13 Downright Bizarre Inventions Worth Traveling To Japan To See

April 24, 2017

You’ve gotta see them to believe them.

They brought us sushi, bonsai, Tamagotchi and, every year, cherry blossom season, but the folks over in Japan are also responsible for some of the wackiest inventions of our time. In fact, there’s one guy in particular we need to thank for the strangest of the strange.

Back in the 1990s, Kenji Kawakami needed to fill a few pages in his monthly magazine Mail Order Life, whose main audience were Stepford Wife types. So he filled the extra spots with made-up contraptions that he knew his readers would get a chuckle over. These gadgets became known as ‘chindogu’, which roughly translates to ‘weird devices’. The aim was for them to be somewhat practical yet so embarrassing that, if used, they would cause more problems than they would solve. So, without further ado, here are our fave pieces of chindogu…

1. Hayfever Hat

Hayfever Hat

Just strap it on and you’ll feel confident enough to face the outside elements. Come to think of it, maybe ‘confident’ is the wrong word…

2. Back Scratcher Tee

Back scratcher tee

Use the mini reference shirt to tell others where to scratch your itch. It’s like Battleship for your back!

3. Pop Sticks

Pop Sticks

When you go out to Chinese with your crew, there’s always that one person who asks for cutlery. They need these. 

4. Auto Pussy Petter

Auto Pussy Petter

Note: This one is for an actual cat. It’s the best way to keep layers of cat fur off the side of the sofa – just don’t be surprised if they become even more anti-social.

5. Train Nap Cap

Train Nap Cap

This is definitely better than letting your head bob about and inevitably falling asleep on a random… right?

6. Sweep Shoes

Sweep Shoes

Only plebs bend down to clean up a little floor mess. These are the shoes of the future… for maids, maybe.

7. Shoe Umbrellas

Shoe Umbrellas

Macy’s really needs to get on board with these puppies. You’ll never have to fear the rain when you’re rocking suede shoes again.

8. Chopstick Fan

Chopstick Fan

For when you just can’t wait for ramen to cool on its own. Like, seriously, when does it ever come out that hot, anyway?

9. 360-Degree Camera Hat

360 Degree Camera Hat

Just can’t get a handle of your phone’s panoramic function – or don’t have a phone that’s good enough? Try this.

10. Lipstick Guide

Lipstick Guide

Now you can drive and apply at the same time… that is, if you can get past the Hannibal Lecter-style face mask.

11. Baby Mop

Baby Mop

Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Just don’t tell anyone – and we mean anyone.

12. Umbrella Tie

Umbrella Tie

Things brings a new meaning to ‘suit up’. We never saw Barney Stinson rock this, but that doesn’t mean it can’t take off.

13. Butter grater

Butter Grater

For everyone who’s sick of trying to spread butter onto toast, only to have it tear the bread apart.

The whole premise behind chindogu is that they remain a concept, so you may not see these exact models floating around, but we can guarantee you’ll spot something new and crazy every day. Seriously, how do you not want to go over there and laugh so hard that you finally develop that washboard stomach you used to have in your teens?

Images via chindogu.com, ripleys.com and tofugu.com.

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Greatest Job Ever - Wine a trip to Lake Tahoe
Greatest Job Ever - Wine a trip to Lake Tahoe