We all have our hobbies. Some of us collect stamps. Others build model railroads. Justin Trudeau spends his time undoing the top three buttons of his dress shirt. As for me, I choose to scour the web in search of the newest Japanese products.
It’s a fulfilling pastime. Just as the U.S. is unequalled in its production of people you can’t believe exist (Miley Cyrus, Rand Paul, anyone who takes life advice from Gwyneth Paltrow), Japan is tops in churning out things you can’t believe exist—the products you never knew you wanted, and still don’t, because they’re stupid.
So what’s the latest? Well, I can report that high among the hot new items in Japan is a cutting-edge fitness tracker—for dogs. It’s marketed under the name Wandant, which its manufacturer claims is a combination of two Japanese words—presumably “half-witted” and “consumer.”
The device couldn’t be easier to operate. Simply attach the Wandant to your dog’s collar and sync it with your mobile phone. To complete the process, gaze at yourself in the mirror and wonder what has become of your life. For the record, “extra-obsessive dog owners can manually enter information such as stool condition and add photos.” I assume they mean photos of the dog, not the stool—but then again, why assume that? These people created a fitness tracker FOR DOGS. They’re capable of anything.
Besides, the Japanese do have something of a preoccupation with bodily functions. Consider the toilet—specifically, the new Neorest 700H from Toto. Most North Americans are content with basic toilet amenities like “a handle” and “the ability to make it all go away.” Not so the Japanese. The 700H comes equipped with a heated seat, a nightlight, a remote control for some reason, a pulsating water spray and a warm-air dryer. Apparently, the ottoman and eight-track tape player are sold separately.
It’s not just about comfort. Toto claims that by “pre-misting” the toilet bowl with electrolyzed water, the Neorest “aids in the elimination of waste approximately 80 per cent better than a dry bowl.” This seems as good a time as any to update the list of the world’s worst jobs:
1. Child soldier.
2. Toto employee forced to calculate the percentage of additional poop eliminated by pre-misting.
3. Tom Cruise’s next wife.
Other bum-based products abound in Japan. The country’s businessmen reportedly swear by a new line of underwear designed to, and I quote, “solve your smelly-fart problem.” The technology behind Deoest underpants was developed by Prof. Hiroki Ohge of Hiroshima University, who “analyzed the smells of people’s flatulence and . . . ” actually, why don’t we just end the quote right there. We can imagine the rest. Bottom line: The company claims its underwear “filters out 95 per cent” of the smell of human flatulence. To which I say: What math machine did they use to determine, “Yep, that’s the unmistakable aroma of exactly one-20th of a fart?” SHOW YOUR WORK, PROF. HIROKI OHGE.
And then there’s the White Goat, which shreds office paper and transforms it into toilet paper. This is clever as a metaphor but not so much as a product, in that the machine costs $100,000 and is approximately the size of Peru. There’s video of this thing in action: it takes half an hour to turn a 40-page report into a roll of toilet paper that looks every bit as cottony-soft as a handful of cedar mulch.
Feeling tense (possibly because your employer just bought a White Goat)? Maybe the new Mondiale Head Spa iD3 is for you. After all, what could be more relaxing than taking a futuristic plastic device crammed with wires, heat pads and several scalp-squeezing, air-filled cushions and fitting it snugly over the place where you keep your brain?
One final breakthrough to report. A company is marketing a notebook with pages that are “specially designed . . . to be easily ripped apart.” You know, unlike regular paper, which is impervious to human force and has the tensile strength of sapphire. To be fair, the company claims its paper has been manufactured to shred for “maximum satisfaction.” We can only assume this means it comes printed with the lyrics to John Mayer songs.
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk