Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions That Many Secretly Need

Chindogu, the Japanese art of crafting quirky and impractical gadgets, literally translates to ‘valuable’ or ‘priceless tool.’ It’s a unique cultural phenomenon where creativity meets eccentric problem-solving.

These gadgets, though clever, often tread the line between ingenious solutions and the potential embarrassment of public use.

Now, there are some inventions that actually make sense and people wouldn’t mind using. No shame! I

t’s like finding playful ways to solve problems in daily life. Chindogu brings a mix of creativity and humor to how we deal with everyday stuff.

Even though some inventions might seem weird, they bring a fun twist to solving problems and challenge the idea of what’s considered a ‘valuable tool.’

Check out this collection of weird Japanese inventions from the 1990s and 2000s.

Hair Protector to Be Worn While Eating

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Who doesn’t love a tasty bowl of ramen noodle soup? That delicious, meaty broth can brighten anyone’s day.

But let’s face it – when that broth decides to go rogue and splatter everywhere except in your mouth, it’s a different story. That’s where the noodle splash guard comes to the rescue, putting an end to those messy soup mishaps.

Now, while this nifty gadget does the job, there’s a catch – you might feel a bit like a character from Alice in Wonderland, the lion flower to be exact.

If you can get past looking a little goofy while enjoying your soup, this could be your new go-to tool.

Of course, there are simpler ways to tackle the splash problem, like easing up on the slurping or throwing on a trusty headband to keep your hair soup-free.

Cooling Fan for Noodles

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Here’s a cool gadget for all the soup lovers out there – a tiny fan attached to a chopstick. Say goodbye to the old-school method of blowing on your soup to cool it down!

Now, this little fan might make you the center of attention with its noise, but hey, looking a bit silly is better than burning your mouth with piping hot soup, right?

But, and it’s a big but, unless this fan-on-a-chopstick is way lighter than it seems, it might not be as practical as it sounds.

The weight of the thing could create more problems than it solves. Just imagine accidentally dropping it into your soup – you’d have noodles flying everywhere!

Wearable Floor Cleaning Mop

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Babies and pets bring joy to our homes, no doubt about it. However, expecting them to handle household chores is a bit much, right?

Well, not according to some inventive minds who created items to make our otherwise less-than-useful household members contribute.

Here’s the catch – unless you’re up for frequent cleaning, these items might gather a lot of dirt. And that means your little ones and furry friends could end up inhaling all that mess.

Instead of going for these unconventional solutions, a smarter move would be to invest in a good vacuum cleaner.

An Affordable 360-degree Panoramic Camera

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Talking about odd head accessories, there was this one worth checking out. Capturing panoramic photos used to be a bit tricky in photography, but someone in Japan came up with an idea.

This camera claimed to take cool panoramic and interactive 360 photos. Nowadays, most smartphones can do that too with the right app.

But back when this invention came out, smartphones didn’t have these features. So, it was a unique fashion statement – at least until sticking a phone to your head became a thing.

Rain Protector for Shoes

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

People who cherish their shoes often seek ways to protect them, leading to a market for various shoe-saving gadgets like plastic bags. The item above falls into this category, designed with the same goal in mind.

However, it’s important to know that the mini umbrellas on this pair aren’t meant for any shoe; they’re already attached.

Their purpose is more about making a fashion statement than solving a practical problem. So, if you’re after a real solution, a reliable pair of boots might be a simpler choice.

Umbrella Tie

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Living in areas prone to unpredictable weather, especially sudden rain, calls for preparation.

What better way to be ready for unexpected rainstorms than having an umbrella? And the best part is, you don’t even need to carry this one.

The necktie design comes with its perks. It doesn’t take up much space, and it adds a touch of style.

However, the downside is that if it does rain, you’re faced with a choice – either ditch the tie or wear a soaked one, both not great looks for the workplace.

Hearing Enhancer

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Certain items are best suited for specific purposes – take bowls, for instance. They’re designed to hold things, not to experiment with unusual methods of improving hearing.

Enter the Japanese invention named the Ear Enhancer. Crafted with a bowl-like appearance, its purpose is to boost the range and accuracy of your hearing.

Solar-Powered Cigarette Lighter

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Tired of constantly reminding yourself to keep matchboxes away from your children?

Concerned about the presence of large amounts of hazardous lighter fuel in your home? Or frustrated with matches breaking when struck against their subpar boxes?

Consider the solar option. While solar power is often touted as the future, this contraption might not scream futuristic.

It employs a magnifying glass to concentrate sunlight onto the tip of your cigarette. Although the intention was good, unfortunately, it took quite a while to effectively ignite anything.

Rain Water Collector

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

For individuals residing in regions with restricted water access, the concept of the upside-down umbrella holds appeal.

Its function is to gather rainwater, connected to a bag specifically crafted for storing the collected water.

