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!