Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Design-- Pencil Cases

My kids' pencil cases for school in the photo above (Sugar Bunnies for Cici, Pokemon for the boys).  From the day Koshi started first grade (or rather, slightly before, when we got the list of things to get *for* first grade), I thought these were the coolest pencil cases I'd ever seen.  Seriously. 

...Look at this!  I'm slightly jealous of my own kids, they have such awesome, well-designed pencil cases.  I *know* I didn't ever have anything this cool when I was in elementary school...

...see how the sharpened pecils slide right down into their own little sleeves?  And how the whole piece lifts up (you can see my fingers over there, holding it up) for ease of putting in and taking out?  That way you can go to school prepared with nice, sharp pencils that won't break on the way to school--an important consideration for first graders:-))

And there's plenty of space for erasers, and even a built-in pencil sharpener that actually works well...

Can you see how to use the pencil sharpener?  You don't have to take it out to use it (though it comes out to dump out shavings)...

Ja jan!  There's a little door that slides to the right on the outside--just slide it over, and sharpen away!  Take that piece out and slide the end open to dump the pencil shavings

Teddy's pencil case..

...and that's not all!  That's Teddy's case above, and flipped over in the photo to the right.  The underside has storage for extra pencils, small rulers, erasers, or whatever.   (For the Sharp-Eyed Reader:  yes, Teddy has managed to lose his pencil sharpner out of this case, which is fairly typical...)
To be completely honest, though, I don't know how much studying I'd get done at school if I had a pencil case that fun...

Mata asobou, ne!


  1. Ah! And I who thought I had a neat pencil case! I will never see it in the same way ever agin, now when I know... there is such a thing as the *perfect* pencil case! (I would just love to bring Cici's pencil case with me to uni! I am *that* mature!)

  2. lostinsophistication-- no worries! Most of the uni girls here have pencil cases like that (or, if a different style, at *least* as cute!) I'm supposedly a *grownup*, and I covet those pencil cases (I could go get one for myself, but my husband's eyebrows would get lost in his hairline...;-))

  3. I am, unfortunately, one of the few Japanophiles who is not particularly interested in the super cuteness of things Japanese. It just doesn't do anything for me. I can appreciate it in some ways, and it is certainly an interesting element of Japanese society, and one that anyone needs to at least engage with in order to understand Japan, Japanese people, and Japanese culture/society.

    That being said, these are super neat pencil cases! I have a boring adult style navy blue and brown pencil case that I bought at Kinokuniya in New York City. I usually keep an eraser and small hand-held sharpener in it, along with some pens, mechanical pencils, and drawing utensils. I like the understated elegance and simplicity of the design/style and color scheme of mine. But your kids beat me when it comes to organization! Each writing utensil has its own spot, which it gets held into! There are compartments and dividers! I think I need to make a trip to the bunboguya sometime in the near future.

    That reminds me, have you ever been to Itoya in Ginza? Perhaps one of my favorite stores in the world!

  4. Oh very cool, Sage would especially love the red one. She is big into Pokemon lately.

    Mine were just cardboard boxes that got crushed and ripped and drawn all over. ;_;

  5. That's got to be the cutest pencils cases I've ever seen. *Stares jealously*

    I need to go downtown and purchase something cute from those Japanese cutesy stores asap. Hmm...maybe this weekened. :)

    My aunt actually sent me one last year though I already used all the pens and pencils so the case is pretty empty. :D

  6. Chris-- I was faintly bothered by all the Cute when I first came. I've sort of got used to it, actually. It bothers me less than "Xtreme" marketing in America now, actually. There are actually plain versions of this type of pencil case--these are cute, 'cause they're my kids:-)) What I love about them is the "engineering", if you will. As though somebody actually sat down and thought about the most irritating things about pencil cases (pencil points get broken easily, not enough room, hard to find stuff), and set out to Build A Better Pencil Case, with the needs of First Graders especially in mind...

  7. Alice--hi! Cici is pretty big into Pokemon, too. That pink one in the photo is actually one she just got from a friend for her birthday (she got a Pokemon one when she started first grade last April). I agree--I don't ever remember having anything that qualified as an actual pencil case (so why did teachers always yell at kids for coming to school without pencils? How about making some nice pencil cases, and then requiring kids to get one?)

  8. It's not just the pencils and pencil-cases . . . how come Japanese erasers work, when the ones you buy in England don't? I'm using one from Japan that's sort of lipstick-shaped, pale green, and with a picture on it of a puzzled-looking cartoon cat with its paw on a pineapple. Not exactly my style, but it DOES THE JOB! The ones I buy locally either have no effect or else tear the paper. Could there be an export opportunity here for Japanese eraser-makers?