Logic post from Japan

In our continuing series of “What do you mean I have too much free time?”, I got a letter from Japan today. Behold this:

(Click to enhugen, and please note:
original delivery address was not merely “Finland”.
There are more of us than that.)

That’s a letter-sized package from Nikoli, who according to what I am told are Japan’s most famous makers of pen-and-paper logic puzzles. The contents: six books, each round 120 pages and round 100 puzzles, each of a particular kind of a puzzle the company has come up with; not sudoku nor kakuro, but similar.

(Oh, and the horse in the packaging? Apparently the company was named after a racehorse the founder liked. I don’t watch horse racing but by what I’ve seen that’s one of the more restrained names. In Finland at least most racehorses have names like something dreamed up at the end of a drunken cocaine bender with a Hungarian Phrasebook Finnish-English dictionary. Show me a racehorse named Taboo Forbidden Mother X and I will not register surprise.)

(Oh dear Glod Glodsson the Google hits this post will get.)

(Back to the business of the six books now.)

They were nicely affordable, too, which is always a bit of a shock to me: to think that ordering something from Japan is in the same class of money as buying a DVD box set. In this case, the six books were round 650 yen or round 6 e each, and with the postage that came to some 50 e total. (Crazy mad rough approximation for these things: 100 yen \approx 1 euro \approx 1 dollar.)

You may have thought you have discovered a fatal and cruel flaw in my master plan, but fear not: Nikoli is nice enough to offer how-to-solve sheets in English over on their site, and as these puzzles aren’t crosswords, that is enough. Otherwise there would indeed be a hunt for the wolf heard howling come tomorrow morning.

As for puzzles of more or less Japanese origin: when sudoku became the big thing, I did them for a few months and then grew tired of them. While doing sudokus, I had also tried kakuro, and I had thrown them aside as, I recall, “stupid impossible waah waah can’t get anywhere mommy crap”. When I was over sudoku, however, I happily did kakuro for three times the months I had done sudoku, because they are oddly satisfying once you learn how to think about them; the limiting factor was the difficulty of finding anything but sudoku and more bleedin’ sudoku on the store racks.

The thing is: there are a lot of puzzles like these I ordered on the net for free, but printing them out, even binding them to a booklet on your own, is a hassle with likely suboptimal results. Doing them on the computer, well, not my idea of good time. As I am lazy, I’m ready to pay for bypassing those difficulties. (Also, as I am peculiarly unable to not like anything Japanese, there’s a certain irrational thrill involved.)

(Also, there’s the possibility, which only now struck me, that some scamp could be spreading internet sudokus and the like which are carefully designed to have no solutions, or better still ones which can be 60% solved but then terminally run out of clues — that’s an idea I have to remember. And having read this, you will never again try an internet sudoku without feeling a smidgen of horrible uncertainty; you’re welcome.)

But now I have sit-ups for my brain for a long time to come, wondering what “Akari”, “Yajilin”, “Fillomino”, “Masyu”, “Tenntai show” and “Where is black cells” are. (“There is black cells! White Power Rangers go!”)

One Response to “Logic post from Japan”

  1. chall Says:

    looks amazing.

    (Although, I would probably gp crazy… ;) knowing the little I know about tryig Japanese things)

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