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101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions

101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions
by Kenji Kawakami
back cover
Gift of Carolee Rand
November 2003

The Japanese have formalized the creation of tacky treasures into something called Chindogu. It means to create something that appears initially to answer a human need, but almost immediately fails, sometimes comically.

There are many hilarious entries in this book, including tiny mops for cat's paws, so they can help clean the house and a hat with toilet paper dispenser on it, for people with bad colds. But my favorite, and one I wish would catch on, is the one for people who fall asleep on the subway. It's a shade that you can pull over your face for privacy, but it also informs others around you with the words, "I'm sleeping. Please wake me when the train reaches Union Station."

Copyright © 2000-2010, Julie Mangin. All Rights Reserved. April 2, 2016