Otona no Kagaku e-mail magazine 165

Finally got the e-mail newsletter from Gakken. It starts by stating that it’s been over one year since the release of the last kit, and that the editors want to say thank you for everyone that has been waiting during that time. The main announcement is for the Kaeda Drone, which has a wing shape similar to that of a maple tree seed pod, with a total length of 25 cm (10 inches) and a weight of 12 grams (0.5 ounces). It will hit the shelves in central Japan on Dec. 20th, just in time for Christmas (it won’t get to Kyushu until 3 days later).

1) Otona no Kagaku Magazine “Kaeda Drone”, on sale after a 1 year wait!
The main section text apologizes for the wait, then talks about what a “drone” is. The following specs then cover the drone itself, while pretty much ignoring the RC controller.

The drone is 250x180x25mm.
Flight time will be 7 minutes, when the drone starts out fully charged.
Charge time is 30 minutes, two times.
The drone is designed for indoor use.
Indoor, the drone can operate up to 5 meters (15-16 feet) from the controller.
Battery: On the main unit, a Lithium polymer cap. On the controller, 4 AAA batteries.

Looks like this is going to be a hardback book, A4 sized, 34 pages.
Price: 3,980 yen (without tax, 4,298 yen with 8% tax) (approx. $39 USD w/o tax)
Release date: Dec. 20, 2016

Amazon page


2) Announcing the Otona no Kagaku wool knitting machine!
Following the release of the Rainbow Loom, we have the “Long Knitting Loom”.
For ages 6 and up.
Kit size: 25.3 x 21 x 5.3 cm
Price: 2,100 yen without tax
Kit includes: Knitting machine, extension block, wool needle, bar, hook, wool and A1-sized instruction book.
In stores now.


3) Adult Coloring picture, scratch art pad series
A black drawing pad that you can scratch away to make your own artwork.
This kit has the pattern for the “Glittering Princess Decoration”.

Size: 25.4 x 18.2 x 1 cm
22 page book plus scratch pencil and stencil
In stores now.


4) The Shiratori game that can be played by adults – Pitango
Shiratori is a word chain game. One person starts with a Japanese word, and the next person has to say the next word that starts with the last character of the first word. You lose if you can’t come up with anything, if you repeat a word, or if the word ends in “n” (since there aren’t any words in Japanese that start with the character “n”.
i-… I can’t think of anything.

Pitango is based on the game Algo. I’ve never played Algo, but apparently the idea is that you have a sequence of 4 characters, and you’re supposed to expand the series following certain rules.

For elementary students up to adults.
Size: 16.5 x 16.5cm
Price: 1,600 yen (without tax)
Contains: 100 title cards, 10 starter subject cards, 10 yellow cards, and instructions
In stores now (published Dec. 2, 2016)


Otona no Kagaku newsletter #164

Finally received the latest newsletter in email. The editors start out by stating that it has been a long time since the last kit came out, and that they’d gotten a LOT of inquiries from fans asking what’s going on. They add that they’re pretty confident that this kit is going to hold up under the scrutiny after such an extended wait. It’s going to be the “Tornado kit”, also known as the “Tatsumaki Hassei Souchi” = Hurricane Springing Forth Device”, with a release date of Nov. 12. The editors would be very happy if you put in a pre-order.

1) Tornado Kit Out After 1 Year Wait
There’s a fairly extensive description of both the kit and the magazine. On the kit side, it’s basically a mister-style room humidifier. Blowers at the bottom of the main chamber push in a fine mist and create a visible vortex within the chamber. A tri-color LED provides a changing light show, and the unit has an USB jack for power if you want to plug it into a PC for table-top operations. It also has an auto-off timer if you want to use that. The magazine is A4-sized, 84 pages, and has photos of various air flow patterns, the science of hurricanes, pictures of auroras, and an article on tornado hunters. The online instructions show 40+ parts (including screws and springs) and a suggested 60 minute assembly time. 3,500 yen, not including tax. Hitting stores Nov. 12 (it will get to where I am in Kyushu 3 days later.

