Cool gifts for those in service have to meet a higher standard - just like our men in uniform. Cherry-picking the many military websites out there would be too easy and besides, I'm the Japanese Innovations Writer here at InventorSpot.
With that in mind, I've chosen to follow up my 7 Gadget Gifts to Get Dad to Like You Again posting from 2007 with a selection of neat Japanese gadget gifts any military man - past or present - would find useful and, er, amuse-ful on Father's Day 2008.
1) Laser-Guided Pool Cue Makes Every Shot Count
You don't have to be Minnesota Fats to appreciate the beauty of this high-tech laser-guided pool cue but it does help to have been in the Air Force where laser-guided munitions are the "smart" way to win wars. Aim it at the white of the cue ball, not the whites of someone's eyeball, by the way. Just $80 from Amazon. Bandits at 6 o'clock, rack 'em up!
2) Cranking MP3 Player Gives You the Power
Long drives across the desert wastes in a Humvee or even longer road trips in the Hummer with complaining kids, wife & dog can take a lot out of a guy. Break times go better with musical accompaniment but electricity to power your player isn't always close at hand. That's why the Cranking MP3 Player is the perfect gift. Before you crank it up, crank it up!
This rugged, hand-powered MP3 player embodies that self-reliant, deal with the situation, MacGyver-meets-Crusoe ethos that gets drummed into any service's recruits during basic training. His for 3,980 yen (about $38) from Thanko's Rare Mono Shop in Japan - you can order online.
3) Lifeguard Floating Keychain - Unsinkable at Sea!
Most military men are active outdoor recreation fans, so the Lifeguard Floating Keychain might just come in handy while white-water rafting, kayaking, building a pontoon bridge or any other activity that takes them into, over and around the wet stuff. Endorsed by the United States Lifeguard Association, this inexpensive (840 yen or $8.30) gift will pay for itself the first time his keys hit the water. (Update: This keychain is no longer available. A good alternative is this keychain.)
4) Pentax Waterproof Digital Camera Shoots Even When Wet
While we're on the topic of water, take the new Pentax Optio W60 digital camera - and if he drops it in the drink, no worries! Resistant to pressure up to 12 feet deep and boasting 10 megapixel resolution, the Optio W60 can even record in 720p HD video. Plus, it looks cool, especially in Ocean Blue - just right for naval servicemen. Cost? A reasonable $329.99.. Print him a pic so he'll know what to expect in the APO mail. (Update: This amazing underwater digital camera may be a better updated option.)