Jingle Bells-jingles, Cinnamon-Caramel-Nutmeg-Clove-Vanilla-Cafe-Latte, Santa-costume tissue-distributors and over-the-top Art Illumination Installations across Tokyo: it must be Christmas!!! But – oh no!? Only a couple of days left and you still don’t know what to get for your sweetheart? Well – PingMag might help out here! Check our little list of Christmas-recommendations – maybe you are lucky and find just what you were looking for!
Written by Uleshka, Chiemi and Ryoko
RECOMMENDATIONS LISTED FROM LOWEST TO HIGHEST PRICE
traditional Japanese q-tip: a little bamboo stick with a fluff (or funny character) on one side and a tiny ‘spoon’ on the other side for ultimate cleaning experience
some rather high-tech version of the same thing – these are called Mimidasu and have a small metal spiral at the top instead of the classic ‘spoon’
I beg your pardon! Ear cleaners??? If you heard right, than your ears might already be clean, but according to some people there is a huge hype about cleaning ears “Japanese style” right now – honestly. Apparently there was “this TV program” (Japanorama?) saying: “Japanese peope clean their ears with tiny spoons!” – and now there are lots of foreign tourists hunting down ear cleaners in the streets of Tokyo. What is so special about it? Well – as opposed to cotton buds/q-tips that only really allow to spread your ear-mousse evenly, these bamboo-spoons actually scoop out the whole lot tickeling some funny points in your ear leaving a fresh-breeze-clean and after-massage-relax -feeling that is responsible for this orgasmic smile on your face.
But like with most traditional things, their is also a ‘modern’ variation. The Mimidasu acts like a high-tech version to the traditional bamboo stick: a metal spiral which is supposed to do the same scooping-trick (only better). This even won the Good Design Awards in 1999 (well, Japanese have been cleaning their ears for a while now…). Yes, this looks a bit scary, but we heard that you can clean really properly with it.
For those who booked their next holiday ticket to Japan just for that – don’t only empty the shelves inside Tokyu Hands and Donki-Hote! We recommend to go to a high tech ear cleaning salon called Mimi-Clean all across Tokyo. You can get a quick 10 minutes course for only 1050 yen! Enjoy listening to Christmas-songs at the nearest Karaoke after that!
Bamboo ear cleaners from ¥150 or $1
Mimidasu from ¥1344 or $12
2: Warm up with a Fireplace DVD
This is nothing particularily new, but simply the best trick to magically transform any cold and lonely screen into the most romantic backdrop ever: a Fireplace DVD! Not only can you get into the Christmas groove while still being stuck at the office (self-preparation so to speak), it also inflames your poetic synapses (for those who still vaguely remeber what a poem is – make this your chance to impress with romantic verses big time)!
Some of you might actually be lucky enough to light a real fireplace instead, but try that in a 6 mat tatami-room on the 13th floor in the middle of Tokyo…
Fireplace DVD about ¥1650 or $14
Upgrade your fireplace romance by reading a story!
Well – this is not really related to be honest, but we happened to find this terrific title on Amazon: THE STORY ABOUT PING! Besides – reading a story in front of a romantic open fire surly melts everyones heart – promise!
The Story of PING about ¥1650 or $14
3: Hot drinks for cold days
Thermos-tumbler in many different colors and sizes for example from Thermo Mug
Ever wondered how many pet-bottles or paper-cups you alone produced ever since you got into that habit of enjoying hot things on the go? Well, there are a bunch of lovely designed thermo-cups, mugs and tumblers out there at the moment to keep enjoying a hot coffee with a clear conscience. Have a look at some stores near you if you can spot some equally beautiful designs to keep your drinks hot while reducing waste! Definitely the most eco-friendly and useful present PLUS being stylish and affordable on top of it! I want one!!!
(Ps. Conscious PingMag readers probably know, that there are some customizable tumblers out there. At Design Tide’s Treasured Trash they demonstrated “How to design your own mug”. Best environmentally-conscious design idea introduced at Design Week this year!)
Thermo mag tumbler from ¥1300 or $11
Sigg bottles from ¥2400 or $20
4: Knitted Watch for perfect timing
True, this watch is on time only twice a day, but it is certainly a good timing for a fashionable accessory. Designed by Ninna Thorarinsdottir from Iceland (I guess they need something to keep their wrists warm…) this is a bracelet that looks like a watch = watchlet. Ninna belongs to fiska and they seem to be playing around with a couple of nice design ideas. It is a bit unclear how and where to get these things though, but if the worst comes to worst – you’ve got the pattern now! So go to the next wool-shop and start knitting…
we honestly don’t know…
5: Drop Speaker
insert your iPod here…
…and listen to your music coming out of a waterproof “drop” speaker-system
Made by a company called ‘Dreams’, this Drop Speaker acts as a waterproof speaker for anywhere you play it wet: bathroom, kitchen, rainy garage or out in the cold making a snow-man! Simply insert your mp3 player (that unfortunately has to be purchased extra) and a high quality amplifier lets you enjoy music while splashing around!
Drop Speaker about ¥5000 or $42
Put any size laptop on this padded sheet of cloth…
…and wrap to a perfect computer bag!
