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30 Crazy Japanese Inventions You Never Knew You Needed

Japan, known for its abundant creativity, is undoubtedly the country of the most inventive gadgets. Here’s a selection of the ones we can’t wait to try.

  • A Vending Machine That Sells Smart Cars A Vending Machine That Sells Smart Cars

    A vending machine that sells cars is a little over-the-top, even by Japan’s standards – which probably explains why this vending machine doesn’t actually sell full cars, but brochures and information about buying a smart car. Yeah, it’s a little bit of a letdown.

  • A Cushion You Can Lean on While Working on Your Computer A Cushion You Can Lean on While Working on Your Computer

    We spend so much time on our phones, tablets and laptops that things like “tech neck” are now a legit medical condition. One way Japan is combating this, is with special cushions made for surfing the net in comfort. I’m using one right now!

  • A Machine That Trains Kids to Smile A Machine That Trains Kids to Smile

    Nobody likes a stubborn kid who’s frowning all the time, right? This half-brilliant, half-crazy Japanese invention will make sure your child smile – whether they want to or not.

  • A Fake Bubble Wrap Device A Fake Bubble Wrap Device

    Okay, now we’re talking about an invention that 99% of people can get behind – a bubble wrap popping key chain. It even has sound effects like a doorbell or a dog barking, in case the bubble wrap sound isn’t enough for you.

  • A Mini Fan Soup Cooler A Mini Fan Soup Cooler

    Some inventions are more useless than others, and while I don’t want to rag on anybody’s creativity, this one probably won’t win any Nobel prizes. This fan that attaches to your chopsticks is made to cool off hot noodles – just in case you forgot how to blow on them, or wait a couple minutes.

  • Something For People Having a Hard Time With Eye Drops Something For People Having a Hard Time With Eye Drops

    If you’re always trying to squirt eye drops in your pupils and end up hitting everywhere but your eyes, do not worry – Japan has a solution. These eye drop funnel glasses only serve one purpose, but who cares, they get the job done.

  • Something to Keep Your Hair Out of Your Food Something to Keep Your Hair Out of Your Food

    If you have long hair and don’t want it getting in your food, this thing that looks like a toilet seat cushion might be for you. (Another alternative though, would be to just pull your hair back.)

  • Square Watermelons Square Watermelons

    Japan is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to agriculture for one reason – square watermelons! They were invented in the early 1980s as a way to stop regular old round watermelons from rolling away, and have become somewhat of a novelty item. They’re kinda pricey, too.

  • A Banana Case A Banana Case

    Japan was the first to invent a case specifically designed to protect a single banana. This item is pretty commonplace now – gotta give props to the Japanese for finding a way to prevent those unsightly banana bruises.

  • Cupman That Falls Down When Your Noodles Are Hot Cupman That Falls Down When Your Noodles Are Hot

    Not only does the Cupmen keep the flap closed while the noodles are heating up, he also changes color to white as the temperature of the paper rises, letting you know three minutes have elapsed. He almost makes you forget that you’re having ramen noodles for dinner!

  • A Face Mask That’s Supposed to Improve Muscles and Prevent Sagging A Face Mask That’s Supposed to Improve Muscles and Prevent Sagging

    Nobody escapes the march of time, and as we get older our face muscles begin to sag. Not everyone has the pocketbook to shell out for a face-lift, though. This mask promises to be a great alternative. Does it work? Well, that’s another question.

  • A Book-Shaped Pillow – For When You Can’t Deal With Life A Book-Shaped Pillow – For When You Can’t Deal With Life

    This pillow is essential for any college or grad student studying for finals. Bring it with you to the library, and when you feel like your eyelids are made of lead, just open it up and catch some comfy zzzs.

  • Napkins That Help You Stay Pretty While You Eat Napkins That Help You Stay Pretty While You Eat

    I guess this is supposed to shield others from having to watch you eat food, which is weird, but sort of considerate.

  • The Ear Enhancer The Ear Enhancer

    The ear enhancer is what a hearing aid would look like if it were made by a four-year-old. It’s not the best tool, but works well enough to hear other people laughing at you.

  • The 360 Panorama Camera The 360 Panorama Camera

    The 1980s were an experimental time for Japanese inventors, and this 360-degree capturing head camera was supposed to give users a full panoramic experience. It never really took off though, because well, isn’t it kind of obvious?

