You know, in case you’re carrying a banana in your bag and you don’t want it to get smashed. Found at Daiso, the new $1.50 Japanese superstore in SF Japantown, by Tomo.
I was on a work call with an editor in the UK today and he said one of two words he knew in Japanese was ゴキブリホイホイ (gokirubi hoi hoi). In case you don’t know what this very important word means, it’s actually the name of a popular cockroach-catching contraption that is shaped like a little house. The house has mysterious substances in it that lures cockroaches in through its doors; but once they enter, they get stuck on the sticky floor and can never get out and eventually die. We used to have one in our old house but I don’t remember seeing any immobilized cockroaches living in it.
You may not need a real gokiburi hoi hoi if you don’t have a roach problem, but you can get this lovely little keychain that looks like one — it even comes with a resident cockroach! — for just 600 yen here.
This team of Japanese researchers proudly accepted the Ig Nobel Prize for Improbable Research yesterday, for its invention of a wasabi-scented smoke alarm that could alert deaf people who can’t hear audible warnings of fire emergencies. The Wasabi Smoke Alarm emits a dense wasabi oil mist when triggered.
Japan is a true powerhouse when it comes to winning Ig Nobel Prizes, as Japanese recipients have now won awards for the fifth straight year. Previous Ig Nobel Prize winners from Japan have been recognized for using slime molds to design rail networks (2010), proving panda poop can dissolve kitchen refuse (2009), teaching amoebas how to navigate mazes (2008), and for developing a method of extracting vanillin (vanilla fragrance and flavoring) from cow dung (2007).
And, of course, let’s not forget Dr. NakaMats!
Japan’s wackiest inventor saves the world with super Viagra
I met Dr. NakaMats in Shibuya
New documentary about wacky inventor Dr. NakaMats
Crazy inventor running for mayor
Dr. NakaMats’ male model debut
How cute is this spatula that looks like a smiling fish?
via Spoon and Tamago
Look at these super cute memo pads (like Post-Its) that look like sushi. This one is salmon; there’s also egg, tuna, and hamachi. The only problem is that once you use up the fish-colored part, you just have boring blank white note paper.
Link (Thanks, Joel!)
When my friend Ryo Shimizu–a successful tech entrepreneur from Japan–came to San Francisco last month, he brought me this lovely packet of oil blotting paper from the most popular oil blotting paper brand in Japan as omiyage. Yes, that’s right, there is a company that specializes in making the perfect oil blotting paper. Do they sell oil blotting paper in the US? I certainly have never seen any at Walgreens.
We have a lot of space-wasting single-use products in Japan, but none is more random in my opinion than this doughnut carrying case. As you can see, it has multiple features to help keep your doughnut safe from hazardous environments and theft — a ventilation system, a lock, and a place to put your name. You can even stick a lollipop in the middle!
Figurine maker Sillof has re-imagined the cast of Star Wars as samurai-era people. Funny.
Link (Thanks, Walter!)
Check out this silly doggy wind up toy that raises its leg and pees while it walks.
Bandai has a new toy called Mojibakeru — a series of transformer toys shaped like animals that can be turned into the shape of the kanji that spells that animal’s name. Pictured here a dog, tiger, fish, horse, bird, and dragon.
via Pink Tentacle
This might be the cutest ice cream maker ever. It’s actually one of a series of character-themed ice cream machines by toymaker Takara Tomy — other designs include Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty, Stitch from Lilo & Stitch… all you have to do is toss in the ingredients and shake it, and 90 seconds later you have ice cream!
My dear friend Mai took this photo of an umbrella vending machine inside the Times parking lot in Roppongi. You know, in case you get off your car and it’s raining.
For your next bbq, why not serve your guests their soft drinks and beer in paper cups that look like the ones used to collect urine samples at a doctor’s office?
This record plays just one thing: the sound of summer rain. I would totally listen to it when I go to sleep to drown out the cooing of the pigeons outside my window.
Buy it here.
I love this toilet paper holder that looks like a cute robot head. Makes poop time so much more fun! Available in red, black, white, and yellow for $40/each.
Buy it here.