We already wrote about Furoshiki – the Japanese wrapping cloth – before. This time we introduce a specially padded Furoshiki that acts as a carry case for your laptop. The nice thing about this wrapping cloth is, that it adjusts to the size of the laptop, so you needen’t worry about the model you use. Designed by Japanese couple Keita and Naoyo Seto from 9brand, this sheet is padded with urethane, so your beloved computer will stay well protected wherever you go.
Furoshiki laptop-wrap about ¥6820 or $58
7: Mini Silk Screen Printer
RISO mini silk screen printer set: the printing machine, 2 silk screens, a flashlight with 6 disposable bulbs, 3 different ink tubes
make a design, insert a blank screen, close the printer and lock the flash light in place
push down on the printer to flash and expose the silk screen
take out the screen and smudge some color on the RIGHT side
insert screen with ink on the inner side, put some blank paper on the printing surface, push down once, open and…
here you go: your first printed design!!! (Thanks to Crap Hound Zine for heart motifs!) Now repeat and print as many as you like
What is the bummer about Christmas in Japan? New Year follows right after that and coming up with an impressive New Year card is a must. Now being a designer you certainly can’t buy one off the shelf, right?! Don’t lose your credibility here! Besides – making things is the best thing in the world! So make sure you get this printer for anybody who you dare to ask: “Now that you unwrapped it, could I borrow it for a bit…?”
Certainly – this RISO Printer set is the best thing for anyone who is only vagely creative. Start printing your own magazine, flyers, t-shirts or neighbour complaints today!
RISO mini silk screen printer set about ¥6825 or $58
8: USB memory sticks
Please tear off my legs! I love to invade USB slots!
Thumbs up for this one!
Since USB sticks are always so popular, we introduce the latest USB fashion from Japan as an extension to the other USB gadgets we introduced on PingMag before.
The USB Robot is from the toy comapny called Cube and called “Korejyanai-Robo” (one of these word-plays which are pretty impossible to translate into English… It means someting like “This is not the Robot I wanted!” Then the you tear off the legs and look at the hidden messages transferred straight from the Robo’s brain through his USB backbone into your computer… or something like that. And what might it say? “If you tear off my arm, too I will never talk to you again…!”)
The neat thumb on the right is called Yeah Drive and comes from Solid Alliance the same company who also made the famous Sushi-USB memory. All proper explaination for this gorgeous product simply fails. Apparently it is inspired by the English word called thumb-drive for USB memory and they tried to express it visually. Well – you got that I suppose! I just love the idea to have a thumb sticking out of your keyboard…
Korejyanai Robo USB from ¥7329 or $62
Yeah Drive Thumb USB from ¥7800 or $66
If you are afraid that this dead thumb might offend your friends – there is something slightly more suitable for the giant LOHAS movement in Japan = Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability – Wooden Memory Sticks!!! I bet Ryuichi Sakamoto has tons at home…
Wooden USB from ¥7000-10 000 or $60-85
The last one in our USB series is made by a Dutch memory maker called White Lake and got introduced at the CeBit in March. I wouldn’t neccesarily consider the CeBit audience to be BlingBling enough to get into a 14 carat gold and 5 diamonds USB drive that costs that much, but maybe I totally underestimate what the leading businessmen of the digital world hide in their pockets…
Golden USB about ¥400 000 or $3380
9: Humidifying Mini-Chimney
Imagine slow smoke coming from the chimneys on London’s roof tops on a cold winter day… and because we are desiners, we can also imagine those chimneys in many different colors!
Chimney in action at home… this is just sooo much nicer than any other chunky humidifier that just hurts your eyes!
When thinking of Christmas, you probably think of Santa Claus and his presents. The next logic step to that phenomena is the Chimney! But I can almost hear your kids crying: “Mama! Papa! There is no chimney in our apartment – how does Santa Clause get in to deliver the presents?” Well – for those cases it might be good to buy this little present here…
This room humidifier in cute mini-chimney-shape is designed by the Japanese design team iiii (pronounced i-i 4). One of their members is the stuning inventor Takeshi Ishiguro, who was featured on PingMag a little while ago. This page shows how the chimney works: a carefully designed element for your living room! We are not sure your kids believe that this is a “real” chimney, but we are sure that this product protects your family from dry air!
Chimney humidifier about ¥15000 or $127
10: Watching the stars at home
This special star projector can turn every normal room…
…into a sparkling home planetarium!
There might be some people who want to enjoy the sky with thousands and thousands of stars – but unfortunately live in Tokyo, where the city-lights are so bright that you can only ‘guess’ the stars, or you might live in London where the fog does the rest. For those romantic people we recommend the Home Star Pro designed by planetarium creator Takayuki Oohira which turns your ordinary apartment into a sparkling planetarium – no matter where you live.
Home Star Pro about ¥28 500 or $240
But if you are an unlucky guy who has a really bitchy girlfriend saying: “But these are not real! Give me the real stars! I want more!” – then PingMag has something for you!
buy a ticket to the moon for your girl-friend, shake hands one more time and…
The space journey from travel agengy JTB lets you experience the real stars for about 100 million dollars. It is pretty pricey, but if you have to look after a selfish girlfriend for the rest of your life, it might be a good deal after all…
Trip to space from JTB about ¥12 Billion or $100 Million
Was this selection useful for you? Hopefully! PingMag wishes you a lovely, warm, cosy and cuddly Christmas through a shiny POP-UP greeting card!