20 Unique Inventions From Japan

During the last couple of decades, technology has never ceased to impress us with constant discoveries and innovation. Indeed, though some artifacts may be considered pointless, many stunning inventions do make our life a lot easier and more comfortable. Moreover, Japan has always been known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to technological progress and amazingly efficient creations. Discover some of the most mindblowing ones of all, and don’t miss #10 and #4 for the most unbelievable inventions!

#20. Butter Grater

Don’t know about you, but I can’t even count the times that the following thing has happened to me: my alarm goes off, I wake up, change my clothes, and proceed to the most important part of my mornings. Yes, I’m talking about breakfast. A nice, warm cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice will get my energy up to study or work.

Photo: Courtesy of Travel Ask

But I also need something to eat to complement my drinks and my most likely choice is a fresh pair of toasts with butter or jam (or why not both!). And here is where I get grumpy: the toast is ready and I start to spread the butter, but my effort quickly fails, because I accidentally break the bread with the knife. Or because the butter is too solid. Well, I wouldn’t have this problem in Japan, because I’d definitely have one of these butter graters ready for action!

#19. Umbrella Ties

Ok, you’re going to discover a high amount of unbelievable objects on this eccentric list, and this will likely be one of your favorites: the umbrella tie. Many people hate getting wet to the point that they’re almost obsessed with avoiding a couple of subtle drops from the sky.

Photo: Courtesy of Daily Geek Show

But some of those individuals actually don’t tend to protect themselves with an umbrella, which is the easiest pick. This is mainly due to the fact that they don’t like to carry it in their hands. Hence, the umbrella tie! Just think about it: you’re coming back from the office where your pals praised your elegant look when a storm suddenly appears. There’s no need to worry, you take your tie out and from one second to the other, and voila! It becomes your umbrella!

#18. Hand Choppers

We may be used to it, but it’s quite incredible that we still have to be exposed to certain recurrent dangers while cleaning or cooking. And this is especially surprising if you take into account the outstanding speed at which technology develops and the unreal amount of new gadgets and tools that appear every day.

Photo: Courtesy of Taringa

The last fact is undeniable, and in fact, we see tons of commercials offering strange products which makes us laugh at first, but which would probably have a convenient use. One of these (at least in Japan) is the hand chopper. If you can get one of these, say goodbye to the threat of getting hurt with a knife while cutting those onions!

#17. Solar Lighters

Hollywood, rock and roll and many public figures have all played a part in the “smoking looks cool” trend that seems to persist through the decades. Indeed, the image of Keith Richards lighting his cigarette while playing with The Rolling Stones to a frenzied crowd of thousands may emanate swagger.

Photo: Courtesy of ZDNet

But it’s a well-known fact that smoking can also become addictive and harm your health. However, people often overlook that cigarettes can also damage the environment. So, a solar lighter may not look as cool as a normal lighter, but at least it converts the bad habit into an eco-friendly one!

#16. Eye Drop Funnels

Has the thought that there are some problems which seem to be universal ever come across your head? Well, if it hasn’t, try to think of some random, silly difficulties that seem to affect everyone, or most of the people you know, at least. Does anything come to mind? Here’s a suggestion: administering eye drops.

Photo: Courtesy of PIx Mafia

The ones who find this an extremely uncomfortable and irritating procedure usually need someone else to give them a hand. Others (like me) just can’t aim with precision, and I can assure that it can be very annoying to need 5 tries to get it right. Luckily, the eye drop funnel exists for our kind. Hurray!

#15. Easy-Open Cans

When it’s a warm, melting-hot summer afternoon and you get into a drugstore to buy a soda, which one do you choose: a bottle or a can? Ok, no one tends to stick to an only option every single time, I know. But many people do have a preference. The cans are usually considered more aesthetic, but they have one important disadvantage.

Photo: Courtesy of Levik

Indeed, a soda may look nice, but the can ring pull can sometimes be really hard to open. This may look like the silliest problem of all the silly problems in the world, but believe me, if your fingernails have been recently cut and are thus too short, it may definitely be a problem! That’s why the Japanese add a small ridge at the end of the ring pull, how convenient! The solution was so simple!

