The season of giving fast approacheth, and when approacheth-ing gift giving, it seems to me a person has two choices: 1) Extract information from the gift givee about what he or she wants for the holidays, thus punching the holiday spirit in the throat, or 2) Give a gift so far out of left field that your status as a gift giver and creative kind soul can never be called into question again. For the latter, we turn to Japan.
It is said that Peatix was conceived in Japan when a strawberry KitKat bar had too much Yogurito and got together with a breast-enhancement cookie. The point being that we know our way around a random Japanese gift or two, and today are bestowing that precious knowledge on gift-troubled Americans, that they may look just a little awesomer at the old office party or gift exchange.
1. The Otamatone
So the Otamatone is the best. Shaped like an eighth note, the Otamatone is the most natural vehicle for musical expression there is. The Otamatone is a musical novelty instrument among the ranks of the didgeridoo and pocket trumpet, and will be treasured as such by whomever receives it. An example:
If you still need a gift idea after that, you might look into…
2. SUSHI ERASERS!!!
I was once brought sushi erasers from Japan, and I’ll never need to buy another eraser again…well, I’ll never need an eraser again, but I’m still can’t imagine living without them.
3. 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions
This book by itself is a perfectly satisfactory gift, and at the price of $0.01 on Amazon, I’d be surprised and even offended if someone in your gift giving circle didn’t receive it. However, if you can actually get your hands on the super eccentric, unsellable but actually extant inventions within the book which the Japanese call Chindogu, then you will be a god. Some examples of Chindogu:
The Control Alt Delete tool:
Or the disposable toothbrush condom:
Or sunglasses doubling as chopsticks:
Or the saddest Chindogu yet, the fake lap to sleep on:
4. Japanese Notebooks
Scientists are still working out exactly why, but Japanese notebooks are like way way better than western notebooks. Our notebooks are college-ruled or wide-ruled; their notebooks just rule. Every time I pick up my Japanese notebook I feel I’m writing a sacred and virtuous text that will be scrutinized and referenced through the ages.
5. A really, really nice melon
Behold: the Japanese muskmelon. It is the most expensive melon you will find, outside, perhaps, of Ryan Lochte’s prized diamond studded honeydew. The melon pictured here at $79, although doubtless a decent melon, pails. In comparison. To. A. $500 MELON. Which exists. To put that in perspective, if you were to line up 500 $1 bills, it would stretch for, like, a city block.
These designer melons are given as thank you gifts and get well presents. It is said if you drop a muskmelon you come back in the next life as cantaloupe filler in the bottom of an under-ripe fruit salad.
Muskmelons are hard to find in the US, but you can pick up the next best thing on Etsy.
6. Edamame keychain
A keychain gift? What sort of blogger are you? I’ll tell you kind sir or kind siress: the sort of blogger that humbly brings to your attention a keychain that allows for infinite popping of a soybean out of its pod. Don’t believe me? Buy it.
BONUS CULTURAL INSIGHT: If Jews have Chinese food to hold them over on Christmas, Japanese have KFC. That’s right, on Christmas KFC is BFD. So when Christmas dinner rolls around and the family has become insufferable, head to the local KFC, with the knowledge that an entire nation’s people are munching in solidarity with you.