Category Archives: Images
I came across an article recently about a Japanese trend among single women to marry themselves. It reminded me that there are a lot of oddities and quirks that come out of the Land of the Rising Sun; they even have a name for odd inventions: “Chindogu”, meaning “‘un-useless’ or priceless tool”; I think that’s meant in irony, but one never knows, with Japan. For the list below, believe me when I say that I’ve left off hundreds of REALLY bizarre items! Here are a few of the less-weird ideas:
- Soap-printing pens: 3D sculpting pens for bath time that make soap foam.
- Sleeping dome head tent: Just like it sounds – a small tent to put your head in at night, so that your skin stays hydrated.
- Salty potato ice cream
- Ice-block noodle bowls
- Hyperrealistic food bookmarks
- Watermelon-shaped dumplings on a stick
- Charcoal Face Wash
- Smile Assessment Apps: Designed to assess a smile’s quality with facial recognition; used in hospitality industries such as airline flight attendants and customer service positions. A symptom of this image-obsessed age.
- Umbrellas with wheels: A “rolling cane umbrella” means you can drag it behind until needed…
- Single weddings: “Me marrying myself” weddings are becoming popular among single women in Kyoto, Japan – complete with bridal pampering, the dress, the hair & make-up and photo album of memories, but without a groom necessary.
- Eyedrop funnels
- Karaoke, and “silent karaoke” (for those moments you don’t want to be heard belting out a tune)
- Shoe umbrellas
- Square watermelon: Makes them more space-efficient to ship
- Umbrella necktie
- Hearing enhancers: Basically, aluminium bowls strapped to the side of your head – in case hearing aids are too discreet for you.
- Bubble wrap keychain – re-pop-able stress relief. This would be a good gag gift for a stocking stuffer or Advent calendar.
- Baby Mop Suit: Let the baby clean the floor while they’re crawling around. Very hygienic.
- Half-body, or “hug” pillow: A torso-shaped pillow with arm, for the lonely woman.
- Lap pillow: For the lonely man, a pillow shaped like a woman’s kneeling lap.
- Capsule hotels: Literally a box, similar to a morgue slab, for sleeping in; an economical way to crash overnight.
- Themed food for films (see hamburger below, made for the Ghost Busters film)
- Zentai – De-stressing and escaping social pressures by dressing in full-body lycra suits
- Commuter’s Aids: Either a construction helmet with a suction cup on the back to hold your head upright while sitting in the U-Tube (subway), or a stick with a padded “U” to hold your chin while you stand.
- Face Gadgets: Everything from face irons, eyebrow wrinkle stretchers, smile exercisers, lipstick application masks (because every woman has the same size and shape mouth, right?), round-eye enhancers, eyelid trainers, face slimmer mouth exercisers, face lift chin-belts… the list goes on and on, with the Japanese fixation on Western standards of “beauty” reaching maniac proportions.
- Cat costumes: The Japanese are cat-crazy, from the lucky cat waving everywhere, to cat restaurants (as well as any other kind of animal you can think of), and the weird (and animal-unfriendly, if you asked the animals) custom of dressing cats and dogs in bizarre mini outfits.
The slide show below illustrates a few of these gadgets or concepts, plus a few others. Enjoy!
I’ve been thinking about faces recently; a friend of mine will be having reconstructive surgery on her face to restore the tissue and structure that was eaten away by a rare condition, and we were talking about the psychological effects of such a procedure, and the influence it could have on one’s own sense of identity.
After that talk, I did a bit of research online about the psychology of the face, and I found a series of photo montages called “Facial Expressions Reference Project” (just search that phrase on google images to see what I mean). What I found interesting about that series is that, though they used the basic range of emotions such as sad, or amused, confident or embarrassed, nearly every person’s interpretation was different. It highlights not only the differences of opinions when it comes to labelling particular facial expressions, but also potential misunderstandings that can arise from the varying interpretations of this key form of nonverbal communication – especially when in a cross-cultural situation. For example, when I lived in the Philippines, I had to get used to the fact that shaking their head side to side meant “yes”, and wiggling their head up and down meant “no” – the wiggle was to make “no” less direct, so as not to lose face or cause the other person to lose face.
This train of thought led me to wonder what kinds of English idioms refer to the face; there are dozens of them: You can have a long-, poker-, fresh-, or a straight face, or a face that would stop a clock, or conversely, traffic, or have a face that only a mother could love; you can be (not) just another pretty face, put on a brave face or be blue/red in the face, have egg on your face, or be two-faced. You can face the facts, consequences, the music, time, or, let’s face it, you can be in someone’s face, lose or save face, show your face (or not), stuff it, fall flat on it both physically and metaphorically, and – well, the list goes on and on.
Below is a series of celebrity photos, in various characters; as a writer, I find it helpful to have visual references when describing physicality in the written word, and this fun montage gives a wide range to choose from. Enjoy, and keep writing!