Japanese Inventions in the news
The Real Adult Expo
Wired News - Jan 12 8:43 AMSex-tech is emerging from the fringe to the middle of the main convention floor. But where are the webcams? Commentary by Regina Lynn.
The Human Cartoon
The State - Jan 11 9:14 PMMagician Dan Sylvester can’t quite remember exactly what made him decide to become a living cartoon. “There’s so many sources and so many things that happened,” he said. “Somebody who saw me perform once said, ‘Well you’re kind of cartoonish.’”
IBM leads 2006 patent list
TG Daily - Jan 11 1:39 PMThe U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reported a new record of patents granted in 2006. 173,772 patents were issued during the time frame. IBM continued to lead the list for a 14th consecutive year: The company received a total of 3651 new patents.
Capsule restaurant reviews
San Jose Mercury News - Jan 11 4:01 AMAfghan Afghani House. 1103 El Camino Real (just past Lawrence Expressway), Sunnyvale; (408) 248-5088. Quiet, dignified, attractive -- and yet, a good bet for school-age kids. Have them try aush, a noodle soup, and buranee-e-kadu, sauteed butternut squash, or one of many rice dishes. Wonderful lamb -- kebabs, chops and ribs. Aushak are delicious dumplings in yogurt and meat sauce. Lunch weekdays, ...
- Japanes Inventions
Here is an article on Japanese Inventions.
Chindōgu (珍道具) is the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that, on the face of it, Japanesse Inventions seem like an ideal solution to a particular problem. However, Chindōgu has a Japanes Inventions distinctive feature: anyone actually attempting to use one Japanees Inventions of these inventions, would find that it causes so many new problems, or such significant social embarrassment, Japnese Inventions that effectively it has no utility whatsoever. Thus, Chindōgu are sometimes described as 'unuseless' - that Jappanese Inventions is, they cannot be regarded as 'useless' in an absolute sense, Japanse Inventions since they do actually solve Japannese Inventions a problem; however, in practical terms, they cannot positively be called 'useful'.
Literally translated, 'Chindōgu' means valuable/priceless (珍, Japanee Inventions 'chin') tool (道具, 'dōgu'). The term was coined by Kenji Kawakami, a Japanese inventor and Apanese Inventions writer who first made the idea prominent in a book Japaese Inventions translated into English, in the mid-nineties, Japamese Inventions as 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chindōgu. The popular success of this book prompted a follow-up, 99 More Unuseless Japanese Japanesee Inventions Inventions, which was published a few years later. Together, the books have Japnaese Inventions sold nearly a quarter of a million copies Jpanese Inventions in Japan alone, and have been translated into most of the major world languages. Examples from the books include:
- a combined household duster and cocktail-shaker, for the housewife who wants to reward herself as she's going along;
- the all-day tissue dispenser, which is basically a toilet roll fixed on top of a hat, for hay fever sufferers;
- duster slippers for cats, so they can help out with the housework;
- the all-over plastic bathing costume, to enable people who suffer from aquaphobia to swim without coming into contact with water.
There are ten key tenets to bear in mind if you wish to design a Chindōgu. The principal among these are: (a) it has to be possible to make (ie, it has to actually exist), in spite of its absurdity; (b) it has to remain in the public domain (ie, it cannot be given a patent); and (c) it must not be exclusively a vehicle for humour, or the warped satirical worldview of the inventor. There is frequently humour in a Chindōgu, of course, but this should properly be regarded as incidental, rather than as an end in itself. A full list of the tenets is available here.
In spite of the stipulation that Chindōgu should not be used for satirical ends, Kawakami himself does appear to regard them as a kind of antidote to consumerism, and the Western obsession with making life as 'easy' as possible. He describes Chindōgu as "invention dropouts," anarchically brilliant ideas that have broken free from "the suffocating historical dominance of conservative utility." One might wish to design Chindōgu for a number of reasons, for example, to improve one's mental sharpness; to develop them as an art form; or simply to revel in a purely creative act without having to worry about utility or making money.
And then, of course, there is the simple pleasure to be had from a perfectly logical solution that turns out to be perfectly useless.
Chindōgu and its creator Kenji Kawakami also became a regular feature on a children's television show produced by the BBC called "It'll Never Work," a show in a similar vein as the BBC's Tomorrows World, however It'll Never Work usually focused more on wacky and humorous gadgets than on serious scientific and technological advances.
- Rube Goldberg
- Heath Robinson
- The International Chindogu Society
- An interesting two-page interview with Kawakami
- Chindogu Interactive Flash Movie (with sound)
- Essentially similar are Hatti Jahunen inventions 
Categories: Japanese culture | Inventions