A simple but very charming idea. The Flutter Chime or Gravity Chime consists of a length of nylon thread with a weight at one end, and threaded on the nylon are a number of small, hollow metal rods. The rods are threaded at one end, and they move down the nylon in a jerky fashion which is sometimes called the 'slip and stick' mechanism. We have seen other toys that work on this mechanism, for example a small woodpecker that taps its way down a wooden rod. The bird is on a small spring, attached to a wooden collar. The bird bounces up and down, alternately slipping a little bit and then stopping for a moment.
In the same way the rods here slightly bounce up and down, slipping slightly when they bounce up, and then sticking a little when they bounce down.
Because there are so many, there are various collisions as they make their way down the thread, and the result is a pleasant chiming effect.
We found this in the Seibu store in Tokyo in 1986. We spoke no Japanese and the sales assistant spoke no English, so we were not able to communicate at all, and had to work out for ourselves what is was and how it worked. It cost 3,000 Yen at the time. The owner of a novelty store in LA said he had seen it somewhere, but other than that reference to it, we have never seen it in any shop other than that one occasion in Tokyo.