat and then run over to see all those toys on offer!

And if George sells me a dead butterfly, I'll kill him!

After thoughts

I didn't have a chance to jump Dave! He waved at me, I waved back then turned around again. Pre occupied and not paying attention. Later I asked Panda where he was and felt like a damned fool. Blew that, couldn't jump him then could I?

Photos have been loaded:

puzzle exchange and TP dinner

I've never seen anything like it! What an amazing thing! people running around (not really) trading puzzles with eachother. There were so many amazing puzzles there today it wasn't funny. I can't even begin to explain all of what I saw. And yes, for all you TP fans, the latch cube was an exchange puzzle. There were burrs, voids, magics, put together, packing, rings, name it.

4 hours of just trading puzzles with people and listening to what each puzzle did. Loads of stories about them and many more! What a trip! What an experience.

After, we took a walk around Osaka to check out what was on offer. Went to a food street, then off to an electronics street. A bit of puzzle shopping and Mickey mouse is coming home with me. Ran back to listen to a bit of one lecture, then another. We ended the day with dinner.

Dinner! so many people were there (warning-heavy name dropping here-and sorry for those I missed): Oskar and his wife, Panda, Dave (later) Jason, Hidetoshi, Okamoto, Stan Issac, Tom, George, Bob, Jerry, myself. Later others dropped by to check out the toys. And what a bunch of toys it was too!

I leave you with a teaser. FB fotos will be loaded tomorrow because it is now past 12 and I'm dead. Have to wake up very early for the puzzle party!

Friday, July 9, 2010


Recognize this fellow? Very nice man. He gave me that lovely little magic he's holding. 3 panels and so cute!

I finally met Nick Baxter, and loved his introduction something along the lines of "we've met on facebook...." He likes my "new toys" photos that I post by the way.

Disentangled a Tom Jolly that George Bell was holding, Met a few Japanese builders my husband met in the smoking room, played with some more toys.

This little girl is in Heaven!

Had a all around good time talking and meeting people.

Panda let me play with his toy! and Bob showed me his new toy as well. Someone introduced me to Jason "helicopter man"

I'm over whelmed with all. More tomorrow. I'm dead and have to wake up bright and early tomorrow.

Photos of the days events can be found here:

dinner continued

Over dinner Oskar and I chatted a bit about copies, George miller came over and said hello. As did Jerry Slocum and a few others. I got to play with a lot of Oskar's toys! Heavenly. I'm glad he's like I am. "Don't mess it too much Rox, it will take time to return to a solved state." And that's not a negative when you see how some of those things turn!

So dinner finished and we all kind of made our way to the competition room to look at a few of the puzzles on display. And yes, I did play with a few of them.

I'm not telling you all my favorite, but I've picked out a few I wouldn't mind bringing home with me if I could. But since I can't.....I played instead. I'll go back and play some more tomorrow.

Some things I don't understand and I plan to ask about it tomorrow.

Founders banquet and playing with puzzles

Tonight was the founders banquet. Very well set up. There were people directing us every step of the way to get to the building it was in. I'm jumping ahead, but at the end of the day, there was a guard with a bit of direction written in English to show us as we headed out the door.

As we got there, they weren't quite ready for us so we sat outside and met a few people. I got a big kick out of this, because it convinced me that stereo types ring true and are universal. People kept coming over and welcoming Matt to IPP. Asked him if it was his first time while I sat around and looked like a cute wife. He very nicely introduced me "as the puzzle person" :) that just tickled me!

Dinner: on the table was sushi and some snack like stuff. And Beer! Love the beer. After my little bout of allergy attacks in China, I contacted them and told them of my allergies. I noticed the food had a sign on the food that said "seafood shellfish" I was very grateful. Not a problem of deciding if I could eat or not.

I was simply overwhelmed by the people I met at dinner and apologize for not knowing all there We sat with Oskar and his wife, a couple from New Zealand, a chap from England, I forget the rest. At dinner I got to play with a few of Oskar's puzzles. And bought one to bring back to HK and show Uwe. The slide 2x2x2.

Osaka zoo in the rain

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my! And stinky cats and elephants too. Monkeys and seals and birds and camels (they really do stink). And all of that in the rain. Came back to get photos taken, and who does the bug see in the lobby but Dr. Panda!

As promised, I raced across the room and jumped him! Gave him a big kiss as well-I'm pretty sure by the look on his face he was disappointed it was me doing the kissing. I have a feeling he was wishing it would be someone younger and cuter! Such is life!

Time for a shower, a short nap and then off to dinner later this evening. Will take loads of photos then. The batteries are in the charger and I've just loaded a new chip into the camera.

Note to self, next time I do something like this I need to bring along more than just one electrical converter. 5 things need charging and only one makes for a long time.

photos are here:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Morning of the 9th

Breakfast at the hotel. Matt had some kind of fermented bean thing that smelled horrid. Needlesss to say, I didn't try it. :) They had coffee!!! I had 4!

Introduced myself to George Miller. Met a few more people and got a good Morning from Jerry Slocum. I'm still not sure how this little girl got mixed up with these amazing people, but I'm not knocking it.

We're off to go see a zoo this morning and then a dinner later tonight. Will write more later!

Flight and Osaka

I'm not a good traveller at the best of times and even worse when I'm excited. Minor turbulence but I survived without having to use that bag that sits behind the seat! Much to the disappointment of the bug. She was really hoping mom would use it for something other than a hand puppet.

A bit rocky at times, but then I hit on the brilliant idea of having a glass of wine and I was good to go. Feeling no pain and enjoying myself very much. Even played a game of war with the bug!

Osaka was entered around 8 pm tonight, but it took another hour or so to get to the hotel. The trains were interesting to say the least. But the subway system is even better than HK...ok, maybe not, but it was easy to tell where we wanted to go. Little numbers on the posts tell us teh station numbers.

Walked a whopping 4 blocks and got here. Mom being mom saw a bunch of gents sucking down some suds near the elevator bank and went over and started chatting. OK, I've seen photos of them so I knew they were IPP kind of folks. Got checked into the hotel and went and dumped our bags.

We were in need of some food for mom's tum because she's not able to eat when travelling. As we got back down stairs, who did I see but Oskar! I ran over gave a quick handshake and kiss, met his wife and a few others and ran out to get my food.

Had dinner in a local place, and the bug was thrilled. She entertained the owner and he gave her a little fan. She was tickled! Ho Ho may! That's all she kept saying. (It tastes very good) Ran across teh road to get mom some coffee (what is it with asian countries and not having coffee>) then back to the hotel so I could write this up.

More tomorrow....Dr. Panda and the rest start arriving! Then the real squealing begins!

And if I can get the room connection to work I'll post photos at some point. Tonight I'm too tired to try and work it out.

Slow internet was the problem. Photos here:


Grr. Airport wifi let me post the title and no more! Other than that, no problems getting out of HK

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

8 June 2010

Ok guys and gals, I'm off to IPP in 4 hours. I thought I'd try something new and not be a dinosaur. I'll be posting periodically over the next week from Osaka and Hakone. Throughout IPP30, you may be able to catch glimpses of events, meetings with people, tidbits of information that tickle my fancy!
I hope you all enjoy this experiment of mine, but no promises on amount or quality of content!