Chit-chat from Imaginatorium Shop

Blog posts in 2022

April — Subdued celebrations: 20 years!

It seems incredible, but this is our twentieth anniversary: Imaginatorium Shop first opened its virtual doors in April 2002. Many thanks to our customers over the years who have made this possible.

Sadly, this is a low point, not a high one. The appalling invasion of Ukraine by Putin drags on, at horrendous cost in human life and happiness, making it sometimes difficult to concentrate on the everyday business of puzzles.

And Covid has not gone away. Postal services are still varyingly disrupted by Covid-related restrictions and to Europe in particular by effects of the war in Ukraine. There is no consistent pattern: for example, Australia has suspended airmail, leaving surface operating, and New Zealand exactly the opposite.

The yen has fallen against major currencies by something like 20%, which of course makes the cost of our puzzles less in dollar or euro terms, but now we are faced with price increases in shipping costs (Post Office from June), and also miscellaneous costs such as packaging materials. We will keep any increases strictly to the extra amounts for shipping.

Finally a bright spot! The new site at is fully operational, and I am at last working on redirecting all old shop pages to the corresponding new ones. With the move, we will also switch to using the new mail address Please make sure you are able to receive emails from this address; recently we have had many problems with our mails apparently caught in errant mail filtering systems.

November — Some progress

Well, there is some positive news... There have been a number of minor improvements over the last few months, and now we are at last able to ship to Canada again! (All shipping to Canada was suspended for about a year, so we have a backlog of customer requests to sort out.) There are still many restrictions in place, and it varies wildly from country to country, but we hope that from now on things will gradually get better and better.

Meanwhile there are a few problems. We are experiencing some fairly wild currency fluctuations: the good news is that the yen is falling against most currencies, but the bad news is that this is going to lead to price rises. In particular, Tenyo...

Tenyo price increases - end November

Tenyo increased the prices for almost all puzzles by around 5-10% on the first of September. Using our existing stock, we have been able to hold our existing prices until now, but by the end of this month we will need to update to the new prices. "You have been warned!"

Countries with restricted shipping

Although things are generally getting better, many countries still have very limited shipping options: in particular, Canada, the UK, and the US. Typically these have only express (EMS: fast and expensive) or surface parcel. So for urgent orders there is no big problem, but if you are looking for economy, surface shipping is very slow (around 2 months to UK or Canada; around 3 months to US), and moreover it is only economical for larger puzzles. Many of our regular customers have settled on making large order just occasionally, such as a minimum of four or five 1000-piece puzzles.

Some other countries (particularly in Europe) are only accepting surface mail, so there are no fast services at all. I'm afraid there is nothing we can do about this, other than ask for your patience. In some cases there is also the possibility of express shipping by Yamato (corresponding to UPS in many cases); this is typically fast and expensive, but erratically priced (by shape!), making larger orders sometimes cost competitive with EMS. You will need to ask about the cost for this: we cannot calculate it automatically, because it depends on the dimensions, not the weight.

Brian Chandler

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