Life in Japan is harsh. Working whole day and dealing with stress when you don't have a significant other can take its toll on you. Japan also happens to be the country with record low birth rates and people there generally consider dating to be too annoying and expensive. No wonder places like Soineya exist. For the hefty price of 77 dollars per hour you can lay down with girl and cuddle. Nothing naughty though, just sleeping in her arms and some eye contact to make you feel like you are loved. These cafes prosper, it goes to show that Japanese men do enjoy the illusion.
The Cat Railway
Miracles can happen. When Wakayama Electric Railway decided to destroy a cat shelter while expanding their train stations, the president of the company appointed Tama the cat as the station master. Well, being a station master is not really that hard of a job, all you have to do is to wear a hat and greet customers, a feline can do it just fine. This curiosity brought many tourists to the town and boosted up the economy in the region, everybody wanted to see Tama in action. The cat was promoted to Deputy President in 2013 because of its achievements and has three cutesy trains designed to promote her even more.
Oh dear, this again. Japanese love cats, they also love cafes, cat cafes seem to be the natural progression. It is all about space and unfortunately most Japanese people, who live in the big cities, don't have enough room for pets. If you enjoy the company of friendly felines your only option then is to visit the Cat Cafe and be surrounded by them for a couple of hours. Some people even choose to do their work there, the presence of cats soothing them and making them work harder.
If you don't know what that is you better check Youtube for some hilarious videos on the matter. Basically station pushers are the only way for some train stations to deal with the numerous passengers during rush hours. They push everybody inside and save some time. Thankfully this "job" is either done by the station staff or part-time workers, like students. It is mostly needed in the morning. Station Pushers first appeared in Shinjuku Station and ever since have been accepted as a must have convenience.
After World War Two the Japanese absorbed a lot of the suggestions which were given to them by the Americans. This includes the Deming Philosophy. It deals with the way we work and produce results, and has been widespread in Japan ever since. What this causes is for people to overwork themselves. See, Deming says that you shouldn't be satisfied with your work and should always strive for more, working and working until you prove yourself. Combine this with the respect the Japanese have for their elders, aka the employee should never leave their workplace before their boss does, and we have a recipe for a long long hardworking hours. Which can lead to suicides. There is even a word for them - karoshi.
Did you know that Japanese were not wearing any underwear before World War Two? That's right, it only became popular after the Americans came and taught them to be ashamed of their private parts and to cover them up. Right, but panties were expensive and only high level hookers and rich people could afford them. Later on, when they became more widely spread, males started to associate them with sexual desires. It is weird to see how many Japanese men are obsessed with panties but here you go, you know the reason now.
The Kaiju word has become popular nowadays. Japan is the source of all these giant monster movies and Godzilla is some sort of an icon there. It is a giant dinosaur, who feeds on nuclear energy and fights the Japanese military, and other giant monsters. This seems to be what scares people there the most, not cheap stuff like vampires and werewolves. It is funny because once a movie was made, which featured Godzilla attacking New York, the Japanese mocked it because there aren't even nuclear power plants nearby. Silly, silly Americans.
The Hemorrhoid Shrine
As you already know the Japanese have a shrine for pretty much everything. Even the most painful and embarrassing problems. The Kunigami Shrine is known to cure Hemorrhoids and people with this condition visit it for the yearly Kisai festival. At first they were required to wash their butts in the nearby river and eat offering eggs. However the tradition evolved. Now to cure your hemorrhoids you need to pull down your pants, wave your ass in front of an egg shaped stone and chant a prayer. It is not a laughing matter though, people with serious illnesses go there as something of a last resort to get better. Hopefully the shrine helps at least some of them.
They are in mass production now. All you have to do is go to the shop and buy one(assuming you have the money). They are young looking and pretty, mostly in their twenties, and they will make your life much better, supposedly. This is only the beginning though, expect things like robotic hostess and robotic news anchors in the future.
For all these times when we want to say "sorry" but we don't have the guts to do it, the apology agencies come to help. They are a shortcut of a sort, instead of apologizing yourself to someone you can pay them to do the job for you. It can be done verbally or in a written format, with the latter being much cheaper. But this is not all, you can also pay them to pretend they are your parent and to help out in a painful breakup. Some see them as creating a web of lies and enforcing anti-social behavior, and shyness, others simply seem them as another timely convenience.
Training Your Face
Yes, we have muscles in our faces and like every other muscles they can be trained. The Japanese invented such a thing, the Facial Fitness PAO, which allows you to beef up your head. No really, people who used the device claimed that they became more beautiful thanks to it. The training machine itself consists of a mouthpiece with two plastic wings on both sides. Gobble it up and bob your head up and down to make it move. It looks silly but for only 1 minute a day you'll notice results......hopefully.
