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November 2023: progress at last!

This "blog" has been grossly neglected, so the "November" just replaced was from 2022. Anyway, there is some progress: we have finally reached 1300 titles in stock, if only momentarily!

Good news and mixed news

The good news is that things are finally beginning to return to normal. Officially in Japan, the Covid pandemic has ended. We have survived record summer temperatures, and seem to have lurched suddenly into the beginning of winter.

The mixed news: well, first, some services have returned at last, in particular the airmail "small packet" service to USA, Canada, and the UK. (But with warnings for Canada in particular of extra delay because of reduced capacity. And for the US, record drought may delay services through the Panama Canal.)

Then at the beginning of October, with no prior warning to us, the Post Office announced another set of rate increases. At least these are fairly minor, and the continuing fall of the yen at least offers better exchange rates.

Other issues

The Special orders page includes a guide to each of the manufacturers' websites, and we try to keep these regularly updated. From time to time, of course, the website change format, and we have to rewrite the software that gets the relevant information. This time it is the Ensky (Artbox) site that has radically changed. The display in a browser looks more or less the same, but they have changed the way data gets sent, creating a minor headache for us. I will be working on it.

Then Tenyo: there has been a regular flow of new puzzles recently, which inevitably means older titles getting discontinued. But unlike other manufacturers they do not give us any definitive information on puzzle status – will there be more stock, and when? So many linger with the "Resupply date uncertain" label... this is unhelpful, I know, but I'm afraid there is nothing we can do about it. There is also a curious current problem, with codes in the TD10-800 range. It turns out that (again, unlike other manufacturers!) Tenyo codes get recycled. So we already have database entries for many of these new puzzles, but relating to identical product codes from many years ago. The practical effect is that we may fail to recognise new puzzles, since we already have the same code. Well, we have a workaround, but it sometimes causes delays.

Brian Chandler

"A kind of blog..." My sporadic comments, mostly topical, on shop matters. (Brian Chandler)