Chindogu Mania, part 2

I really loved the chindogu book my cousin Chickoy lent me to cheer me up when I was confined in the hospital last year, so I set about to getting my own chindogu book. Luckily the first book in the chindogu series, 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions, also by Kenji Kawakami, was readily available on BookMooch.

Kawakami is recognized as the founder of chindogu, everyday gadgets designed to solve life’s little problems. Well, almost.

Continue reading “Chindogu Mania, part 2”


A couple of years ago, I read my first Natsuo Kirino book, Out, for the Flips Flipping Pages Japanese book discussion. Natsuo Kirino is one of Japan’s top female crime/detective fiction novelists, winning both the Grand Prix for Crime Fiction, Japan’s top mystery award and the Edgar Award for Out. I enjoyed reading Out back then, and so I set out to hunt down Kirino’s other books.

Earlier this year, my cousin gave me a copy of Grotesque, another novel by Natsuo Kirino. I figured it was going to be another chilling read, so I’ve been saving it for Halloween this year.

Continue reading “Grotesque”

I heart Doraemon!


Last month, I decided to reread my Doraemon comics, both for some stress relief and in preparation for meeting the cute and cuddly robo-cat himself!

I first watched Doraemon on local tv (dubbed in Filipino), back in high school, because it was shown around the time I got home, before the local news. My brother was crazy about the cartoons so I couldn’t switch channels, but before long, I was hooked on Doraemon as well.

I read my cousin Chickoy’s copy of the comics (that he got in Bangkok) some years back, but I was eventually able to get some volumes through a BookMoocher friend in Japan, wired_lain.

Continue reading “I heart Doraemon!”

Chindogu Mania


When I was in the hospital, my cousin Chickoy lent me his chindogu book, 99 More Unuseless Japanese Inventions by Kenji Kawakami (book #139 for 2009) to keep my mind off blood tests and platelet counts. And it worked, too, as the book kept me plenty entertained for a whole afternoon.

I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese ingenuity — I love going to the Japanese one price stores (here we have Saizen and Japan Home Center) to blow my money on all sorts of things, from plastic boxes with multiple compartments, gashapon display cases, nylon book cases, clip-on reading lamps, wrapping paper, pet toys, shoe racks, felt crafting materials, beanie pillows, bamboo mats, and all sorts of stuff I don’t really need but are fun to buy and convenient to have around!

Anyway, chindogu is the term for Japanese inventions for everyday gadgets to provide solutions for common problems. Chindogu has a distinctive characteristic, however, as the solution it presents causes even more problems, i.e. embarassment, unwieldiness, etc. They are not totally useless, just problematic, hence the term “unuseless.”

It’s more entertaining to look at the photos than listen to me going on and on about them, so here are some “ingenious” inventions from the book:

Portable armrests! Now your arms can relax even when you’re outdoors.

Carry-all apron. Have all your cooking implements within easy reach!

The lip stencil — perfect lips every time!

and if that lip stencil isn’t working for you, try the lip stamp!

The hold-it helmet — for hands-free reading!

The solution to my fear of getting dengue fever again.

Now wasn’t that fun? My nurse was wondering why I was laughing so hard.

I have to return the book to Chickoy, so will definitely keep my eyes peeled for my own copy. There are other books in the series too, I’ll definitely want those as well.


My copy: trade paperback, borrowed from Chickoy

My rating: 5/5 stars for sheer entertainment value