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One of my favourite things when travelling is having a nose around the shops to see the kinds of weird and wonderful things on offer that you just don’t see at home.  I’ve had enough foreign friends gag over Vegemite and puzzle over a bottle opener made from Kangaroo testicles to know Australia is just as guilty of perversity as anywhere else on earth, but it still doesn’t quench my amusement when I come across those cultural gems that leave you scratching your head.

So it was with great delight that I discovered a “Train Shop” magazine in the pocket of my seat on this morning’s Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Tokyo.  This is the kind of magazine that would be dangerous if it were available at home as there were just so many fascinating items I would be blowing my pay packet every month.

However, in amongst those items that have you questioning “Why hasn’t anyone at home thought of that??” there were some howlers.  I’ll apologise in advance to my Japanese friends out there, this is intended with the utmost respect and mutual enjoyment of our cultural divide.

What first caught my eye was this very useful utility skirt.  Wear it travelling, wear it gardening, wear it sitting on some stairs – it’s just that versatile!

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Get rid of pesky white part lines forever! Available in 3 handy shades.
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Hannibal Lector eat your fava beans out…
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Okay this one took me a little while but the racoon cartoon is even more hilarious once you realise that Toto is a toilet manufacturer and those little inset pics are shooting out water….yes it’s a handy fit-in-your-handbag, take-anywhere bidet!

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At first glance you may think this lady still hasn’t weaned, but in actual fact, she’s training her voice.  I’m not too sure how it makes you thrust your chest out as demonstrated, but hey, I’m willing to give it a go.P1020240

Wanting a new look but not willing to commit??  These nifty hats will make you the talk of the golf course!  The guy in the cartoon looks like he could do with the portable bidet, or he’s just used it.P1020241

Now this may be a huge cultural stereotype, but it never occurred to me that Japanese men might have similar problems to our more hirsute brothers….. A great innovation for those hard to reach places.
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Finally, the joke’s on me for this one.  I was convinced it was some type of waterproofing for your pillow and you could take your pillow out in the rain while all your friends got theirs wet…… ummm yes, they’re sandbags as my sister rightly pointed out. Apparently able to withstand even the most pointy of finger pokes.P1020239

I so wish I could order from the Train Shop from Australia, but it’s probably just as well – my poor postman would be groaning under the weight of utility skirts and portable bidets.

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