Bizarre Gifts

Bizarre Goods at the International Gift show – Tokyo(Pt 1)

(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0
)], via Wikimedia Commons”>Tokyo Big Sight saw - panoramio

The International Gift Show is a biennial affair held at Tokyo Big Sight – Japan at the beginning of the year and in the first week of September. It is organized by Business Guide Sha. There were businesses from all over the world displaying their goodies in 6 halls that were split into East and West wings of the Tokyo Big Sight building structure. The only downside is that the walk between East and West wings is quite taxing.

In this article I will take you through to what I thought were bizarre and cool items. This is my opinion, I might have missed some bizarre stuff at the show or what I think is bizarre might not seem so but let’s agree that bizarre is like beauty and beauty is to the eye of the beholder.

My journey in the show started with scouring a bit of jewelry and gemstones but nothing so catchy could stop my train. I zoomed past these stalls as if they were not there. The organizers did a good job clustering similar type of companies together for convenience. At the end of the gemstones section, I could see a clear transition into household goods. I made a right turn and right there to my left I saw something that took all the wheels off my train – Okabe Yoshokki`s collection!

Okabe Yoshokki stall

Okabbe Yoshokki

Okabe Yoshokki is a company from Niigata that specializes in unique kitchen utensils and tableware. The first thing that caught my eye was a flexible silicon spoon that one of the staff in the exhibition booth was bending around this way and that as if to attract my attention and that’s what it actually did!

Company Name: Okabe Yoshokki Co. Ltd

Address: 3633-2 Koike, Tsubame-shi, 959-1276, Niigata

Capital: ¥10M

Out of curiosity, I wanted to find out more about the interesting spoons. Luckily the CEO Mr. Okabe Takafumi was there too. I had the honor to talk with the CEO before the lady staff took care of me. The staff was more than happy to guide me through the product line explaining all the details behind the products and their use.

Flex Silicone Spoon

First I went for the Flex Silicon Spoon. I twisted it in all the ways I could fathom and it abode. It felt so good to be a master of your own spoon. Make it work for you. I could imagine countless of physically challenged people, the elderly and kids who have a hard time fitting spoons into their lives. This product as bizarre as it is, it can be a lifesaver to someone. It can fit in most arms that have difficulties grasping at spoons. It can also be bend to accommodate people with abnormal hand movements such as those with cerebral palsy.

Flex Silicone SpoonFlex Silicone Spoon

Soft Touch Silicone Spoon

Next I moved on to the Soft Touch Silicone Spoons and forks. These spoons were made of nylon but the feeding end is covered by soft silicone. They come in three sizes: small, regular and large, and there are three types of spoon sets and one fork set. If you are a family man or you know one or two things about kids, you would immediately see how safe these spoons are for kids.

So far, there are so many self-inflicted injuries by stainless or plastic spoons on kids when they throw tantrums. This spoon could have kept me sane when it mattered most. Something to add to the beauty of all this is that all soft silicone products could withstand 200°C, so they can be sterilized safely through boiling. However, due the soft silicone properties, microwave can’t be used.

Soft Silicone Spoons

The Kurukuru Vegetable Slicer

In addition to the soft types, Okabe has hard Silicone Cooking Spoons that work well with fluoridated frying pans, Titanium tongue scrappers and spoons, silicone sauce brushes and the famous KuruKuru vegetable cutter which works like a sharpener. The KuruKuru cutter is unique and I bet it must be one of the best-selling products given its popularity on the web at the moment.

To cut vegetables, one has to insert the vegetable in the sharpener like structure and once it fits in turn the cutter around on the vegetable as if sharpening a pencil. It is quite safe as the blade is tiny and inwards facing.

Kurukuru Vegetable Slicer

The SUD Titanium Spoon

Of particular interest is the specially designed and unique SUD Titanium line spoon. At the time of writing this article I guess SUD stands for Showa University Dental Department as this unique line was researched and developed by the Dental Hygiene class of the Dental department of Showa University. The spoon sides are flat and it is made of Light and metallic odorless titanium. The maker refers to this spoon as the dietary guidance spoon. Probably its development was for dietary purposes.

SUD Titanium Spoon

Tsubushiko Fork

The most bizarre rank in Okabe’s collection goes to the Tsubushiko Fork. Tsubushiko is a Japanese word meaning the crushing kid or the masher. This fork is designed like a fork lift to easily break up fruit, boiled vegetables and noodles into smaller pieces. The easy masher can break up food easily without slipping even on a small plate when preparing food for kids.

