Square Fruit Balloons

In the I-totally-don’t-need-this-but-am-strangely-compelled-to-buy-it-anyway category, these square fruit balloons are a quirky modern take on kami fusen, a cheap, Meiji-era toy. Of course, in true ultra-Japanese style, they’re made of paper!

It was super hard to decide which was my favorite, so I had to buy them all.
They come flat (for easy packing, in case you’re looking for killer souvenirs to gift back home) and there are two different sets. One has watermelon, apple and kiwi, the other has melon, grapefruit and tomato.
This is the traditional toy that inspired them. They start out flat, and you blow them up through that little hole. (Thanks to the Uguisu online store for the photos)

If you’ve become remotely infected with the burning desire to buy some square fruit balloons  for yourself, they’re sold at the Cibone store in the (otherwise utterly tedious) Ginza Six shopping complex in Tokyo for ¥800 per pack.

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Published by Jonelle Patrick

Writes all the Japan things.

4 thoughts on “Square Fruit Balloons

  1. Hi Jonelle

    I am enjoying your posts and especially your shibori . I gather you must be also be a textile artist and/or quilter/sewer/ I love Japanese cottons for quilting! I am wondering if you can give me info on where and how I could find (haven’t been able to find on internet) quilting fabrics by the designer Itaya Naomi. I am including pictures of some of her fabrics as an example. Was available in the U.S. a while back and then \I was told that stores in |North America were no longer able to get it. I am wondering if you have ever come across this designers quilting fabric and if, where I can find it and general pricing. Any resources would be appreciated. Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing back by email at ev.fonn@hotmail.com

    Claudette (B.C. Canada


    1. Hi Claudette! So great to cross paths with another lover of textiles & quilts! I haven’t had time to do much sewing since I started being nose to the grindstone on book deadlines, but a quick search turned up quite a few Itaya Naomi fabrics on Etsy. If you go to etsy.com and search, you might find what you’re looking for. As fabric stores become even more scarce than bookstores, I’ve been finding more and more of what I need online. It’s a bit tricky to know if the weight and hand of the fabric are right for what you want to use it for, but once you get a feel for what various terms mean to various sellers, there’s a wide world of good stuff to choose from now. Good luck finding what you’re looking for, and I’d love to see what you make!

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