Dealing with Weight Problems
Japanese don't really have problems with obesity(unlike Americans) but still, they are way ahead when it comes to weight regulation. Diets? Pfft, this is too old school. How about eating with the slimming goggles attached to your head. Wearing them will trick you, make you think the meal you are eating is bigger than it actually is, which means in the end you'll eat less. It has been scientifically proven to work. Even the opposite is true - when you put the goggles in reverse you will consume more food because it will look smaller to you. Amazing!
Mobile Toilet Paper
It is great to have some no matter where you go. Especially if you got a runny nose, sometimes bringing some tissues in your pockets just won't do the trick. This is where one of the crazier Japanese inventions comes into play. It is not very techy, it is rather silly in fact. A hat on your head, a strapped roll of toilet paper on top, you get as much as you want with a little move of your hand. Of course it is a finite supply so bringing up reserve ones is mandatory. I am honestly not sure how humiliating it is to walk like this, even in Japan.
Take Care Of Your Ears
Our ears are a sensitive subject. They not only deal with hearing, they also keep our balance(equilibrium) in check. Contrary to popular belief, regularly cleaning them can be detrimental. Removing ear wax with sharp objects can seriously hurt our inner ears. Japanese have noticed that too and tried to help matters with their two inventions - the ear explorer and the ear enhancer. The first one is actually awesome. It is a small device, which allows you to see exactly what's up inside your ears. Anytime, anywhere. If you notice a problem you can then easily contact a specialist. The ear enhancer is a completely different type of strange. It helps people with poor hearing, but by itself it is very big and cumbersome. Two bowls on both sides of your head will only bring more attention to your problem.
The Useless Inventions
If you haven't caught on already, Japan is famous for its inventions. The people there just love creating new and quirky devices, most of them completely useless. Today they have their own name, Chindogu, which also comes with a set description of what Chindogu has to be. The invention must be both useless and useful in some situations, it shouldn't be patented and sold, it must have a clear purpose and a prototype has to exist. A popular example of a Chindogu is the so called Personal Rain Saver, which is an upside down umbrella connected to a tube. It collects rainwater.
Sudoku is a fascinating numbers game, which tests a person's logic. You need to complete it without putting the same one digits in rows, columns and zones. People associate it with Japan, but its origins might not be Japanese at all. The first example appeared during 19th century in a French newspaper. Today's modern Sudoku certainly has its roots in Japan though. The rules were set in 1984 and the game became a worldwide sensation in 2005.
Some countries have elevator operators, some really don't. In Japan this job is done by women. Their uniform, looks and even voices are finely tuned to cheer up the passengers. But there is more, they also serve as a security of sorts. Many elevators span from the underground parking lots to the upper floor penthouses. The normal building security can't really take a good look of the people, who arrive inside cars, so it is the elevator girl's duty to report any suspicious individuals.
Ok, not really. Alcohol can be very deadly when consumed by cats and dogs. This doesn't stop the Japanese from having their very own beer and wine, designed for their pets. No alcohol, just some grape juice. But why? It all started with dressing up our pets in funny costumes. The next step is to take them to a dinner. Finally we make them celebrate their birthdays. We buy them cakes and some beverages, it is a special occasion after all. Unsurprisingly the dog beer and cat wine are popular and sought after products in Japan.
Technology For The Lazy
Convenience is Japan's middle name and let's be honest here, cleaning up floors is never a pleasant experience. Naturally a way to keep them clean even when lazy sufficed. The aptly named Sugoi Mop is controlled remotely by something resembling a game controller. It can clean up even the most difficult places, while the operator can sit comfortably in his sofa. But this is not all. The next level is the so called Mocoro Mop Ball. It is a fluffy sphere, which rolls on the floor by itself, recognizes and cleans up the dirty spots it finds. A robotic cleaning device, which is easy to clean up afterwards. Every lazy person's dream!
The Shouting Vase
The Japanese people appear very peaceful and collected most of the time. But they are still humans. A human can experience dissatisfaction, frustration, anger. They'll want to yell and curse in loud voices. Bottling up negative emotions can lead to an ever bigger outbursts, Japanese understand this perfectly. And yet showing them in public is frowned upon. What to do then? The cheapest solution is the shouting vase. It is easy to hold, just put its opening on your mouth and shout to your heart's content. The vase's form absorbs most of the sound and is sure to make your neighbors happy again.
Super Cool Bras
Spring and summer can be hard for the Japanese, especially if the temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celsius. It doubles for the women, who have to endure very uncomfortable bras with many layers and foam inside. This is where Triumph's Super Cool Bra springs into action. It contains, wait for it, ice packs. No, not really, just gel which can be cooled off and put inside the cup to keep the hot temperatures away. Unfortunately this clever concept has turned into a gag because the design of the bras is laughable.
Solar Powered Bras
While we are at it, let's tackle another piece of crazy lingerie. Being eco friendly is very popular in Japan, especially in the clothing industry. Triumph went one step further and introduced their solar powered bras. The idea is that women can use their special sun panels for a power source, to power up their mobile phones and iPods when nothing else can be found around. Triumph didn't consider one very important thing though. The solar panels can't be washed, whoops! Definitely the device.....lingerie needs some further upgrades.
The idea of a diet water is confusing to say the least. First and foremost water can't be used as a supplement in a diet. Next we have the fact that water by itself contains exactly zero percent fat, so you can't actually transform it into a diet beverage, right? Chiba Brewery disagrees. According to them their product has certain bonds, which seek out and destroy fat inside your blood vessels. They even did a special survey, which showed that 2 out of 100 people drinking diet water lost weight. It is sketchy but Japanese are still buying it so I guess it can work.
Oh yes, Japanese people are one of the biggest bug lovers in the world. Maybe the most interesting aspect of their passion are the beetle battles, which are similar to dog and cock fights. Then we have video games on the subject, bug-looking heroes, bugs for pets, people who spend their entire lives breeding bugs, hell, even Pokemon has its own bug collecting origins! The pinnacle of this obsession are the toys. Remote controlled caterpillars especially are extremely realistic in their movement, colors and skin. Those pranksters better get ready!
Japanese Psychological Horror Games
The Japanese are messed up, alright. In a good way. You've probably already heard about their horror games, maybe even played some. It all comes down to something, called psychological horror. It doesn't contain many in your face scares, oh no, it depends on other primal fears to deeply disturb you. Like loneliness, isolation, paranoia, distrust, feelings we can all relate to. In the Japanese horror games we are forced to play a character, who is not very powerful, but has to go through unimaginable horrors, which are mostly subtle and coming from his own consciousness. He doesn't have allies and even if he does they are as messed up as him. Meanwhile the atmosphere itself surrounds him, chokes him, constricts him. The grandfather of the genre, Silent Hill, came out in 1999. Ever since the market has been stacked.
This is really not what you think it is. Made for the gents, the leg pillow represents the legs of a woman, kneeling down. You can put your head on them and relax in a peaceful sleep. It is not that crazy once you realize Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world and establishments like the cuddle cafes are widely popular. Japanese men are just lonely and need some lovin too, especially considering how hard they work for their salaries.
Made for the ladies, this pillow is actually not that bad of a thing to have. It represents the torso of a man(duh) with one arm sticking out. You can hug it, or just....sleep on it depending on your mood. Thanks to its fancy arm the pillow will keep your head, neck and back in the right position, plus it has a memory foam inside, which will provide maximum comfort for your body. Upgrades exist, boyfriend pillows with two arms for when you have to watch TV or read a book comfortably.
We covered the men and women already, now let's take care of their kids. School sucks, most students agree with this. Sleeping there can be troublesome though. Desks are hard and uncomfortable, bringing your own pillow from home seems to be a very silly idea too. Book pillows solve this problem. They are shaped as a big book you just need to open and put your head on. Voila, a quick nap to regain your strength. It is not too bad, after all studies have shown that you work better when you sleep for a bit rather than forcing yourself to stay awake. All in the name of knowledge.
Sometimes we just have to brush our teeth in a hurry, there is no other way. However, chances are we didn't bring our big and cumbersome toothbrush along, oh no! This is where the finger toothbrush comes in handy. The tiny thing is usually attached to some rubber. You put the rubber on your finger and start brushing without fear. It is surprisingly small and easy to use, you can even wash your baby's teeth without much of a trouble.
Two in one, how about that? Never again wave an umbrella around when there is no sign of rain, never again let water ruin your precious suit because you left home without protection. The tie umbrella solves it all, or does it? While it certainly seems like a useful invention and it doesn't really worsen your image(as long as your suit is buttoned up), what happens when you actually use it to shield yourself from the rain before reaching your workplace is a big question. A wet tie or no tie at all, both options suck.
Japanese Crime Fighting
You'd be surprised to see how creative the Japanese people are when it comes to marking and apprehending thieves. In some commercial buildings, shops and malls for example, there are bright orange baseball balls next to the cash register. Contrary to the popular belief they are not for relaxation. Filled with an orange paint they are used to throw at the robbers and thus mark them for easier recognition. Doesn't sound that effective but it is cheap and can be used as a decoration when things are peaceful.
