It’s common knowledge among my friends that I loathe the whole ‘only in Japan’ credo. For the most part, it seems to have become popularised only because a bunch of apparent experts who have never even visited Japan, much less lived there, see things in anime or while surfing the net and then dedicate whole pages to whatever weird or ridiculous thing they’ve happened to stumble across. Said weird or ridiculous thing would most often be considered bizarre or repulsive by average Japanese standards as well – as disappointing as it may sound, most people in Japan don’t walk around wearing cat ears, a man will quickly earn himself a lot of negative attention if he cross-dresses in public, and there is not a panty vending machine on every street corner. The list of examples I could make here are endless because in Japan, just like in any other country, daily life tends not to be accurately represented by what people actually find interesting or photo-worthy.
That said, every once in a while I’m forced to concede that Japan is bat-shit insane. So let’s count ‘em down. Here are 10 of the oddest and/or most disturbing products I’ve seen advertised over the past couple of years from the land of the rising sun.
10. Beer Frother
Are you completely incapable of pouring a glass of beer with the appropriate amount of frothy head, rendering you unable to look your friends and co-workers in the eye whenever you host a party? If so then this ultrasonic beer frother is definitely for you. Simply pour your beer as usual, add a little water to the Beer Frother, and create a beer you can be truly proud of!
While we’re on the topic of beer, for those who live around the Shibetsu district of Hokkaido, why not pop in to Nakashibetsu townand buy some beer-milk? Apparently a fruity-flavoured beverage, each 330 ml bottle costs 380 yen and has all the goodness of a low-malt beer, one third of which is actually surplus milk from local dairy farms.
8. LED Teeth Lights
Originally created as an experiment by two Japanese designers and then used to advertise a winter sale at Laforet in Harajuku, these mouth accessories contain brightly glowing LED lights whose colours can be changed viawireless computer interface. Ideal for attention-seeking teenagers and ravers alike!
Speaking of facial products. Designer pet supplies company OPPO have recently released a line of dog muzzles shaped like duckbills. Made from soft silicone and available in 3 different colours and sizes, Quack is clearly the must-have for anyone wanting to cuteify their pet.
6. Beauty Lift High Nose
Created by Omni, this device attaches to your face using silicone supports and has two vibration points intended to raise your nose. That’s right ladies, just three minutes a day and about 6800 yen later, and you too can have a perfectly positioned snoot.
5. Waffle Handle
Is your child unable to keep from walking into door handles? Worry no more, these waffle-like polystyrene safety grips can be easily slid over the offending handles to protect your child from mild concussion. With 4 colours to choose from and a shape that will fit most door handle types, they can be purchased from Tokyu Hands for a mere 720 yen.
4. Super Cool Bra
Women struggling to keep cool last summer were finally able to buy what they’ve clearly been yearning to for years now – a bra with built-in gel pads, wind chime, and sprig of mint. Lingerie design firm Triumph Japan unveiled these Super Cool Bras for a publicity stunt in an attempt to raise awareness of Japan’s energy crisis, aiding women in staying refreshed without having to crank up the aircon. Don’t worry ladies, the cups remain soft and supple even after they’ve been frozen!
3. Kuu Pillow
I suppose it was inevitable really. You can already buy hug pillows and sex dolls, so why not combine the two? The Kuu Pillow, created by adult product maker G PROJECT, is now selling pillows you can have sex with. Just slip on your favourite character cover, insert the artificial vagina into the lower masturbation slot and you’re ready to go! Pillow covers sold separately, of course.
2. Cuddle Café
This one’s not a product so much as a specialty store, where for 6000 yen an hour you can sleep in the arms of a beautiful women. Soineya opened in Akihabara in 2012 and offers its patrons “the simple and ultimate comfort of sleeping together with someone” with no strings attached. For an additional fee, optional courses include being patted on the back or head, giving or receiving a foot massage, and staring at each other for a full minute. Bliss!
1. Scented Oils
Adult goods company Tamatoys released the latest addition to their series of themed fragrance oils last November. Now available for purchase are perfumes such as ‘Holy Water of High School Girl’, ‘High School Girl Armpit’, ‘Working Woman’s Leg’, and last but certainly not least, ‘The Smell of a Boy’s Anus’. Apparently this latter fragrance has “a strong musky perfume smell, tinged with a pungent odour.” No need to worry though – Tamatoys has assured its customers that “this product does not smell like shit”, but rather is “purely the smell of anus.” What a relief.
Question of the post: What’s the weirdest Japanese product you’ve ever seen advertised? Have you ever bought an item from Japan yourself that you’d classify as weird?