2) Knitting is Popular in America
The editors talk about how knitting is popular world-wide, and then segue into the release of a new book – “Knitting Loom”, with the “Knitting Loom Starter Kit”. 2,100 yen. Nov. 17th release date. No photos or on-line pre-ordering links.

3) Rainbow Loom Starter DVD Book
Gakken has decided to release a DVD and book combo for showing beginners how to make various items with the Rainbow Loom. B5-sized book, 84 pages, plus the DVD. 1,300 yen not including tax. Released on Oct. 13.

Otona no Kagaku newsletter #163

Just got the latest newsletter in email. Unfortunately it’s very skimpy on the kind of news that I’m hoping for; specifically announcements of any plans to release the next Adult Science kit.

1) Rainbow Loom
The first item is for the Rainbow Loom kit for girls. There’s a new starter kit book coming out April 21st, and a few events on the 12th and 25th.

2) Denshi Block EX app
Gakken is releasing an app for the iPad for emulating their electronics building block EX-150 kit. Due out on Mar. 30, for 700 yen ($6 USD). Looks to be Japanese only.

Otona no Kagaku Newsletter #162

The latest newsletter showed up in email right after I posted that there wasn’t much new to write about. There still isn’t, but at least I have a newsletter telling me that, now.

The editors start out reminding the readers about the Rainbow Loom kit that came out in August, and then announce 3 events coming up in the next few days.

1) New Rainbow Loom Kit Releases
Due to the popularity of the first kit, a new Master Kit will be coming out on Dec. 5th, for 2,592 yen. Aimed at ages 6 and up, it will have a 52-page, A4-size, guide booklet, plus 10 colors of elastic bands and accessory parts.

The Cute Accessories kit comes out on Nov. 25, with an 84-page booklet and some more elastic bands, at 830 yen.
The Adult Cute Set hits the shelves on Dec. 16. 100-page, B5 booklet, more elastic bands and supporting parts, for 1000 yen.

2) Tokyo Maker Faire
There’s a new Maker Faire being held at Tokyo Big Site on Nov. 23rd and 24th (Sunday and Monday). Gakken will have demos and classes with several of their latest kits, including the Mini Theremin, the Electric Steel Drum and the Pocket Miku. Tickets are 1000 yen for adults, 500 yen for those 18 and under in advance. 1500 and 700 at the door. Hours are 12 PM – 7 PM on Sunday. 10-6 on Monday.

3) Otona No Kagaku email magazine members-only invitation
Kansai University has a program called MOOC, offering special chemistry classes through their online Gacco site. There will be 4 one-day courses on Nov. 29th (2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon) on biotechnology. The courses will include online lectures and hands-on experiments. Gakken is offering a random drawing and 5 people will be selected to attend the classes. Open to email magazine subscribers only.
Course 1) Japan’s food culture: Experiencing fermentation (10 AM-1 PM)
Course 2) Boasting of Japan’s accomplishments: Make your own capacitor (10 AM-1 PM)
Course 3) Cutting edge medical science: Make a polymer for personal appearance (2-4 PM)
Course 4) Metals used in hybrid cars and airplanes: The strengths of inorganics (2-4 PM)

(I’m really not sure what course 3 is about. I think it’s on plastic surgery, using polymers to enhance skin tone.)

140925 Updates

A bit of new activity going on at Gakken this week.

First, a couple updates on the Otaku no Kagaku facebook page. One is an announcement of the Theo Jansen film shown in Kyoto on Sept. 21st, accompanying a “beests” workshop the same day. The other includes a couple photos of the film and workshop venue on the day of the event.

