Monday, 9 March 2015

chindōgu or as seen on tv

Via the ever brilliant Nag on the Lake comes this Mental Floss treatment on the Japanese concept of chindōgu (珍道具) that probably best translates to having the quality of being unuseless—since these gadgets cannot be totally dismissed as having no merit but it’s even harder to come to their defence as anything useful or that people might actually buy, other than as a gag.

In fact, chindōgu aspires to a rarefied art form with specific criteria that should be adhered to—including not being taboo, conventional or patentable. A solar-powered flashlight, Whisper 2000, a muff to keep one’s hands warm while texting, moustache cups or duster-onesies for babies to allow them to sweep up the floor while playing might be good candidates. Other Japanese terminology for the misfits is an impressive list as well.  Finding art in the chaotic and impracticable makes me think of Rube Goldberg’s fantastically ornate machines to perform simple tasks.