#14. Chin Rests

Any student who remembers how it feels to finally return from that exhausting test that kept you doing nothing but studying and buying coffee all week will definitely acknowledge the fact that this invention was a stroke of genius. In fact, you don’t even have to be a student to imagine yourself in the described situation.

Photo: Courtesy of PIx Mafia

Maybe you’re returning from a long day of work at the office or wherever. It’s finally Friday, and you swiftly dash to the subway station taking long steps, eager to fall into your bed. All the seats are occupied, and next thing you know, you’re falling asleep while standing up. If that’s the case, a chin rest would be a real game changer so you don’t lose your balance anymore.

#13. Rotating Train Seats

If you’re like me, then this has occurred to you at least once while using any train or bus: You get in with a friend, you choose a seat that’s facing the back of the bus, and you obviously expect your friend to sit next to you. But instead, he seems to ignore you and picks a seat somewhere else.

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/joerghemker

The situation is certainly puzzling, but after a couple of seconds you get it: your friend hates traveling facing backward. In fact, at least half of the people who take a train or a bus prefer the other option. That’s why Japanese trains give you the freedom of rotating the seat and choosing to face whichever way you like. Brilliant!

#12. Ponytail-Friendly Helmets

Maybe a couple of successful action or romantic movies have played a part in this, but it’s undeniable that everybody has fantasized at least once with riding a motorcycle. If you picture yourself speeding through a boulevard at 2 AM while there’s only a handful of cars around, you can instantly feel a tiny wave of freedom.

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/piece_of_design

Indeed, a motorcycle may look super cool, and it also allows you to feel the wind blasting against your body. But there are some important inconveniences that come with this vehicle too: first, it can be dangerous if you’re not a skilled driver, and second, the helmet will make your hair look awful afterward. This can be especially true if you have a ponytail like the girl from the picture, hence these awesome ponytail-friendly helmets!

#11. Baby Seats In Public Restrooms

The urgent need for using a bathroom when busily running some errands in the city can sometimes be very tricky. If you don’t feel like spending unnecessary money on a muffin to use the closest Starbuck’s restroom, chances are you’re going to have to wait till you get home. Either that, or use a public bathroom.

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/joerghemker

If this is the case, your experience will depend on the city you live in. Using a deteriorated, smelly toilet which looks like it hasn’t been cleaned for three days can be quite disgusting. Moreover, this can be even more uncomfortable for a mother or father who’s carrying a baby. But there’s no need to worry about this if you travel to Japan because public restrooms have wall-mounted seats where you can place your kid.

#10. Silent Karaoke Microphones

The image below might be confusing: a woman seems to be wearing a bizarre looking pair of headphones. Even the bright, semi-phosphorescent yellow color is quite odd, and she doesn’t seem to be enjoying the product too much either. But don’t let this invention’s appearance deceive you: it’s surprisingly useful.

Photo: Courtesy of machi-ya

You don’t have to be Freddie Mercury to fell the urge of singing that tune that was on the radio and that’s been stuck on your head during the whole day. Well, sometimes we can get a bit carried away by our passionate performance, and it would be a bit awkward if our parents or neighbors could hear us. No problem with these silent karaoke microphones, however, so get ready for that Bohemian Rapsody cover!

#9. Overhead Tablet Stand

Everyone adores the moment before turning the light and all the devices off and going to sleep, especially when there’s time for a couple of chapters for the series that you’re currently binge-watching. But if you’re using Netflix or Youtube on your cellphone, the issue of not knowing where to pose your screen can be quite annoying.

Photo: Courtesy of Hermitage Akihabara

You don’t want the bright screen to be too close to your face since it can damage your sight, but it’s a bit uncomfortable to hold your device of choice up for more than a couple of minutes. This problem is easily solved in Japan with an overhead tablet stand. How pragmatic, right?

#8. Floor Cushions

Nowadays, it is extremely common for everyone to work or study with their laptops or tablets. I mean, even printed books are being threatened by the Kindle’s burst. Writing a demanding essay that takes several hours or sending some important e-mails to your boss and co-workers can be much more comfortable on a laptop than on a desktop computer.

Photo: Courtesy of App Bank Store

That’s undeniable since with a laptop you can choose the setting where you can concentrate the most and get the job done there. But however practical a laptop may be, it does have a couple of setbacks. And the most notable is the pain in your neck and shoulders after writing and typing for some hours. Luckily, these floor cushions are ideal to solve this complication, and you can also work while laying down on the floor!