Next, the Otona no Kagaku website now has the details for the latest kit, the electronic steel drum. The official release date is Sept. 29, meaning that I won’t see it in Kyushu until Oct. 1. 3,300 yen ($33 USD), plus tax. Looks like it’s a small stand to hold a drum plate, with a guitar-style pickup in the base. The pickup plugs into a signal processor for clean-up and amplification. Output is either to a guitar amp, or wireless to an FM radio. (The box has a jumper for selecting 1 of 4 FM frequencies: 88.2, 88.4, 88.6 or 88.8 MHz.) It’s powered with a single CR2032 button battery. I’m not really happy with that, because it means changing more expensive batteries more often. I think one mod is going to have to be attaching a regular AA battery case to the main unit. The kit instructions give a 30-minute assembly time.

The mook will have an overview of steel pans, an interview with Yann Tomita, a look at how the kit works, suggestions for other surfaces to use as drum pads, and an article on electronic drum kits. There’s also the next manga from Yoshitou Asari in the Manga Science series.

One thing that I don’t like is that Gakken pulled the link on the “Next Up” kit. Hopefully this just means that they’re trying to keep some suspense until after the steel drum comes out, rather than showing that they don’t have a “next kit”…


Also, Newsletter #161 just arrived in my email. It starts out by asking if readers have had fun playing with the last kit, the Auto Writer, and then mentioning that the free app on the website allows you to make your own writing cogs for drawing pictures or writing letters. Anyone that hasn’t used the app is encouraged to.

1) The Cute Electric Steel Drum goes on sale Sept. 29
2) Big hit mini-Theremin kit gets reissued
3) “Twin V-Engine” workshop report
4) 100,000 Rainbow Loom Starter Kits sold!

1) The Cute Electric Steel Drum goes on sale Sept. 29
The editors ask if readers are familiar with steel drums, which became popular in the second half of the 20th century. There’s a bit of history about how they first came to use in 1939 in Trinidad, and then this turns into a commentary on how Gakken decided to make the kit. The main focus of the column is on how the pick-up works.
Mook: A4 size, 100 pages
Release: Sept. 29
3,300 yen plus tax

(no photo yet)
2) Big hit mini-Theremin kit gets reissued
200,000 of the mini-theremin kits have sold so far. To commemorate this event, Gakken is releasing an updated, fully assembled version for people that don’t like building things. New features will include an earphone jack, a 3 octave range, and a mint chocolate-colored outer case.
Pamphlet: 16×12.8 cm, 24 pages
Release: Sept. 30
2,500 yen plus tax


3) “Twin V-Engine” workshop report
On Aug. 24th, Gakken partnered with Mercedes Benz to present a workshop for school kids. The first hour was spent assembling the Gakken Twin-V steam engine kit. The second hour consisted of presentations on how Indy 500 race cars work.
Location: Mercedes Benz Connection, Tokyo
Attendees: 24 pairs of children and adults, 48 people total


4) 100,000 Rainbow Loom Starter Kits sold!
This section is a repeat announcement for the Rainbow Loom kit, for making bracelets, and the fact that 100,000 units have sold so far.
Mook: A5 size, 28 pages
Ages: 6 on up
1,200 yen plus tax

Newsletter 160

Gakken is announcing new kits, and that means the release of the next newsletter. It starts out by commenting on how magical machines look when replicating human writing, then goes into the Table of Contents.

1) Release of the self-propelled nonsense machine: “The Auto Writer”
2) Aug. 9, an Auto Writer Workshop
3) Release of the Rainbow Loom Starter kit
4) Yoshito Asari’s “DIY Rocket” book wins the Seiun Award
5) Now accepting applications for the High School Furoku kit idea contest, #2


1) Auto Writer
This section describes the contents of the Auto Writer mook, and how the president of Meiwa Denki helped develop the kit. The Auto Writer went on sale today (July 22), for 3,500 yen ($35 USD) not including tax. It is accompanied by a 100-page A4 mook.


2) Auto Writer Workshop
Fabcross is going to co-sponsor a workshop on Aug. 9, at Loft&Fab in Shibuya, Tokyo, for anyone wanting to learn more about how to use the kit. Participants will create their own cut-outs for decorating their kits.


