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Eco Toys

They teach kids to recycle, generate energy and act responsibly towards the environment. They’re ecological toys.


  With these toys, they’ll learn the importance of recycling, using renewable sources of energy and reutilizing natural resources. Make a note of the most ecological toys on the market:

Bio Farm. A farm to grow and care for plants at home
Kids will learn first-hand about the world of plants, thanks to this ecological seedbed. They can plant seeds, take care of them and wait for them to bare fruit.

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 on 12 Dec 2008 by Marta Reig in Unusual gifts Comments Send this to a friend

"Takemoto Piano" Advertisement

Infants less than a year old stop crying when they watch the advertisement for "Takemoto Piano"

Puppet of the singer and dancer in the ad. They play music from the Takemoto Piano ad
Puppet of the singer and dancer in the ad. They play music from the Takemoto Piano ad
  Many Japanese people, especial people from the Kansai region (Japan’s west), have seen this ad. It’s from a Japanese company called Osaka that buys second-hand pianos and exports them to over 36 countries around the world.

It’s a very peculiar ad: a singer repeats the company’s name over and over again, Takemoto Piano, while dancers wearing silvery outfits put on a strange performance with a rather surrealist feel to it.

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 on 11 Dec 2008 by Ayumi Nakai in Japanese videos Comments Send this to a friend

Learn to Eat with Chopsticks

Hiyokomame is a kit that will help you learn to master the use of chopsticks. All you have to do is catch baby chicks.

Everything you need to learn to eat with chopsticks
Everything you need to learn to eat with chopsticks
  Are you still incapable of eating with a pair of chopsticks even though you’ve been told how to use them over a thousand times? Holding and using chopsticks to skillfully put food in your mouth is no easy task, not if you want to do it correctly and hold them the right way.

A good way to learn is to observe how the experts do it and imitate their movements.

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 on 10 Dec 2008 by Marta Reig in Unusual gifts Comments Send this to a friend

Pop Art Toaster

Creative breakfast toasts

Toast away Christmas with your kids
Toast away Christmas with your kids
  Some weeks ago, we mentioned Toast-it, a toaster that prints messages on toasted bread. The toast-it is a great invention and we love the idea, although it’s still only a prototype, so it’ll be a while before we can leave our family toasted messages in the morning.

Or, maybe not...While surfing the web, we found a site that is dedicated exclusively to selling toasters that will print messages, drawings, and illustrations on bread.

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 on 09 Dec 2008 by Marta Reig in Unusual gifts Comments Send this to a friend

Dysfunctional Objects

Italian design studio Joe Velluto has created Adesign, an “anti-design” manifesto that propounds the creation of dysfunctional and useless objects.

Just try and sit on this chair
Just try and sit on this chair
  Reading the phrase “dysfunctional objects” invariably calls to mind Chindogus, those Japanese inventions that pretend to be practical but actually have totally contradictory results: they’re useless, impractical and a lot of fun. However, the only thing the products created by this design studio have in common with Chindogus is their absurd appearance.

The Italian products are less fun and were not created to make people laugh, rather they are meant to embody an anti-design manifesto called Adesign, whose slogan could well be, “if design follows function, Adesign follows dysfunction”.

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 on 05 Dec 2008 by Marta Reig in Art, design and architecture Comments Send this to a friend

Picnica

It's a cute and cuddly rabbit-shaped stuffed animal, but when you open the zipper down its back... it turns into a bag! Carry it around all the time and you’ll be sure to feel happy and loved.

Picnica in black, brown, grey
Picnica in black, brown, grey
  It’s a shiny, cuddly rabbit made of durable nylon and, above all, it’s very cute. It’s compact and measures only 25cm. Because it’s made out of nylon, its long ears and legs have a definite shaped as do the face and cheeks.

However, this is more than just a cute toy. If you open the zipper on its back, you’ll find a bag inside!

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 on 04 Dec 2008 by Ayumi Nakai in Japanese Culture Comments Send this to a friend

Gizmine’s Tomy Xaio

This camera was designed in Japan and combines all the charm of instant cameras with the technology of digital photography.

The king of cool
The king of cool
  It’s been described as the 21st Century’s Polaroid, but Tomy Xaio is actually a more complete camera than the classic instant camera.

To begin with, it uses a much more sophisticated system to make prints: it has a tiny built-in printer that doesn’t use ink but instead uses a special paper made up of crystals that are inlaid with cyan, yellow and magenta pigments that are activated when you print a picture.

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 on 04 Dec 2008 by Marta Reig in Unusual gifts Comments Send this to a friend

Urawaza, DIY Tips

A Japanese program teaches tricks that make day-to-day life easier

Characters from the Nintendo-DS game
Characters from the Nintendo-DS game
  “Urawaza” means “trick” in Japanese. In the Japanese program “Itou-ke no urawaza” (Itou Family Tricks), the Itou family teaches a series of simple do-it-yourself tips that make day-to-day life easier.

The program has been such a hit that they’ve even created a game version for the Nintendo-DS. The game features the Itou family and is set in their neighborhood. The goal is to discover the 499 tips included in the game by communicating with the neighborhood’s 51 characters.

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 on 04 Dec 2008 by Ayumi Nakai in Japanese videos Comments Send this to a friend

Tenugui, Winter-Spring 2009 collection

A Tenugui is a traditional multi-functional Japanese towel. It's use and design have been reinvented with innovative patterns. It's the perfect thank-you gift.

Tenu-col vol.2 2009 Winter-Spring
Tenu-col vol.2 2009 Winter-Spring
  What is a Tenugui?

A Tenugui is a traditional multi-functional Japanese towel. It’s made of very absorbent cotton and it’s a little bigger than a scarf, yet not quite as bulky as a normal towel. It’s the perfect size.

The Japanese have always used the Tenugui. Aside from using it to dry their hands or wipe off sweat, in the old days, they would cover their heads with it to protect themselves from the sun and wind, use it as a washcloth while taking a bath, or as a mat, or to cover Tupperware Obento.

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 on 03 Dec 2008 by Ayumi Nakai in Japanese Culture Comments Send this to a friend

What would an orchestra sound like inside a giant bag of helium?

A 24-hour television fund-raising program presents this interesting experiment


  The Japanese love to take part in extravagant experiments that are really over-the-top. On this particular occasion the experiment involved a giant plastic bag full of helium. We all know that when you inhale this gas your voice comes out with a very high pitch. But, what would happen if an orchestra played inside this bag? What would it sound like?

This experiment was done on a TV program called “24 jikan terevi” (24-Hour Television), which is broadcast once a year for 24 uninterrupted hours dedicated to fund-raising for charity.

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 on 02 Dec 2008 by Ayumi Nakai in Japanese videos Comments Send this to a friend
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