Tsubushiko

Though the Tsubushiko is made of steel, it is very easy to handle and the design makes it difficult for kids to stab themselves with. It can also be handy for the elderly who are struggling to feed themselves stuff like noodles.

Conclusion

Japan is known for its craftsmanship and it is the companies like Okabe Yoshokki that are proud of their handmade products that live up to such expectation. It is incredible given the quality of Okabe’s products he has only 8 full time employees and he has been in business since 1954. Such longevity in competitive Japan speaks volumes on this company’s quality.

Please join the discussion by answering the following questions, or write your experience with Okabe’s products or any other similar goods.

  1. What products from Okabe Yoshokki would you like to try to feel for yourself? Why?
  2. Do you think the world should pay extra attention to keep Okabe Yoshokki like companies in business?

Steampunk World – the Bizarre Artifacts.

Steampunk World – the Bizarre Artifacts.

Steampunk is a subculture and a sub genre that came about out of the scientific fantasies of inventing futuristic machines that could fulfill our dreams or fantasy. The ideas were simplistic in today’s terms in that most machinery in Steampunk world relied on steam to do their magic.

Steam pumps then were characterized of gigantic brass containers or pumps with myriads of piping network and glowing vacuum pumps. This inspired the development of steam pumps like goodies that looked like steam pumps such as brass binoculars, brass glasses, brass watches and so on. But the thing was not only about brass as a material, it was more about the aesthetic design.

The Origins of the Steampunk Mentality

Nikola Tesla, James Watt and Matthew Boulton   were some genius men in the Victorian era.

 

Victorian Era is the period in England when Queen Victoria was in reign. This was from 20th June 1837 until her death on 22nd January 1901. This was the era that England became a super power and many farms and villages became industrial cities or offices.

Queen Victoria -Golden Jubilee -3a cropped.JPG
By Alexander Bassano – Original uploader was Mrlopez2681 at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by PeterSymonds at en.wikipedia

The making of steam machines a reality by the scientists in Victorian era influenced a lot of people into believing that steam technology was the future. This in turn brought about fantasies, novels and movies on steam machines, steam fashion, steam goods, steam culture and so on.

Although the presence of Tesla, James Watt and Mathew Boulton in the Victorian era was inarguably important, it is the arts rather than the science that contributed a lot to Steam punk’s ideas and widespread. Especially the works of writers like Jules Gabriel Verne(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Verne ), H.G. Wells(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._G._Wells ), and Edward S. Ellis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_S._Ellis ) are credited for laying the foundation stone for the Steampunk sub culture and style.

Modern Steampunk

In the 1960s when the Steampunk as a vehicle for the future was almost dying away, the works of Keith Laumer (World of the Imperium – 1962) and Ronald W. Clarks (Queen Victoria’s Bomb – 1967) applied a modern twist to the past technology. This revived the fantasies of steam driven machines once again.

The Word Steampunk

Unfortunately the word Steampunk was never used all along until in the late 1980s.

At first the word was used as a tongue in the cheek variant for cyberpunk by the science fiction writer K.W. Jeter as he was trying to find a name for Victorian fantasy works by Tim Powers, James Blaylock and so on.

Steampunked structures around the globe.

There are countless of Steampunk designs around the globe, from gigantic master pieces to tiny objects like pens are all over. It is beyond this post to address each and every design out there but to give the readers an idea this post will look at few examples of Steampunk public spaces and a few master pieces.

Public Spaces examples

  1. Oamaru Steampunk City, New Zealand

Oamaru is a city 3 hours south of ChristChurch in the South Island. It was formerly famous for well blue penguins and well-preserved Victorian architecture in the country. That was until the “Agent Darling” came into the scenes in 2010. One Mr Lain Clark aka Agent Darling is credited for bringing about the Steampunk bug in Oamaru.

Steampunk HQ Oamaru

He and some enthusiasts started Steampunk movement that attracted a number of locals who started making Steampunk artifacts for display on their parades. Six years later, Oamaru became the world Steampunk headquarters after making it in the record books attracting the largest number of Steampunk enthusiasts.

2. Tokyo Disney Sea – The Mysterious Island

Tokyo Disney Sea has one attraction going by the name Mysterious Island that is Victorian era themed. This Island is actually based on Jules Verne’s novels – the Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The attraction is set within the confines of Mount Prometheus where the famous Nautilus submarine made its last stop.

