Monday, July 6, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Bizarre Japanese Souvenirs You Just Have to Bring Home

Japan has quite the reputation for sushi, sake, and oddball game shows that seem to torture the contestants. When you visit, you can thankfully take a slice of the silliness home with you in the form of some truly bizarre souvenirs. Japan, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Here are some of our favorites.

1    3-D latte art maker

No need to travel the world to a Japanese café to get that cutesy foamy art on top of your next latte. Make it at home and impress the heck out of all your guests. This gadget dispenses the thick foam for your next temporary masterpiece.
D Latte Art Maker - 3
2    Air-conditioned work shirt

Business in the front, party in the back. Two fans built into this button down shirt help keep you cool at the office. We all know someone who could do with this shirt. Actually, it’s not a half-bad idea!
Air Conditioned Work Shirt
3    The screaming vase

Finally, a place where you can vent your frustrations the Japanese way. Just scream them into the screaming vase! No need to hold it in any more. The perfect anger management tool for those times when the world is driving you crazy.
The Screaming Vase
4    Handy head rest

Shaped like a hand, which isn’t creepy or anything, it allows you to rest your chin as you work at your desk. A whimsical solution that frees both hands for typing. Or use it to support your head as you take a nap. Nah, the boss won’t notice a thing.
Handy Head Rest
5    Bathroom sound blocker

In Japan, they actually make a button that affixes to your bathroom wall. Push it and it makes sounds to disguise the, err, rather unpleasant sounds you might be making while you’re alone in the bathroom. Of course, carrying the button around attached to your phone or purse sort of announces your need for such a device.
Bathroom Sound Blocker
6    Cat translator

There’s a device that will translate your cat’s meows to tell you what it’s trying to tell you. So now you can know once and for all if your cat really loves you or is just plotting your death. Also, as an added bonus, it can recognize facial expressions too. Although, to be realistic, there are only two things your cat has to say: “Feed me” or “Leave me alone.”
Cat Translator
7    Rice cake maker

In Asia, particularly Japan, rice cakes are a big deal. No, not those crispy Styrofoam-like disks that we have over here. Rice cakes in Asia are soft and glutinous and quite good. With this rice cake maker, you can turn your regular rice into rice cake creations, even making adorable animal faces the kids will love!
Rice Cake Maker
8    HD camera glasses

These borderline on weird and amazing. These ordinary-looking glasses are capable of taking HD camera photos and video. A little creepy when you think about it though, considering anyone wearing them can discretely take photos of whatever they’re looking at. Charge them via USB and store the video or photos on a micro SD card discreetly in the arm of the glasses.
HD Camera Glasses
9    Terada Mokei tiny paper art

These are more cool than bizarre. Traditional Japanese paper art combined with miniaturization basically means you can get tiny paper recreations of things like Tsukiji Fish Market with details like fish and delivery vehicles. They have kits that allow you to make your own too.
Terada Mokei Tiny Paper Art
10    Animal facial masks

Asian skin care is totally next level. However, Japan takes that amazing skin care and takes it to that weird level. These facial masks look like tigers or pandas. They also have varieties with bee or snake venom as well as snail essence. Hey, maybe they look ridiculous but your skin will look incredible!
Animal Facial Masks
11    Super lucky cat

Better known as maneki neko, you’ll see these things everywhere. These cat statues are considered a lucky charm, especially for businesses. The right paw is raised to attract wealth, the left to attract customers. The various colors have different meanings, too, with the calico or tri-colored cat being the luckiest of all. Now you don’t have to envy the one at your favorite sushi place. Get one of your own!
Super Lucky Cat
12    Daruma dolls

Here’s another good luck item. These sphere-shaped dolls are supposed to be modeled on the founder of Zen Buddhism and are for good luck and prosperity. They are weighted at the bottom so they will always return to upright. What makes them odd is that they are sold without eyes drawn on. The owner makes a wish and draws the first eye, and when the wish is fulfilled, draws the second eye.
Daruma Dolls
13    Japanese food replicas

In Tokyo’s Kappabashi neighborhood, you’ll find every kind of kitchen gadget and restaurant supply item you can think of. They even have entire stores specializing in amazingly accurate fake food, including ramen, spaghetti, curry, and more. Called sampuru, these realistic-looking plastic replicas of food are handmade and sculpted with precision to look exactly like the real thing. Play jokes on friends when you invite them for dinner. These look so real you will definitely fool everyone!
Japanese Food Replicas
14    Masks, the non-facial type

Japanese wear surgical style masks for all kinds of reasons – to prevent the spread of illness, fight hayfever, avoid social contact on crowded subways, and, more recently, as a fashion statement. You’ll find your favorite anime characters in wearable form along with ninja-style masks, animal faces, and novelty prints. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who wants to be Pikachu!
Masks, The Non Facial Type
15    Crazy Kit Kat flavors

Here’s one that you’ll want to hoard all for yourself. Kit Kat is the number one candy in Japan and makes the most divine flavors for Japan. If you’re lucky, you’ve had a chance to sample some from your neighborhood oriental market. If not, stock up on these babies now because green tea flavored Kit Kats are very hard to find in the US. From cantaloupe to miso soup, lemon cheesecake to soy sauce, Japan has some crazy limited edition flavors to bring home with you.
Crazy Kit Kat Flavors
16    Doggy kimono

It’s great to get a kimono to take home from your adventures in Japan. But don’t forget to get a matching one for your best friend, too! Japanese pet ownership has been booming, especially among those who decide to skip children. They’re not as crazy about their furry children as Americans yet, but they’ve still got Fido covered.
Doggy Kimono

We don’t know about you, but we’re kind of loving these crazy Japanese souvenirs. They really seem to grab the essence of Japanese quirkiness and ingenuity. Maybe it’s time to take another trip to the Land of the Rising Sun!

Want to see more? Check out the weird things sold in Japanese vending machines!

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