While the idea is somewhat practical, there’s a potential concern regarding the hygiene of consuming the collected water.

Given the likelihood of pollutants accompanying the rain, it might not be the most sanitary option.

Tissue Dispenser

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

For those prone to allergies, the hassle of carrying around tissue boxes during allergy season may be a thing of the past. A resourceful Japanese inventor has come up with a solution – wearable toilet paper for your head!

This invention is essentially toilet paper fashioned into a hat. While it eliminates the need to carry tissue boxes, be prepared for curious looks as you walk by.

However, opting for a compact pack of tissues might be a more socially accepted choice.

Helmet Holder for Metro Nappers

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

For those who tend to doze off during their commute on the metro or train, there’s a solution – the nap helmet. Simply attach it to the window, put on the helmet, and you’re ready for a peaceful train nap.

The integrated message board displays the station name, allowing fellow commuters to ensure you wake up at the right stop.

Umbrella Headband

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Dealing with heavy shopping in pouring rain can be a challenge.

You’re faced with the dilemma of evenly distributing your heavy bags between both hands and getting soaked, or holding an umbrella in one hand while struggling with all the shopping bags in the other.

You might stay somewhat dry, but the constant arm-swapping between the umbrella and shopping bags becomes an inconvenience.

Not anymore, though! Enter the incredible and ultra-cool umbrella headband/hat, solving this problem in style.

Tie With Pockets for Extra Storage

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Staying ready is important, and for those who like to be prepared, there’s a special tie design just for them. This tie has lots of pockets, making it easy to grab whatever you might need in a hurry.

It’s not a bad idea, but having all that weight around your neck might not be everyone’s favorite.

For folks who love being super prepared, there are other choices like bags or jackets with plenty of pockets that might be more comfortable.

Mask for Proper Lipstick

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

This product stands out as one of the more unusual items on the list, and that’s saying something considering the overall eccentricity.

It stretches the concept of applying lipstick to uncharted territories that may baffle our imagination.

Unlike effective makeup stencils, this one seems less promising unless your lips align perfectly with the cutout.

However, using it might give off a Hannibal Lecter vibe. Adding to the challenge, it’s made of fabric, making stain removal quite troublesome even after just one use.

Finger Brush

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Mornings can be a rush, with tasks ranging from showering and getting dressed to making coffee and planning for upcoming meetings.

In the midst of this flurry, it’s common for people to overlook brushing their teeth, and that’s where this item comes into play.

With many individuals constantly on the move, various companies now provide compact and ultra-portable toothbrushes to meet this demand.

Dropper Glasses

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

While your baby plays the helpful mop-around-the-house role, you can add a bit of fun by wearing these glasses. They tackle the annoying problem of flinching that often makes eye droppers miss the mark.

These glasses make sure the drops go exactly where they should.

Sure, you could go the regular route and point the dropper straight at the corner of your eye, but where’s the excitement in that?

Chin Rest Gadget

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Standing for extended periods, especially in crowded trains or subways, can be quite tiresome.

The desire to find a comfortable place to rest your chin during such moments is a shared sentiment. Well, the Japanese have come up with a solution.

While it may appear unconventional, the chin rest is the dream invention for those yearning for a comfortable break.

Despite its potential to look a bit ridiculous, it serves the practical purpose of allowing you to maintain balance, particularly useful in the hustle and bustle of a busy train.

The Step Dryer

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

If you’re always rushing in the morning and want to skip the hassle of drying your hair, here’s a nifty invention for you.

As you walk, this contraption, like a shower cap, blows air to dry your hair on the go. Sure, people might give you some space, but hey, you’ll be early for work with dry hair.

If avoiding the cringy look is more your style, you could either wake up earlier or shower the night before.

Full Cover Umbrella

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

If you’re still using traditional umbrellas, consider checking out this innovative umbrella available in Japan. Say goodbye to getting wet even in heavy rain – venture out and return home completely dry.

The only downside is figuring out how someone can breathe while under it, given its complete coverage.

Butter Stick

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

The Butter Stick stands out as one of the most recognized chindogu, perhaps because it’s the one that people can actually envision using (almost).

In situations where you lack a knife or time to butter toast, the Butter Stick comes to the rescue. It sparks curiosity about the potential for other condiments to adopt a stick form.

Back Scratch Guide

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

Telling friends where to scratch can be a hassle. Left a bit. Up a tad. No, back down.

Wear the back scratch shirt, check the chart, and your friend will know exactly where to scratch for relief.

10-in-1 Tool Kit for Gardening

Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions

A colossal Swiss Army knife designed for avid followers of Alan Titchmarsh. It features a shovel, rake, pickaxe, trowel, and more.

Gardeners, who often lament about back issues, might find themselves in the emergency room with a slipped disc after handling this tool.

(Photo credit: Tofogu / Pinterest / Wikimedia Commons).