3) Rainbow Loom Starter Kit
The Rainbow Loom is primarily aimed at girls, and uses brightly-colored stretch bands for making bracelets, anklets and rings. The kit comes out on Aug. 5, and includes a 28-page guidebook, loom and a set of 10 colors of bands. 1,200 yen.


4) Asari Wins
Gakken manga artist, Yoshito Asari, creator of “Manga Science”, wrote the book “Building a DIY Liquid Fuel Rocket“, documenting the amateur rocketry group that actually made the rocket and successfully launched it. “Building a DIY Rocket” won the 45th Seiun award for non-fiction works. Seiun, which translates to “Nebula”, is the Japanese competition that recognizes leading SF and non-fiction science works, and is presented at the annual Japan Science Fiction Convention. “Building a DIY Rocket” came out Aug. 28, 2013, for 1,300 yen. 224 pages.


5) HS Contest
Gakken is now taking applications for the second annual High School Furoku Idea Contest. “Furoku” translates to “supplement”, and refers to the kits that are packaged with the Otona no Kagaku mooks. The idea is to encourage students to create science and technology projects using existing OnK kits, or that could be turned into new kits.

Newsletter 159

Of course, just when I post a few messages about how there’s no activity at Gakken, I get the next newsletter in email.

It starts out thanking everyone for being patient, and then announcing that kit 41, the Auto Writer, is coming out on July 22nd.

01) The Auto Writer
The editors state that the Auto Writer was co-developed by Meiwa Denki (producers of off-the-wall almost-practical devices) (Meiwa president shown above), and that it’s really cool. It has one motor and a gear system that can drive the writing hand in 3 directions. You start out by writing with the program cam, and that then controls the movement of the hand holding the pen.
100 page book, A4 size. 3,500 yen (not including tax).

2) Official Pocket Miku Book
This 116 B5-sized page book is intended to assist newbies into the world of MIDI music using the Pocket Miku and the online voice reprogramming application. It walks readers through the steps of using the online app, discusses how to control it with PC sequencer software, and teaches non-musicians how to read a score and play simple songs on the Miku.
Released on June 12th. 1,500 yen, not including tax. Book includes a Miku seal.

3) Murumura Suru Uchuu (The Attractive Universe)
This is a 224 A5-sized page science book written by Naoki Yoshida, professor of astrophysics at the University of Tokyo. The book is divided into 3 parts. First is an explanation of puzzles regarding the universe that scientists have been able to unravel. Second is kind of a Q&A. Third is a discussion of what the attractive/repulsive forces are in the universe, including dark energy and dark matter.
Scheduled for a June 26 release. 1,300 yen, not including tax. (No cover art yet.)


4) Rainbow Loom
If you’re old enough, you may remember seeing something like this as a kid. It was a girl’s toy featuring a plastic square grid that you’d use as a frame when threading on cloth-covered elastic bands. You could use it to make pot holders, coasters, and other small items. The Rainbow Loom is an updated version, and is coming out in Japan probably as part of the Petit Handmade series.
The kit comes with the loom, elastic bands, and a 28 page A5 booklet. Scheduled for a July 29th release. 1,200 yen, not including tax.

Gakken Newsletter #158

I wasn’t expecting it this time, but the Gakken newsletter showed up in my email a few hours after I posted the announcement of the Electromagnet speaker kit. And you can guess what the lead news is this time.

It starts out by explaining why “Plus” was added to the speaker kit’s name. Basically, the editors at Gakken want to include school students to “Adult Science” kits’ audiences. The subtitle for the kit is “let’s enjoy experiments”.

Also, the editors have extended the deadline for the USB camera “15 second video contest”.

