Today's bizarrely fascinating cultural nugget from Japan: Chindogu. Literally translated as "weird tool," Chindogu is the Japanese art of creating deliberately complex devices that solve simple everyday problems.
Here is one example:
The Dumbbell Phone
People cite "lack of time" as the number one reason they don't work out more. With the dumbbell phone, that's no longer an excuse. Great for bulking up at your otherwise worthless telemarketing job, this phone will have you shaped and sculpted in no time.
This phone also makes a great gift, especially to that parent, friend, or girlfriend who's been known to talk your ear off on the phone. It's subtle, but effective, especially for those with weak arms.
You'll see a photo here, along with a discussion of other ideas, such as using "solar power" to light your cigarette or a fan to cool off your hot noodles. The "grid-backed" shirt helps you tell your partner where to scratch your back. It's a trend:
There's the International Chindogu Society, the Ten Tenets of Chindogu (Number Three: "Inherent in every Chindogu is the spirit of anarchy"), and scores of websites devoted to tracking the newest, and most ridiculous, Chindogu inventions.