Tokyo DisneySea Mysterious Island Dusk View 201306

3. Six Flags Magic Mountain – California.

Six Flags Magic Mountain is famously known for the most number of roller coasters in the world. In addition to roller coasters they have a number of train and boat rides. Some of their attractions feature steam engines and Steampunk themes.

Six Flags Magic Mountain overview.jpg
By Konrad Summers from Santa Clarita (Valencia) , California, USA – Six Flags Magic Mountain, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

 

4. Paris Metro Station

This station is probably one of its kind. It was designed as a Victorian Era submarine and I bet it depicted the famous Nautilus. The subway station interior is all copper with rivets and other submarine stuff like gears are seen in the roof. In addition, everything was selected or custom-made to match the interior.

Steampunk Station (18757101479)

5. Disneyland Paris – Discovery Land.

Discovery land is themed after the visions of great men such as Leonardo DA Vinci, HG Wells and Jules Verne. It’s more or less similar to the Disney Sea in Tokyo.

Master Pieces examples

  1. Steampunk Locomotive in front of the Steampunk headquarters in Oamaru, New Zealand.

After the Oamaru city established a hall in the city that became the Steampunk craze headquarters, they then place a Victorian Era locomotive as their symbol.

Steampunk Oamaru.jpg
By Reinhard Dietrich – Own work, CC0, Link

2. Gigantic Steampunk Turtle in Indonesia – by Gaf Ono

Ono Gaf an Indonesian artist found a great way to take care of metal junk. He picked up any metallic junk especially machinery related and put it together to form a gigantic turtle back in 2014. Since then, he has done may such projects small and big.

3. Tim Wetherell’s Clockwork Universe sculpture – Canberra, Australia.

The artist Tim Wetherell created a large wall clock in 2009 representing the concept of clockwork universe. The idea of clock universe was that the world is a great machine that moves like clockwork without the interposition of God.

Clockwork universe by Tim Wetherell

4. Paul St. George’s Telectroscope – London City Hall and Brooklyn NY.

This is an interactive video installation that links the city of London to New York. People can in front of the Teletroscope in London can literally see their counterparts in New York and interact.

Telectroscope observers in London.jpg
By Picture taken by the uploader. – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Steampunk Bizarre Fashion

Over the years, steampunk as a sub culture developed a fashion taste that was influenced by steam machinery designs. In the Victorian periods getting Steampunk goods wasn’t an issue but with modernization the Steampunk fashion was hard to find as many factories stopped producing such. The industry shrunk and was left in the hands of a few enthusiasts or artists.

Now the renewed interest in Steampunk culture has never come at a better time than the digital marketing age we are in. The few enthusiasts and producers can now reach their target markets easily selling their bizarre fashion goods online. What makes Steampunks good unique is their aesthetic artistry and robustness. They were built to last and to stand out. Let’s have a look at a few Victorian era items that can spice up your fashion.

Steampunk Watches

THINKGEEK TESLA WATCH

Tesla Watch by ThinkGeek

Please click here to see my review of this item.

This watch is very collectible. It’s a bit heavy since it is robustly built in brass. It has two faces, big and small as you can see on the picture. The smaller face is the seconds face. For more details please check out my review.

Carrie Hughes Vintage Steampunk open skeleton mechanical pocket watch

 

Yes, you read it right! It’s a mechanical watch.

For people in their mid 40s and above they know how nostalgic a mechanical watch is. These days most mechanical watches that need winding are quite high end so owning one that is affordable is really cool.

It’s a pocket watch that can be used a necklace or hang it someone where in your house, in your car, you name it.

 

 

Winner
Fashion Mechanical Wrist Watch Triangle Dial Golden Skeleton

 

This is a super cool steampunk theme mechanical watch at $30.

It has an elegant look and can go with any attire. Personally I like it with suits and dress shirts.

See my review (coming soon)

 

Steampunk Leather Wrist Watch

 

This is probably the best under $200 steam punk watch out there. It is handmade by Cuckoo Nest Art Studio in Florida.

Please check my review (coming soon).

 

Steampunk Bags

There are hundreds if not thousands of weird yet cool steampunk bags out there. To give you a bit of an idea what to look for when looking for steampunk bags, below are a few examples.

