Japanese Gadget Engineers Think In a Fourth Dimension

What happens to a dream deferred? The Japanese capitalize on it.
Publish date:
October 14, 2011
gadgets, japan

I believe there are VIP clubs in our minds where our eeriest fascinations hang with each other and drop acid, and only a few people -- including Japanese toy and gadget engineers -- are invited to mingle around up in that. They have an innate ability to tap into weird, deep-down desires and articulate them with mind-blowing clarity.

Virtual pets, for example, gave me deja vu when I found out about them. I never knew I wanted one until I became an exchange student in Japan and Tamagotchis were dangled in front of me like animatronic, Asian miracles. I had sort of already vaguely imagined them on some subconscious level and couldn’t believe they were real. You mean I, Claire Perkins, can actually have God-like rule over these digital baby animals in this egg-shaped keychain? Don’t mind if I do.

(Sidebar: before they were dumbed-down for pansy Americans, Tamagotchis taught Japanese schoolchildren an important lesson: If the kid let their virtual pet die, the toy permanently broke. Families would mourn their fake pets and have virtual graveyards. I wish I was kidding, they take their honorable upbringing seriously in those parts.)

I returned to A-me-ri-ka and was known by the 8th grade as Claire Perkins: Purveyor of Magic Japanese Gems including, but not limited to: milky pens, print club stickers, candy flavored so vividly we’d never be able to eat Skittles again and Mt. Fuji tchotchkes. The brilliant absurdity of the Japanese rubbed off on me and I’ve been a connoisseur of obscure Asian novelty items ever since.

But today we’re talking Japanese tech toys and tech-cessories, something that is available in abundance online for interested Americans, if you know your way around Google. Don’t worry about it though, I’m on it.

If your phone is tired of dangly earrings stretching her earholes, a Jewelis Swarovski Piercing for Smartphones is a nice stud option. Basically, you cram these piercings into your headphone jack to "enhance the look" and “keep the hole from getting dirty.” heh.

There’s nothing more convenient than a life-size sandwich hanging your flip phone. This cell strap/buoy Panini Ball Chain Mascot is “Freshly Baked from Uncle Nic’s Oven!” Nic has baked foam croissants, dinner rolls, butter rolls, burgers and bagels in his corrupt boulangerie for you to help yourself to.

I wonder how the board meeting brainstorming sesh went when the Japanese execs discussed this Cup Noodle USB Humidifier. Plug the plastic cup into your computer, fill with water and indulge in a chicken brothey facial anytime you happen to be at a desk.

If you use the crap out of your cellular telephone communication device transmission module activity unit coordinate system, the Hello Kitty Multi-Purpose Battery Charger is the size of a credit card and can provide you with mad juice when you aren’t around outlets. It also works with Blackberrys, Nintendo DS, Playstation PSPs and other tools.

Your iPhone home button is just so ordinary. Aren’t you embarrassed? Touch Me! Button Stickers will invigorate that Shizuoka. BONUS: They’re available in donut, which is basically my favorite color.

Speaking of, I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten distracted by my iPhone and had my Dunkin yoinked (Sidebar: wouldn’t Dunkin Yoinked be a fantastic celebrity baby name?). Words can’t even do the plastic Doughnut To-Go doughnut holder justice -- it comes complete with a padlock slot and hole to hold your Chupa Chups. Not even kidding, click the link. It really pays for itself if you account for all the doughnut shrinkage costs you normally incur.

When you gaze into your Arrowhead bottle (obviously I mean smartwater) and daydream about the deepest depths of the ocean, somebody in Japan is listening. Drop this Floating Magic Pet in your water bottle and pinch the sides so your jellyfish (or seal or squid) dives, spins and effs with the minds of your fellow public trans passengers.

If the first thing you thought of when you unboxed your new phone was “Jesus Christ, I need to pipe silicone frosting all over this right away,” you’re definitely on the same page as the creator of Decoden, or Sweets Deco. Decoden means exactly that: permanently piling vast quantities of sugary-looking silicone frosting and clay food on your phone. It’s recently become the latest DIY/Etsy movement. Want more information? Let me Google that for you.

Were you an exchange student? What are you going to buy for your phone? I can’t wait to hear.