Wandering Mage Chichiri wrote in to tell us about a unique collectible from Japan:

“The Lord of the Rings: FotR, Shitajiki

“Shitajiki are pencilboards, their original intent is to be used underneath paper you’re writing on to prevent any indentation marks or possible ink stains occuring on the furniture. They have evolved into a collectible industry in Japan. They are sometimes erroneously marketed by US concsumers as oversized cards.

“Boards for movies (foreign and domestic) are usually limited to a finite run. The items themselves are only sold in movie theatres showing the movie when it first appears in the theatres. You can find them later on ocassion, both at Ebay, and/or Yahoo Japan (an auction service).

The LotR boards were only available at the movie theatre, or in the re-sale market. Pencilboard.net has scans of the item.

“Odds are, there will be a Two Towers shitajiki released in Japanese movie theatres once the movie releases there.”

About the Japanese DVD:

“I recently picked up my copy of FOTR on DVD in Japan and I was pleasantly surprised. When I was home for the summer holidays in Australia I bought a copy only to find it was incompatible with my DVD player in Japan and I have to say that I like the Japanese DVD packaging much more than the Australian. On the box cover is the two teaser posters of Frodo with the One Ring (Frodo looking ahead and Frodo looking down) front and back respectively and inside is a spread of the three boats approaching the Argonath with the DVDs set in clear plastic over them. The DVDs are pretty cool too. The movie DVD has a montage of the good guys and the Special Features has one of the bad guys. In regards to the Passport to Middle Earth that some fellow Ringers mentioned earlier, there are apparently four of them, each a different colour for the different races. You can be either Hobbit, Elf, Man or Dwarf (I got a Hobbit one in red) and the campaigns that the passport is designed for will continue for the next two years.

“In each release of the DVD, in the packaging material will be items that you add to the passport in order to apply for more campaigns – pretty good marketing ploy if you ask me. So far the only campaigns I can decipher at the moment are one to go to the Premiere (two months after everyone else’s premiere) and for a few other prizes to be one although my Japanese is a bit shaky so I could be mistaken.

“All in all, I was very impressed with the whole setup. The only drawback is that the Gift Set will not be coming here. Still, the Passport gives Ringer fans in Japan something to look forward to for the next two years.” – Lyrian