What it is: Works like a bike lock, but for your umbrella
Average Price: $0*
This one actually seems quite useful. We’ve all had umbrellas stolen (or we lost them but thought someone took them) at one point or another. Japanese malls and stores have invented a locking system that works like a bike lock, but it is used for umbrellas. You lock up your umbrella when you walk into the store.
Then, when you leave, you take it with you. Bonus: you don’t have to carry around a wet umbrella while you’re in the store—something you and the store owners can both be grateful for. Another added bonus—the invention is free.
Considering it’s become a public service throughout Japan, this is the kind of upgrade we’d love to see in America. Especially in those perennially rainy sectors of the country (looking straight at you, Seattle).
What it is: A floor mop operated by a video game controller
Average Price: $87.53*
The Japanese company Kyosho makes this, and it advertises this remote-control mop as a way to “mop without mopping.” The remote-control mop is somewhat of a Roomba, but, instead of a vacuum, it is a small floor mop. The remote control in question is a video game console.
Basically, you can clean stuff without getting off the couch. Kyosho cautions against using the remote control mop for large cleaning projects, admitting that it is really only good for cleaning “small areas, spills, or small messes.” The remote-control mop is available on Amazon for $87.53 (although its rating is 2.5/5 stars).
While lacking the tech-elegance of the iRobot cousin, this floor mop’s oddly childish look is part of its appeal. It’s also somewhat less likely to frighten floor-bound pets in your home while it makes the rounds scooping up messes – which is a big plus in our book.
What it is: Hides your face so you can eat a burger
Average Price: $0 with a purchase of a Classic Burger (which is $8.48)*
Freshness Burger’s Classic Burger used to be popular only with men. The Japanese food chain, which serves mostly American food, couldn’t figure out why only women wanted to order a burger. Then, it hit them. In Japan, “Ochobo,” or having a small mouth/covering one’s mouth while in public, is very important.
Freshness Burger created the Liberation Napkin, which hides your face while you eat the burger. That way, women can still honour Ochobo while getting to enjoy a delicious burger. Though it seems a little far-fetched, the Liberation Napkin has worked. Sales of Freshness’ Classic Burger have gone up 213% to women.
The invention is a clever way to also shield your friends from the sometimes-icky experience of watching you try to eat something that seems to actively fall apart once it hits your face. Think of it as an upgraded napkin!