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J A P A N O R A M A

Ahh, Japan... land of the rising sun, rising sin, and rice with nearly every meal. In Japan everything is possible and possibly everything is available - often with a unique and unexpected twist. Vending machines dispensing whisky, frozen meat, live rhinoceros beetles or schoolgirl panties? Where else but in Japan, where urban legends live and die on streets that have no names.

As the Japanese Innovations Writer for InventorSpot.com and an unabashed Japanophile, I take great joy in channeling the relentless tsunami of on-the-edge Japanese ideas and products, each wondrous one revisiting and reinventing 1950s Japanese Transistor Radio Syndrome for the post-atomic age!

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KFC Japan Gives You Donut Balls

You'll get Donut Balls from eating at KFC Japan but fear not, the condition is harmless unless you're a tad hypoglycemic. As part of the company's “KFC × RONALDO” campaign with soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, three-piece orders of Donut Balls are served hot along with a packet of gooey Honey Maple dipping sauce.

Snack Of The Gods? Frito-Lay Japan's Doritos Gourmet Bacon & Mustard Tortilla Chips

The good news is, Frito-Lay Japan's Doritos Gourmet Bacon & Mustard tortilla chips hit store shelves on April 21st. The bad news is they're only available in Japan or in your wildest dreams.

World's Longest Rails Help Make Japan's Trains Quieter

Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. has perfected the manufacture and distribution of steel railroad rails 150 meters (492 ft) long. Casting rails well over a football field in length is one thing; shipping them to distant customers is another but NSSMC has got that angle covered too.

Slim Your Thighs With Momolady, Japan's Womb-Shaped Adductor Muscle Exerciser

Momolady is a spring-loaded thigh exerciser that, coincidentally or not, resembles a cute & cuddly version of the female reproductive system... all that's missing is a smiley face. This affordable device promises to slim, trim and tone the user's thighs by exercising the oft-neglected adductor muscles and burning off useless fat.

Two-Lane Pavement Picnic Sheet Takes Road Food To The Next Level

Old and busted: picnics in the park. New hotness: a picnic in a parking lot! Japanese artist/designer Yuma Kano's disconcerting “On The Road” picnic sheet puts al fresco diners square on the pavement even if they're off the beaten path.

See You Pee: Five Cute & Creepy Japanese Urinalysis Cups

Providing a urine sample isn't always as quick & easy as we'd like it to be and frankly, the entire experience can be fraught with performance anxiety. The Japanese medical profession has duly noted this issue and, in an effort to be helpful, now offers squeamish patients a range of cute, comfy and borderline creepy urinalysis cups.

New Toshiba Medical Breathalyzer Sniffs Out Illness, Not Drunkenness

Diagnosing illness just got easier and, well, breezier thanks to an innovative medical breathalyzer from Japan's Toshiba Corporation. The dishwasher-sized device, currently in the testing stage, is able to detect a wide range of illnesses within 30 seconds after a user blows into the machine.

Nestlé Japan's Baked Kit Kat Chocolate Bars Toast Great!

You don't have to be half-baked to enjoy toaster oven Kit Kat bars but hey, it wouldn't hurt! Individually sealed in bite-size portions, Nestlé Japan's latest and possibly greatest Kit Kat variety (and that's saying something) is a cool idea best eaten when hot.

Rilakkuma Alloy Wheels Let You (And Everyone Else) Roll With Laughter

They see you rollin, they hatin... not to mention pointin & gigglin. Rilakkuma automotive alloy wheels are not only officially licensed by Sanrio but Japanese auto parts & accessories company MLJ Inc also offers colorful Rilakkuma tire valve covers to complete the uber-cute look and keep your car in character.

Leica Camera Celebrates Hello Kitty's 40th And Playboy's 60th Birthdays

Hello Kitty and Playboy, two of the late twentieth century's most iconic brands, are both celebrating milestones this year and when the cat & bunny get together it's a Kodak, er, Leica moment.


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