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My Pleasant Life

My wife bought me a little present the other day.


It is a relic from the Bubble Economy era (roughly 1986~1991), a compact stationery set called TEAM DEMI – slogan: “To make your life more pleasant. Take it with you.” – by Plus Corporation, one of Japan’s giant office supply companies. Mine is violet-blue, but they came in a range of colours including grey, white, yellow and green.

The ruler doubles as a compass for drawing circles in 1cm increments. Under the ruler is a storage compartment.

They were on sale the first time I visited Japan in 1986. I don’t know if TEAM DEMI were the first but they were the iconic version of many compact accessory sets that were available, mostly stationery sets but miniaturized tool sets were also common. Looking back, they are obviously the product of the country that invented bento boxes, an entire meal arranged to exactly fit in a small container.

Photo: Wikipedia

I often bought them as presents for other people but somehow neglected to ever get a TEAM DEMI for myself. My wife found my one for auction on the internet and picked it up for ¥1200. The sleeve is a bit battered but the case and contents are unused. Even the sticky tape is original, but its adhesive has gone off and it smells of… moth balls. Our biggest surprise was the original recommended price printed on the back: ¥2800! 30 years later that sounds expensive, a sign of the mad prices people paid in those days and of how much the cost of manufactured goods has come down.

The back-side shows you what to expect inside and the RRP: ¥2800!

The nearest thing I ever had to a real Team Demi is a model of another Bubble era relic, the Nissan Be-1 Pike Car. It was given to me at least 25 years ago and I have cherished it ever since.

A seemingly innocent scale model of a Be-1.

Clearly inspired by the Team Demi it also doubles as a stationery set, with the added bonus of another attractive Japanese design trait – doing one thing whilst being disguised as something else.

The front number-plate…

…doubles as a handy clip.

The rear bumper..

…is a pair of scissors.

Under the bonnet…

…an engine-shaped eraser and shavings brush.

Inside the cabin is a tiny notebook, a stapler…

…a handy box for odds and ends and the spare tyre…

…shaped tape measure.

The floor-pan brace is the same type of ruler cum compass as the TEAM DEMI.

But the pièces de resistance are the headlamps.

Pop-out headlamps…

…are a pen and pencil set.


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