Chit-chat from Imaginatorium Shop
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April 1st: The Post Office is not accepting packages to 153 coutries; so we have stopped accepting orders for the immediate future. This will change; I have to make the checkout accept only selected countries, which will take a day or so. Please go ahead and browse, and if you want to order puzzles you can send us details on the special form at the checkout. We will keep your order ready for later payment and despatch.
Chit-chat from Imaginatorium Shop
Blog entry for September 2019
Some things never change,... but others do. Imaginatorium Shop has now been operating for seventeen years, and very little has changed in the puzzle brands that we sell. Just one, the "Road" brand, disappeared in 2017, and the Apollo company was aborbed by Epoch. The Apollo brand is being phased out for full-size puzzles but is still used for children's puzzles and other toys.
But one of the brands has a long-term split personality. This is the Artbox range of puzzles, produced from 1986 by the Amada printing company. While retaining the Artbox name, it adopted a separate name, "Ensky", for the separate puzzle marketing company. But then the Ensky name is also used for a range of other items featuring characters from Ghibli animations. In fact the company produces two regular print catalogs, one for Ghibli products, and a separate one for all other puzzles. For a long time we just kept the Artbox name for simplicity, but increasingly you will see "Artbox/Ensky".
There are other variations in names. Obviously, all of the original titles almost all of the puzzle titles, names of series, and so on are in Japanese (and those that are intended to be in English are not always very natural!) and so I have to decide what we should call them. One interesting example is the Beverly series I have called "Torture": most of these are absolutely blank puzzles, of up to 2000 pieces – and we have sold an amazing number of these! The original titles use the word jigoku (地獄), which refers to "hell" in various religious traditions, principally Buddhism; there is a Wikipedia article about this under its original Sanscrit name of Naraka. I felt that the tone of "hell" is just a bit severe, and "torture" seemed more appropriate. Incidentally, all sorts of names from Buddhism pop up in puzzles, and I have had to learn my way round the Sanskrit and Chinese versions, because generally the original names before passing through Chinese are better known in English: Avalokiteshvara who became Kannon in Japanese, for example.
Last but not least: no, Imaginatorium Shop is not changing its name! But we will soon be moving to a new domain name, imaginatorium.com. The shop started as a corner of my personal website (The Imaginatorium, somewhat neglected), and it is time for independence. Updates coming soon...!
"A kind of blog..." My sporadic comments, mostly topical, on shop matters. (Brian Chandler)