If you know anything about Japan, you probably know they love technology and unique consumer products, and their inventors work overtime to come up with some great inventions, but at times, also some peculiar ones. Watch as we countdown the most interesting products only available in Japan.
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7. Coffee flavored water
Have you ever craved a coffee, but not wanted the caffeine or the stains on your teeth? Japan has just the beverage for you, coming in at number seven. Beverage company Asahi has solved the problem for you, and has created coffee flavored water. The natural mineral water is flavored like an espresso with milk. It’s a sweet drink, but has no calories, no caffeine and no fat. Would you want to try it, or are you a coffee purist?
6. Brain-controlled cat ears
Are you one of those people who likes wearing animal ears and tails? If so, our number six product takes it to a whole new level. The company Neurowear has come out with a pair of ears that can read your brain wave activity so the ears can react accordingly. Appropriately called Necomimi (literally “cat ear”), the product will react with you. Showing a sudden increased level of attention and interest in something? The ears will perk up, just like a real cat’s. Feeling relaxed? The ears will move into a more relaxed, bent down position. Japanese culture uses a lot of nonverbal communication, so the ears were designed with communicating certain reactions in mind. The company hopes to eventually expand the technology to create mind-controlled wheelchairs and cars, but for now, you’ll have to settle for looking and reacting like a cat. Litter box not included.
5. Floating hotel pod
Lately, it seems like more and more travelers are looking for a unique experience, with hotels around the world located in treehouses, underwater and other unique locals. At number five, in Nagasaki, you can stay at a theme park built as a replica of a European town. There is a canal built to look like Amsterdam, along with museums, shops and restaurants built to resemble parts of Europe. As if that wasn’t strange enough, the company that created it has introduced floating hotel pods. These futuristic pods can accommodate up to four people, have two floors, and are designed to float to an island the company owns. An overnight stay in this floating hotel room will cost you $300, and reaction to it has been mixed- previous clients say the views are spectacular; others worry about floating at sea encased in something so small. Would you want to stay there, or would you worry about drifting off into obscurity?
4 Paper to toilet paper recycler
This next item is a great idea for those who are environmentally conscious and who use a lot of paper! The White Goat was introduced at an Asian conference for eco-products, and was designed to recycle used office paper into toilet paper. The machine shreds the paper, makes a paste with added water, then dries that into sheets which are then rolled into toilet paper rolls. It’s a pretty large machine, so it would probably only be practical in commercial environments, so don’t get your recycle bin ready just yet. What a useful idea!
3. Toilet slippers
While we’re on the subject of toilet paper, here comes our number three item. A lot of you will probably be familiar with the Japanese custom of removing your shoes once you enter the home. The Japanese are very concerned with cleanliness, and don’t like to track their dirt into the house. This extends even further, to the bathroom. It is not unusual for Japanese homes to have separate slippers available just for use in the bathroom, the theory being if you’re barefoot or in socks or house slippers, you don’t want to get those dirty with bathroom germs and then track those through the house. Separate shoes for outside, inside and inside the bathroom only? Yep. It’s Japan. Why not?
2. Crazy dessert flavors.
If you have typical Western opinions about ice cream, now that I mention it, you are probably contentedly imagining something sweet, creamy and delicious. What you are probably NOT picturing, however, is shrimp or horsemeat. Those are just two crazy examples of ice cream flavors available in Japan. Japan is known for having fantastic food, but for the Western palate, their creativity in a beloved dessert might seem over the top. Squid ink, miso ramen, deep-fried oyster and jellyfish are all flavors I wish I were making up, but they are all flavors of ice cream one can find in Japan. For some reason, I don’t see these catching on at Baskin Robbins…