Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Wonderful World of Inventions

Reviewed by Nancy

Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night thinking your life would be complete if you just had a Full Body Umbrella? Probably not. Or have you ever wondered where you might find an Earring Safety Net. Well, no.

Nonetheless, you might want to have a look at 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions by Kenji Kawakami (608 KAW Main). It will give you a break from the humdrum responsibilities of your life.

In the introduction to his book Mr. Kawakami explains the Japanese art of Chindogu. It's a little hard to describe, but in Chindogu one attempts to make an object that is almost useful, but is so silly it can't really be useful. Or to create an object that actually is useful, but is also so silly that you can't quit laughing long enough to use it.

In the book you will find descriptions and pictures of the Noodle Eater's Hair Guard, the Cat Tongue Soother, and the Eyedrop Funnel Glasses. The Solar Powered Lighter involves the use of a magnifying glass, and Dust and Shake (one of my personal favorites) features a feather duster connected to a martini shaker. According to the author the Dust and Shake provides "well-earned after-chore refreshment."

You must see as well the Heavy Smoker's Mask and the Hydrophobe's Bath Body Suit. Really, these items are not to be missed. I may do some checking to see if I can acquire a Portable Zebra Crossing. Yes, it is what it sounds like... your very own portable pedestrian crosswalk that can be rolled across a busy street when you need to cross. Of course, the book includes a disclaimer pointing out that one might be killed trying to position the crosswalk for use.

Perhaps you will find a "must have" item for yourself in these pages. Just, please, don't ever get on the commuter train and place your Portable Commuter Seat next to me. Once you see the picture of this invention you will understand why.

I could not stop reading this book. Also, I could not stop laughing.

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