PICA Things We Love Japanese Design Prints

New PICA print! Just in time for Halloween!

PICA WorksAlyonaComment

It’s already the end of September, and that means Halloween is just around the corner. And just in time for your fall-themed spooky decoration extravaganza, we are introducing—for a limited time only—our very own Japanese-style Halloween print, featuring our favourite Daruma-san as the iconic jack-o-lantern and Maneki-Neko as one of the friendly ghosts.

This print is our way of saying that Halloween can be spooky and cute—a perfect addition to your space to help you get into the spirit of the season. So don’t miss out! After all, All Hallows' Eve is just a month away.

Click here to shop our PICA Halloween Daruma Jack-o'-Lantern print. ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

Happy Tsukimi (月見)!!! 🌕

Japanese Culture, ThoughtsAlyonaComment

Celebrating the moon, its beauty and all that it inspires! Make sure to step outside and marvel at the beauty that will dazzle our sky tonight!

What is Tsukimi?
Tsukimi is the mid-autumn moon festival. It's a tradition that spans over a century. It is also quite tasty. For more on Tsukimi, check out our blog post here. :)


UPDATE 16.09.2016

満月(mangetsu, full moon) on 2016 月見 (Tsukimi). Photo taken in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

満月(mangetsu, full moon) on 2016 月見 (Tsukimi). Photo taken in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

The moon on Tsukimi 2016 was truly beautiful! The night was clear and the moon was especially bright. I managed to take this shot in Oshawa, Canada to share it with you.

Can you see the bunny?

For the Love of Gaming + New PICA Prints!

PICA Works, Thoughts, Japanese CultureAlyonaComment

How nostalgic. I remember this as it was yesterday. Growing up in the early 90s, Russia had just been introduced to the video gaming that the world has already known for some time. At the time, the new Dendy gaming system was the one and only we knew and loved. I remember the brightly coloured cartridges that the boys in my class were fighting for to exchange. I always wanted to get my hands on one, but my dad argued that it would ‘break our TV’. Not sure if he ever really believed that; perhaps he was worried that with the system I would be indefinitely glued to the screen. Can't say the system was cheap either. Coming out right after the Russian separation from the USSR resulting in one of the biggest price inflations in history, 39,000 rubles was not a small price to pay. So, alas, I had to live out my video gaming vicariously through my friends.

Dendy, the Russian Famicom clone. Photo by Nzeemin.

Dendy, the Russian Famicom clone. Photo by Nzeemin.

At the time I did not know that Dendy was actually a clone of a system that took Asia, and shortly after North America, by storm almost a decade earlier. One great thing of growing up in the post-Soviet Union Russia in the 90s is that I got to experience first hand all the awesome things that the bubble Japan had to offer to the world in the 80s, a time when I would be simply too young to appreciate. Sailor Moon was imported shortly after, leaving a lasting impression of the magical Japan. This is when my love affair with Japanese language and things began to take root. This is when as a kid I've made up my mind that one day I will learn to speak Japanese just as my favourite characters on TV did. I was 9 at that time.

So to commemorate my first nostalgic touch point with video gaming, I'd like to honour and pay respect to the very system that made the Dendy console I know growing up possible—Family Computer (ファミリーコンピュータ, Famirii Konpyuuta) or Famicom (ファミコン, Famikon).

Famicom console released in 1983, Japan. Photo by Evan-Amos.

Famicom console released in 1983, Japan. Photo by Evan-Amos.

The Famicom system came to life at the height of the video game crash of 1983, or as Japanese like to call it, Atari shock (アタリショック, Atari shokku). The crash came very close to devastating the entire North American gaming industry by bankrupting companies and sending it into a massive recession. This lasted for about two years, and in 1985 the industry began to recover mainly due to the widespread success of the newly introduced Nintendo’s NES.

So how did this all come to be?
In 1983 Nintendo unveiled a brand new gaming system that not only featured brand new technology, but also innovative product design. Designed to resemble a toy, to reinforce the family aspect of the system, the Famicom sported a bright red-and-white colour scheme, two hard wired controllers stored visibly at each side of the unit, and an eject lever “just for fun”.

The reaction to the new system was astounding. Within a year Nintendo ended up selling over two and a half million units. It was at this time that Japan proved to be a small market for Nintendo as it began toying with the idea of going abroad. They first approached Atari, the American video gaming authority since the early 70s, for a collaboration. Atari rejected it citing the recent video game crash resulting in an unstable video gaming market. This did not slow Nintendo down as the company decided to take matters into their own hands and introduce the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) to the North American market.