There are dozens of strange and weird Japanese cafes but did you notice how most of them are for men? Women can be lonely too! Or want to watch some beefed up meathead serve them their coffee with great delicacy. Surprisingly, the macho cafe only recently opened its doors in Tokyo. What you'll find there are a bunch of Asian bodybuilders dressed up in tight vests and playing waiters to blushing businesswomen and flirty schoolgirls. One to look out for.
Amezaiku is this rare skill, which allows you to sculpt a lollipop, or other candies, like something out of an art museum. Animals are the preferred objects, but there is really no limit to the imagination the Japanese masters put into their work. Amezaiku itself is about 500 years old, but there are no schools for it. All practitioners are self taught, discovering their talents as they go. Shinri Tezuka is one such artist. He owns one of the only two stores in Tokyo, which sell these precious lollipops, and is very happy to show his craft in front of his customers.
Hotel Rooms For Crying
Hotels in Japan can be as exotic and strange as the cafes. There is something for everybody, if you are willing to look for it and pay a little extra for the service. This is what crying rooms offers in Mitsui Garden Hotel, Shinjuku. They are designed for women(a bit stereotypical, don't you think) and are stocked with items to make your sadness a bit more bearable. Expensive tissues are spread around, even a special steam eye mask is offered to wipe your tears and soothe your swollen eyes, while sad manga books and films are readily available to help you let it all out. Visit one of these little beauties and you won't be crying again for months!
Collagen Beer And Japanese Beauty
A relatively new trend in Japan makes women consume great amounts of collagen to keep their skin beautiful and young. While Japanese females do tend to have better skin than their sisters from the rest the world, it is not an easy job to keep yourself beautiful while aging. New "cutting edge" beautification extracts and devices are produced constantly. Collagen laced food and drinks just seems to be the newest one. And of course a smart company took advantage, and promoted its very own collagen beer for the ladies. Even its name is clever - "Precious", if you want to be pretty and drunk at the same time, every man's fantasy.
Most people already know what an onsen is. Japan, being a country with strong volcanic activity, enjoys numerous hot springs, which are being used for some healthy bathing. If you want to try something new though, using volcanic sand can be just as good. The procedure is very deliberate and interesting to observe. First, a huge box of sand is filled up with water and heated up. When it gets hot enough, the liquid is drained and people lie down in the newly formed warm and soft substance. Resort personnel then grab shovels and cover them up to their necks in sand. Usually one sand bath lasts 30 minutes and is known to be helpful while dealing with anemia, diabetes and even weight loss.
Kamen Rider Against Drunk Drivers
Kamen Rider is a very popular Japanese show, involving masked superheroes. It is not that strange then to find a guy, dressed up as a grasshopper, who is riding a bike and represents his favorite character. No, the strange thing is that he actually actively seeks and busts drunk drivers during nighttime. Shinjiro Kumagai is a priest, an artist, who uses trash for his work, and a patrolman cosplayer all in one, fully supported by the local temple and police department. Only in Japan.
Smell Like A Cat
Japanese love cats, this much is very obvious. But of course people there have different levels of obsession, some are content with just stroking a cat's head, others want to smell like a cat. The latter group is big enough to be targeted by the market, and this is how the idea for a cat cream came to be. Use Felissimo's hand cream to make your hands soft and smelling like feline paws! Guaranteed to invoke new fetishes in the populace.
Otaku's life is a hard one. Sacrificing social interactions in your quest to watch animated girls/play computer games whole day can be taxing. Anime pillows already exist, but they can leave you wanting for more. Hugging and watching your person sized fluffy girlfriend will eventually make you very sad. Oh god, if she can only talk to me! Yeah, this is what Koichi Uchimura has been thinking. He is fully prepared to bring the extreme anime loving community one step further in their quest to live with their favorite characters, screw the real world.
Predicting When To Take Toilet Breaks
The nature's call can come suddenly, without warning, humans are really not that good at predicting when it is going to strike. We need a device to help us, right? Thankfully the Japanese have already invented it, it is called D-free. Just put it on your stomach and connect it to your smartphone. It will monitor your bowel movements, notice if there is a swelling, and warn you 10 minutes in advance. It is pretty cool actually, especially for sick people, who will be better prepared to face the danger now.