01 – Special edition “Otona no Kagaku Magazine Plus” on sale today, Nov. 28, 2013
02 – Now Taking Entries for the USB Camera 15-second Video
03 – Have Fun In Your Own Home Kit, On Sale Soon
04 – Adult Science for Women – “The Science of Getting Beautiful Skin”


01 – Special edition “Otona no Kagaku Magazine Plus” on sale today, Nov. 28, 2013
This kit is specifically designed for adults and kids to have fun doing experiments. The base kit has wireless LEDs that change color and flash while the music plays on the speaker. It uses cutting edge technology to provide transmitted power to the LED units. You can use it in both speaker mode and experiment mode, since the LEDs can be removed from the base to play with.

On sale Nov. 28
64 page magazine
2,800 Yen

02 – Now Taking Entries for the USB Camera 15-second Video
Due to overwhelming request, the Gakken USB camera 15-second video contest deadline has been extended to Dec. 23rd.

03 – Have Fun In Your Own Home Kit, On Sale Soon
The next Petit Handmade Kit will be coming out soon, aimed at anyone that wants to make stuff at home but doesn’t already have the tools for it. This one seems to be based on the porcelain dishes designed and created by Naomi Ashida.

34 pages, A5 paper size
On Sale Dec. 17
1,900 Yen

04 – Adult Science for Women – “The Science of Getting Beautiful Skin”
Yeah, you could argue that this one is sexist, but this will probably be a best seller here in Japan.

On sale Jan. 9, 2014
108 pages
850 pages.
No URL for it yet.

Otona no Kagaku Mail Magazine #157

The mail magazine opens very perfunctorily this time, with a curt greeting and no mentions of the changing weather or approaching Fall activities. It just goes straight into the announcement of the “USB FX Camera” coming out on the 28th. The description states that you can use the camera anywhere to make small objects look big, via the pan-focus lens. Suggestions include hand-moving action figures, or shooting diorama scenes.

1 – The Latest Otona no Kagaku Kit, the USB FX Camera
2 – “Manga Science Selection” Now Out
3 – Won’t You Try the Petite Handmade kits?
4 – Can “World’s Most Fun Speed Reading” Turn Anyone into a Speed Reader?

1 – The Latest Otona no Kagaku Kit, the USB FX Camera
You, too, can enter the world of miniature special effects movie making. The camera offers a deep depth of field, realistic effects, and pinpoint focus on ultra-close objects. Although the kit may not seem appropriate for the Kagaku line, special effects are significantly backed-up by scientific methods. The mook includes an interview with leading effects master Shinji Higuchi (Gamera, Evangelion), plus articles on the process of making movie effects with household items and dioramas.

2 – Manga Science Selection Now Out
This is a collection of some of the Manga Science stories aimed at the lower end market, for release through convenience stores as well as bookstores. 312 pages, B6-size paper, 500 yen. Chapters include “Protecting Against Heat Stroke”, “Which is Superior, the Human Brain or a Computer?”, “Digital Cameras vs the Eye”, “Fat is the Fuel Tank for Living Things”, “Is Blood a Liquid or a Particle”, “I Don’t Understand Infectious Diseases”, etc.
Due out Sept. 27.

Other books by Yoshitoo Asari include:
Manga Science #14
The Making of a Japanese Amateur Rocket

Manga Science Tweet Feed
Manga Science Facebook Page

3 – Won’t You Try the Petite Handmade kits?
Basically, this is just a repeat of the announcement from the last mail mag for Fluffy Felt Woodland Animal Brooches.
Index of All Handmade Kits.

4 – Can “World’s Most Fun Speed Reading” Turn Anyone into a Speed Reader?
This one is a little strange. It’s an announcement for a 51-minute DVD and 132-page book. 1,260 yen, scheduled for an Oct. 1st, 2013, release. But there’s no shopping link. No URL for ordering it, or for getting more information on the product. It is listed on Amazon.co.jp, anyway.


The new kit page is up on the Otona no Kagaku site. The kit is pretty simple. The instructions give a 15-minute assembly time for the camera housing and handle. Most of the instructions involve downloading and installing the software app to your computer. It’s 43 meg, compressed, so does take a while to transfer (190 meg uncompressed). You’ll probably need to grab LHAplus also, to extract the files.