  • The Umbrella Tie – to Stay Classy Even When it Rains The Umbrella Tie – to Stay Classy Even When it Rains

    Carrying around an umbrella can be a big hassle, and it’s really only a matter of time until you lose it. This is why somebody felt the need to invent the umbrella-tie. You know, kinda like the waffle shoes, shoes that double as waffles, or the roller skate gloves, roller skates you wear on your hands.

  • A Solar-Powered Cigarette Lighter A Solar-Powered Cigarette Lighter

    The solar-powered cigarette lighter is for the truly dedicated smoker. Forget about carrying around a lighter, or asking others to light you up, all you need to enjoy that smoke is a strong ray of sunshine and unwavering amount of patience.

  • A Foot-Powered Hair Dryer – Cause, Why Not A Foot-Powered Hair Dryer – Cause, Why Not

    This hair dryer is for the woman with a green conscience. It’s powered by walking to not waste electricity, allowing you to dry your hair as you walk to that important business meeting.

  • A Goldfish Aquarium Phone Booth A Goldfish Aquarium Phone Booth

    This one isn’t so much of an invention as it serves no purpose, but more of a unique art piece. People don’t have use of phone booths anymore, so turning them into goldfish tanks is one creative way to keep them relevant. The only question is: who’s feeding all those goldfishes?

  • Portable Alarm Clock for When You’re on the Bus / Train Portable Alarm Clock for When You’re on the Bus / Train

    If you take the bus or train to come back from work, then you’ve likely fallen asleep on the ride. This handy invention serves as an alarm clock to prevent you from missing your stop. Simply calculate how much time you have until you get off, and set the alarm to the appropriate hour. The alarm will go off in the earbuds and let you know you’re at your stop.

  • Glasses That Fog up When You Haven’t Blinked in 5 Seconds (Prevents Car Accidents) Glasses That Fog up When You Haven’t Blinked in 5 Seconds (Prevents Car Accidents)

    These glasses will detect when you haven’t blinked in five seconds, and fog up one of the lenses – making your eyes focus, and waking you up before you fall asleep. Men blink once every three seconds and women once every four seconds. Any longer than that usually means you’re getting sleepy.

  • Umbrellas That Let You See Through Them Umbrellas That Let You See Through Them

    They make completely clear plastic umbrellas, but where’s the fun in those? These umbrellas come with a special peep hole so the holder can see other objects and people approaching them while remaining dry.

  • Shoes That Wrap Themselves Around Your Feet Shoes That Wrap Themselves Around Your Feet

    Now these are some shoes that are guaranteed to fit snugly. Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth used for transporting goods, but has now been customized to be a mix of a shoe and a sock wrapping around your feet. They cost about $140, but are great for those who can never find a pair of shoes that fits just right.

  • A Device That Lets You See Inside Your Ears A Device That Lets You See Inside Your Ears

    This is basically a periscope, but for your ears. If you’re really that curious or concerned about what’s in your ears though, you should probably go see a doctor. Otherwise, you may not like what you find.

  • A (Discreet) Tissue Dispenser A (Discreet) Tissue Dispenser

    If you have a cold and are tired of constantly reaching into your pocket for a tissue, this invention is for you. Just reach up, and pull down. (Warning: you may lose friends.)

  • A Wedding Countdown Locked Bra A Wedding Countdown Locked Bra

    The wedding countdown bra is for couples playing it extra PG until their wedding night. Just like the chastity belt, this bra guarantees no funny business will be taking place until the clock counts down to zero.

  • The Face Slimmer Anti-Aging Mouthpiece The Face Slimmer Anti-Aging Mouthpiece

    This strange-looking mouthpiece is supposed to help prevent frown lines and to slim a woman’s face. To work effectively, it should be worn for three minutes every day… preferably where nobody else can see you wearing this silicone atrocity.

  • A Baby Onesie That’s Also a Mop A Baby Onesie That’s Also a Mop

    Babies have had it way too good for years. They get to nap constantly, have somebody feed them and cater to their every whim, all without having to do any work. Those days are over with this onesie mop. The least a baby could do while crawling around is give the floor a sparkling shine.