Some dogs don’t like the rain. Most dogs don’t like wearing raincoats. The solution could be in this umbrella for dogs — it faces downwards instead of up and has a leash attachment to it so that it automatically opens up over your dog as he walks. Interesting!
If you think carrying an umbrella on a rainy day is not manly enough, maybe try this umbrella with a samurai sword-like handle. It’s guaranteed to make you feel like a warrior in combat rather than a lowly pedestrian who doesn’t want to get wet.
My friend Garth went to Tokyo recently and took this photo at a baking supply store in Kappabashi. I have never seen so many cookie cutters!
My neighbor is a pastry chef and she fell in love with some pastry forms she saw in a Japanese book on the topic. I spent a lot of time trying to find something for her while I was there. I ended up meeting a woman at a store who, through half Japanese half English communication, helped me find a goldmine of baking supplies.
For $150, you can now get this cute, boxy toy projector called the Toyjector. It’s two cubic inches and weighs just four ounces, so it’s super portable, but it really is just a toy — it projects 300×224 images and only has an internal 1W mono speaker. But if you’re looking for a cute-and-little gadget-y holiday gift for a non-gadgety person, this could be a good gift. It goes on sale in Japan at the end of November.
Takara Tomy has a new crazy toy called the Sakasa Master Japan. It’s actually a recording device that plays back whatever you say backwards — useful for those who want to make up a secret code language or are linguistically curious. But mostly, just pure entertainment.
This toy (?) is called Neko Funjyatta (literally, I stepped on a cat, though it’s commonly associated with a kids’ song frequently played on the piano known elsewhere as the Flea Song) and features a plastic cat with its guts spilling out.
A lot of official documents in Japan still require an inkan, or a personalized red stamp. It’s the equivalent of a signature in the US, except you have to carry it around with you — each is unique because of the name, obviously, and the font. This golden poop charm is actually a real functional inkan — it stamps good luck on whatever document you need to endorse, be it a marriage certificate or bank papers.
Forget those clunky collapsible lawn chairs that people lug around to parks and campsites. The new greatest portable chair is a $9, 0.8-lb honeycombed cardboard structure that supposedly can carry even the heaviest person and lasts forever. I might buy one, although I tend to prefer sitting on the ground over anything else when I’m outdoors.
This cute little blue guy is actually a modern-day house ornament that’s supposedly good for feng shui. He brings you good luck in your career — you can put a little personal note in the slit in front for motivation; this guy will sit in the corner of your room, slowly bobbing his head from side to side, just chilling out and bringing you good vibes. You can also get a pink guy for romantic luck and a green one for health.
I love this dining set for kids made by Funfam. Everything’s made of bamboo and is reusable (huge amounts of wooden chopsticks are used and thrown away every day in Japan), but not only that, the embedded cutlery design automatically teaches your kids how to set a table! It’s one less thing you have to teach them &mdash not to mention that it’s just an extremely cute design. The only caveat: it costs $200.
The stem glass tray is a smart product from a small restaurant in Oita Prefecture specifically designed for carrying multiple wine glasses at once. It’s a tray with little holes in it that you can hook up to eight wine glasses in, and a 9th hole for the thumb.
Product page (Japanese)
Starting in November, you’ll be able to buy these Star Wars light saber chopsticks in Darth Vader Red, Luke Skywalker Blue, or Yoda Green for 1050 yen ($10) each from Kotobukiya. Fun at the dinner table for the whole family!