Next up, kit #41, the Autowriter doll. Expected some time in January, 2014.

Otona no Kagaku Newsletter #156

Just got the latest email newsletter. It starts out asking if the reader is enjoying their new pinhole planetarium, then adds that an order of the starfield sheets, and the custom grain of wheat lightbulbs have arrived at the company. Anyone that wants to order spare parts is encouraged to do so.

The editor then states that they’re busy producing the new miniature special effects USB camera kit, scheduled to come out on Sept. 28. With this camera connected to your PC, you can have fun taking photos where small objects look big. The magazine will include instructions for guiding beginners through the process of making their own effects, plus a lecture by SFX wizard Shinji Higuchi. Additional details about the kit will appear in the next newsletter.

The editor adds that the rest of the editorial staff is working on other projects outside of the Otona no Kagaku kit line, and that this newsletter will discuss these latest things.

Table of Contents

  1. Making Fluffy Forest Animal Brooches from Felt Kit
  2. Making a Space Rocket Book
  3. Understanding Particle Physics Through Manga Book
  4. Manga Science, Volume 14

1) Making Fluffy Forest Animal Brooches from Felt Kit

Nosoko, the artist that has been working with felt to produce various animals, has a few new designs for the latest installment in this kit series. Petit Handmade #5: Fluffy Forest Animal Brooches is now on sale. 1,680 yen ($16 USD). Materials, tools and accessories included for making 4 kinds of rabbit or deer head brooches. 35 page instruction book on A5 paper (5.5″ x 8″). Check the Petit Handmade Index for a complete list of all kits.

2) Making a Space Rocket Book

This is an account written by manga artist Yoshitoo Asari about the efforts of a local Japanese rocketry group to build and launch their own DIY rocket. The group was featured in the mook for the Pinhole Planetarium kit. 224 pages, now on sale. 1,365 yen. It’s got failures, it’s got laughs, it’s got explosions. Get it today!

3) The Manga Guide to Elementary Particle Physics

A5 sized, 208 pages, 1,155 yen, on sale Sept. 10th. Produced by Uruno Takuya. It’s priced right, so I may consider getting this book myself.

4) Manga Science, Volume 14

This book was mentioned in the Pinhole Planetarium mook. Yoshitoo Asari had been drawing the Manga Science chapters that had appeared in the Grade 5 Gakken science books, and most of them were collected into 13 volumes. Finally, the next batch of manga chapters is coming out in volume 14. A5 sized, 208 pages, 820 yen, on sale Aug. 28. Chapters include:

  • “What is Radiation?”
  • “The Fire of Atoms: Nuclear Fusion”
  • “What Can Space Do?”
  • “Visible and Non-Visible Stars, and The Sun”
  • “The Invisible Relationship Between the Earth and the Moon”
  • “What Shape Should a Rocket Have?”
  • “Is Air Resistance a Friend or Foe to Airplanes?”
  • “How Can Knives Cut?”
  • “The Sweet Taste of Mushrooms”
  • “What’s the Difference Between Sea and River Fish?”
  • “What Shape is the Galaxy?”

Some of these chapters have also appeared in previous Otona no Kagaku mooks. Specifically, “Air Resistance”, “What Shape is the Galaxy” and “Knives”.


There’s been a little activity on Facebook lately, too.

Back on Aug. 22nd, Gakken held a contest for high school kids to come up with science kit ideas. A couple photos of the Otona no Kagaku exhibit created for the event were shared on the FB page.

On Aug. 23, the Otona no Kagaku page announced that a lot of new info was posted on the Gakken FB page. Most of this new information is unrelated to the Otona no Kagaku product line.

Sept. 2nd, there was an announcement for Manga Science volume 14 going on sale.

At the same time, there was an announcement for “Understanding Elementary Particles” going on sale.