#7. Fully Automated Stores.

Is there anything in this photograph that draws your attention? Look at it for a couple of seconds… there are some words in Japanese which probably announce the products, and two customers wearing a surgical mask which is usually used in this country to prevent any sickness.

Photo: Courtesy of Alexander Belenkiy via Macos

But you may be missing a crucial detail: there’s no one charging the products in a counter! Indeed, technological development has allowed self-served checkouts to exist and get popular. So it’s a common thing to find a fully automated store in Japan, where no interaction is needed in order to buy something. If you liked this one, don’t miss #4!

#6. Cistern Sinks

With the ongoing and controversial ecological crisis that haunts us, the need for incorporating small, easy eco-friendly measures into our daily routine is becoming more and more urgent. Yes, you don’t have to be a Greenpeace activist to help a little bit with recycling or turning the lights off early.

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/joerghemker
Besides, when the fact that the next generation’s future is at stake is taken into account, these actions are the least we can do. Saving water is one of the most essential issues in which we can all improve. But as always, Japanese are one step ahead, with super eco-friendly cistern sinks which let you use the water twice. These are the inventions that we need ASAP!

#5. House Surnames

This creation may not be as game-changing to humanity as the last one, but it’s definitely useful when you come to think about it. Isn’t it annoying when you search for a direction and there are three or four streets with the same name? Haven’t you received someone else’s mail by accident at least once?

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/tomomienno

Chances are the answer is yes, more than once. As a matter of fact, house numbers can get mixed up very easily, creating a lot of confusion. Homes in Japan have an original way of solving this problem, however: house surnames. Yes, while traveling through this amazing country, don’t get surprised if you discover the family’s surname on the front, instead of a number.

#4. Dinosaur Receptionists

So, we’ve already seen that Japan has a great number of automated stores, where no human staff is needed, and customers can buy their products without the need for interacting with anyone. This may seem a bit scary or exceptionally comfortable, and if you’re an introvert you’ll probably go for the latter.

Photo: Courtesy of imgur/ShadowBun

But technology and artificial intelligence can also be implemented in a fun way. If you don’t believe me, wait till a dinosaur receptionist serves you! Yes, this is a thing in some places in Japan right now. It may seem shocking, but a dinosaur is clearly more appealing than the archetypical white, gleaming robot, that’s for sure.

#3. Umbrella Lockers

If the eccentric umbrella ties didn’t convince you, don’t worry, there are other inventions which turn the traditional water-shielding tool into a more comfortable device. If truth be told, an umbrella tie isn’t a great option if you’re a couple of blocks away from the office and a storm appears out of nowhere.

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/monikakuelsheimer

Yes, you’d be able to protect yourself from the rain, but once the umbrella went into tie-mode again, it would be all wet! So, if the plan is sticking to the conventional model, umbrella lockers will definitely make your life easier. Why for, you may ask. First of all, there’s no need for bringing a wet umbrella inside, and second, it can’t get stolen!

#2. Customizable Floor Mats.

These beautiful and practical customizable floor mats would be amazing anywhere, that’s for sure. But it’s an even more fantastic invention for Japanese, due to their specific culture. How is that true, you may be asking yourself at this moment.

Photo: Courtesy of Nexus Design Center.

The answer is the following: Japanese are used to doing things at floor level, it’s a common and well-seen practice that’s totally inserted in their lifestyle and culture. This is the reason why the customizable floor mats, which can be folded into desks, tables, or anything else, is so ideal. Check the following slide for the last unique invention!

#1. Burger Napkins

I know, this artifact looks a bit silly. You may be thinking: “Sure, I’d use it with my best friends, or I’d probably upload an Instagram story with it for a good laugh, but it’s a no for me on a date”. However, you may want to think that twice before disregarding the burger napkins as uncool.

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/deejaydoublevee

We all know how eating a gigantic burger with melted cheddar and fresh onions can be very messy. Yes, the burger napkin may look odd, but ketchup and cheese on your face won’t make you look attractive, to be honest! They don’t seem so laughable now, huh? I bet you’re ordering a pair right now!

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