UonBox Women’s British Vintage PU Leather Patchwork

This bag is vintage and chic. Although it is PU leather, it looks so really and the details are outlandish. For $36 no one can guess you got it that cheap. You can even buy and resell at a good profit if you have such business wit.

Steampunk Cosplay Steam Punk Clothing Leather Utility Belt girls Messenger Bag pack

This bag is cool for people on the move or those who need to use their hands freely. It has that cow girlish feeling or Texan beauty queen feeling.

Gender 2 Archer Cool Fashion Tactical Waist Bags.

This waiter’s bag is super convenient. It has like 3 pouches with zippers and one phone pocket that comes with a zipper too. It is can take in a lot of stuff despite the size. Good for parents with kids, hikers, and those who needs their hands free.

 

For the brevity of this post, this concludes the steampunk talk. However, I hope you learn a few things about steampunk culture and whenever you are looking for that one bizarre gift you can always find something Steampunk or Victorian. And the good thing that most Steampunk goods are quite affordable. You can get anything for your budget.

 

PS: Please feel free to leave your own comment or answer the following questions if you have no comment. You can also write about the steampunk product you know.

1. What do you think of Steampunk?

2. Do you think Steampunk is a sub genre or subculture? why is that?

3. Would you consider wearing any of steampunk fashion goods or but any gifts? Why is that?

 

ThinkGeek TESLA WATCH REVIEW – Tech and Elegant way to keep time.

ThinkGeek TESLA WATCH REVIEW

Product Name: ThinkGeek TESLA Watch Review.

Target Market : From Teenagers to all adults.

Discounted Price: $49.99

Original Price: 69.99

The Cheapest place to buy (Only if the discount last) : ThinkGeek

The second Cheapest is: Amazon

Dimensions: Watch face 1″ diameter, total face 1.6″ diameter, 2.7″ tall including vacuum tubes.

Strap: 1.2″ wide fits a wrist 6.75″ to 8 ”

My Rating : 4/5

Tesla Watch by ThinkGeek

Continue reading “ThinkGeek TESLA WATCH REVIEW – Tech and Elegant way to keep time.”

Weird Umbrellas – Weird in a cool way!

Weird Umbrellas

sclens studio

In the spirit of finding that next bizarre item or gift, I stumbled upon weird umbrellas that look cool on Amazon site. However, before introducing the weird Umbrellas I thought it would be good to look at the Umbrella culture first, then a bit of Umbrella history before diving in into the weird Umbrellas.

Click here to jump directly to the Weird Umbrellas on Amazon.

Umbrellas’ Culture

Umbrellas are a necessity that we can do without as long as we don’t mind getting wet or as long as we have another option to shield ourselves from unpleasant torrents. Continue reading “Weird Umbrellas – Weird in a cool way!”

Face Exercise Device – Facial Fitness Pao.

Face Exercise Device – Facial Fitness Pao.

Facial Fitness Pao™

courtesy of MTG

 

A device that will make you simulate flying by nodding your head.

Facial Fitness Pao was made by a Nagoya based Japanese company called MTG. This company was established in 1996 and has a great reputation of making unique devices such as the SIXPAD™, RefaActive™ and MDNA SKIN™. So they know what they are doing! Continue reading “Face Exercise Device – Facial Fitness Pao.”

How to Poo at work –Would you buy such a guide?

How to Poo at work – Would you buy such a guide?

 

How to poor at work - e book
Giftsrama.com – all rights reserved

There are many how to websites and how to books and e-books already. The instant I want to do something I don’t know, I jump on to how to and as always I find something helpful.

Today in my search for the next rare gifts I stumbled upon “ The how to poo at work –e book”, and I was like what the heck is this? It made me crack up big time! Nevertheless, I felt this is a nice bizarre gift for someone.

Continue reading “How to Poo at work –Would you buy such a guide?”

The Quirky Egg Minder Review

The Quirky Egg Minder Review

Th Egg Minder

Product : Quirky Egg Minder

Product code: PEGGM-WH01

Dimensions: 4.4 x 14.6 x 3.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds

Price: $9.99

My Rating:

The Quirky Egg Minder also known as the Quirky egg minder wink app enabled smart tray, was a product born from the General Electric and Quirky collaboration in an effort to come up with an IOT(Internet of Things) product. It was first launched in the mid 2013 and it sold at about $15 then. Continue reading “The Quirky Egg Minder Review”

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