NES, Nintendo’s North American console. Photo by Evan-Amos.

NES, Nintendo’s North American console. Photo by Evan-Amos.

The NES system was meant to look different from its Famicom predecessor. The toy-like design was scrapped in favour of a more clean and futuristic boxy design and grey colour scheme analogous to the home entertainment systems of that time. While the controllers got a small design update, the major feature change was the replacement of the top-loading cartridge slot of the Famicom model with a front-loading chamber, placing the cartridge completely out of view.

This was 1985, and the system sales proved to be tough. The video gaming crisis was still fresh on everyone's mind and few sellers were willing to take on the system. Nintendo found a way to turn things around by offering 90 days credit and accept returns on any unsold units. As a result, by 1986 the system was a North American hit and later world market success.

Famicom games. Photo by Bryan Ochalla.

Famicom games. Photo by Bryan Ochalla.

So where is Dendy in all of this?
While video gaming industry in the 80s and later in the early 90s were taking the world by storm, Russia has been completely overlooked. No one seemed to be interested in infiltrating the Russian scarce gaming market, until one company named Steepler changed things around. Using the technology, design and the cartridge format of the 1983 Famicom system, Taiwanese manufacturer created a “new” system that became known as Dendy and introduced it with much success to the Russian market in 1992. Regardless of whether it was a clone or the real deal, it was a well beloved system growing up, a true nod to the Nintendo’s technological genius almost a decade ago.
 

Say hello to our new prints!

To commemorate Nintendo’s contribution to the worldview of Japan and its culture in the 80s, we came up with two print sets, available in five colour composition choices, that are sure to make any true gamer nostalgic.

This first set of prints features the notable Famicom controller. It was this controller that I remember most vividly as it inspired the controller of the Russian popular Dendy console system.

The second set of prints is a nod to the Nintendo’s NES system—the system that forever changed the North American gaming industry in the 80s. I am sure these prints will bring up a lot of warm memories to anyone growing up in the West in the 1980 something.

The controller prints feature our classic PICA Pop Art colour choice variations, plus a special edition of the classic Pop Art style print combo. Enjoy!

Click here to shop our PICA Famicom and NES controller print collection. ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

Introducing Sign-up for PICA Newsletter

PICA NewsAlyonaComment

With new and exciting prints coming soon, we decided to launch our very own newsletter campaign. Sign up today to get our colourful store updates, promotions, fun blog updates on Japanese culture insights, and exciting news from the world of PICA. We will only send out the letter when we have something to share, so rest assured we won’t spam! :)

You can find our quick signup form on the right ->

You can also click here to join our mailing list.

Announcing New Lower Shipping Fees!

PICA NewsAlyonaComment

We are happy to announce that we have made changes to our shipping rates that affect the whole world! We know shipping costs play a big factor when ordering your favourite print. So we hope our new lower fee flat rates will put a smile on your face at check out time.

We are based in Canada, so shipping to United States and Canada provinces is the cheapest. Here are our new lower shipping fees:

United States and Canada — $5 flat rate
International — $10 flat rate

Don’t forget, the shipping rate is flat, so you can order as many prints as you like and the shipping rate will stay the same.

The delivery times vary by destination. US and Canada orders can take up to 3 to 10 business days, while international orders take 6 to 20 business days.

For more details please visit our Shipping page located in our site’s footer.

Featured on Love Japan Magazine!

FeaturedAlyonaComment

We are excited to announce a great and exciting new online feature for PICA Things We Love at the Love Japan Magazine this week! The magazine reached out to us to do an interview, and we were thrilled to collaborate. We talked about a bit on our partnership and our creative history, how living in Japan has shaped our designs, what inspires us, and what’s coming up next in the world of PICA. It is an honour to be featured in the magazine that’s as passionate about Japanese culture as we are!

Check out the full interview along with some new photos here.

 

Support us by voting for PICA!

PICA Works, Featured, PICA NewsAlyonaComment

Robby and I are ecstatic to announce that our print has been chosen as top 12 finalists in the Art & Illustration and Paper Goods category and the top 60 finalists of the Canada 2016 Etsy Awards!!!

Please show support by voting for us here: https://etsyawards.com/ca/Finalist-...

Vote for this print!

Vote for this print!

It’s only 1 vote per person. Voting closes on June 6th, 2016. Your support is truly appreciated!

Our Etsy shop can be found here: http://picathingswelove.etsy.com/