Robot dogs are.....were famous in Japan for some time. Between 1999 and 2006 Sony produced thousands of these cute devices, called AIBOs. Equipped with a special artificial intelligence, which allowed them to develop their own personality, they were beloved pets for many despite their steep price of over 2000 dollars. Unfortunately Sony was forced to discontinue the production and eventually closed the maintenance too. Many robot dog owners couldn't repair their pets when they broke down. Distraught, they buried them like you'd bury a real dog. It is a sad story.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit, native of East Asia. It looks like a wrinkled mix between lemon and orange, and is liked a lot in Japan. Maybe deliberately, maybe not, but after feeding huge amounts of yuzu to their chicken some farmers noticed that the eggs smell and even taste like the famous fruit. Needless to say this was made into a successful business and today you can purchase, and consume these tasty citrus eggs.
The Lonely Men Strike Back
Japan is filled to the brim with lonely men, obviously. While most of them decide to go on with their lives quietly and spend their hard earned coin on girlfriend pillows and cuddle cafes, some of them decided it is about time to be heard. The Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Women Are not Attracted To or in short Kakuhidou was founded in 2006. Their purpose - to protest against the capitalist romantic holidays like Christmas and Valentine's. They note that the celebrations are a big conspiracy created by the "oppressive chocolate capitalists" and they are most unjust. Revolution is the only option.
It is called the missing link, the thing which will bridge the gap between the everyday clothes and cosplayer costumes. The shining skirt, or hikaru skirt, is a very peculiar fashion choice. Women with short skirts usually bring enough attention to themselves already, but with small LED lights inside they can illuminate their thighs now, creating a pleasant show for onlookers during the darker hours. The light changes as the person moves, so any pursuers can't miss them easily. Whether this is a really smart invention or not has to be seen.
Shave Your Face
Maybe the most common way for Japanese women to achieve their smooth porcelain skin is to shave their faces. It is not like they actually grow beards, it is just an easy way to remove completely the facial fuzz and create this dreamy doll-like appearance we've all seen. It is cheap too! Some women do it every four months, others - every month, the most passionate ones shave their face every day at home. In the most extreme cases the entire body is being shaved, including the eyebrows. Body hair is just that disgusting to them.
The Cotton Bar
A bar, called Tokyo Cotton Village, in the Setagaya ward, Tokyo, offers a unique activity for its customers. While they are waiting for their drinking, or are already drinking, they'll be offered to spin cotton for free. It is, as you might have guessed, a special cotton, which while being spun on threads soothes the person. As it turns out this method of relaxation is so good the bar gets many regular customers to go there several times a week and kill their stress with cotton.
Solo Wedding Service
Nowadays many women in Japan choose to focus on their careers instead of becoming housewives for rich husbands. It is a path, which sometimes leaves them without the pleasures of having a man around, and of course without the magic that is the wedding day. Not anymore, the crafty Japanese people(located in Kyoto) have created the so called Solo Wedding Service. It allows single, but wealthy women, to experience everything a wedding has to offer. Food, drinks, hotels, guests, a dress, a ceremony, even a prop of the "husband", created for photo reasons, are taken care of. The service costs more than 3 000 dollars but if you are already rich and old, why not?
The Turtle Taxi
A new breed of taxis has been gaining popularity during the last two years. The turtle taxi service first started in Yokohama. Drivers were taught how to accelerate, how to brake and how to turn the cab in a way to create as little stress, and vibrations as possible. It is slow, yes, but it is also perfect when you are not in a hurry. The turtle taxis became immediately popular with the elderly, mothers with small children, tourists and people with disabilities. They are easy to use too, just enter one of the designated cars and press a button to indicate to the driver that you want to take it slow, and gentle. Further expansion of the service is planned in future years.
Toy Lie Detector
Truth or dare can be an interesting game, but unfortunately you can easily lie in it without getting caught. Not anymore. Takara Tomy, a Tokyo based company, created a special scanner(Kokoro Scanner), which will show your lies to everybody, who can see you. Strap it to your forehead, leave it there for a bit until it picks up your baseline heart rate, get asked a question and respond to it. If your pulse remains on the baseline(truth) a green light shines, if not - a red light(lie). The best part is that you can't actually see the color, but everybody else can. No more cheating!
Tasty Maple Leaves
Deep fried maple leaves are actually a popular snack in Japan. But how can you eat a leaf? It is complicated actually. The leaves are carefully selected, then put inside a salt barrel, where they stay for over an year. They are then taken out and dipped into sesame seeds, flour and sugar, and fried for 20 minutes. The crispy final product is a star shaped leaf. Is it tasty though? Hard to say, people in the know say that the leaf itself doesn't have any taste. What makes it so appealing is its beautiful shape.