Inflatable dakis.... but why?
Because I like them? Not just. Here's what happened...
I am into inflatable equines, but good ones take a long time to make and are costly to develop. Then, there is a lot of pony art that inspires me, but I know it can never be faithfully be made in a three-dimensional inflatable shape without losing much of its appeal.
This is where the Japanese come into play. Until maybe 6 months ago, dakimakuras were a thing I knew existed, but I did not see how it could relate to the concept of inflatable ponies (and other inflatable animals or creatures for that matter). Rather by coincidence, I came across what appeared to be a cottage industry of Japanese making their own designs for inflatable hugging pillows. (Check out this and this Twitter account for more)
Above: Inflatable hugging pillows and a "traditional" dakimakura cover with inflatable insert at the bottom.
The Japanese are practical people with a sense for the essential. So, rather than messing about with complex inflatable shapes - that look like failed attempts more often than not, they simply focus on the art. Get that right and get it printed on essentially an inflatable canvas. If a pillow does the job, then so does an inflatable pillow.
In fact, the inflatable pillow has a number of advantages that lead the Japanese to develop things in two directions: an inflatable pillow that can be inserted into the textile daki cover and one that consists entirely of soft vinyl.
More uses than just the obvious one...
Japanese inflatable hugging pillows are actually made in Japan. I didn't realise anyone outside China was still making PVC inflatables but it was a refreshing change and I ended up with some very samples and little idea of what to do with them... other than the obvious.
Several weeks on, my Japanese inflatable pillows have become very much a part of the landscape in my home and elsewhere...
To begin with: the standard inflatable daki, which has a flat size of 150 x 75 cm, makes an excellent bean bag and/or backrest. Depending on the level of modesty required, it is also decorative. The printing that has been delivered by Japanese producers is impeccable and does justice to the artwork, like this Tempest Shadow by Fensu.
Inflatable dakis show their true mettle when you have to do a lot of travelling. The inflatable insert and cloth cover combination folds to a size less than an A4 sheet and - for the 150 x 50 cm size, adds a mere 650 grams to the weight of your luggage.
The slightly larger vinyl inflatable pillow folds to a slightly larger size (in the clear coated version). It weights 950 grams (clear-coated) and about 750 grams respectively for the UV-cured digital print version. The latter requires a somewhat larger bed though than the twin bed I got saddled with on this trip. While this may look very pony-centric, pony dakis are in fact not new and some great covers with wonderful art can be had here.
Above: inflatable pillow with daki cover (artwork by 10Art1) on the left and vinyl inflatable pillow on the right with art by Fensu.
The final remark on both is: they have considerably improved my hotel bed experience. And broadened my mind. Try it yourself.
Questions? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org