Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The unusual and the un-useless

So I was wandering around a mall when I entered this tiny shop of odds and ends, and spotted something rather interesting. On sale was a pair of 'YiFan bathing gloves'. You don't need a towel, you don't need a sponge, you don't need a pumice stone. You just wear the gloves, put the shower cream on them and scrub away.

It looked like one of those inventions made in someone's basement and perhaps even produced there, going by the instructions on the package. I've reproduced the instructions below (without any editing whatsoever, including the random and sudden use of uppercase letters). What you see is what I saw.

Special Function
This glove is made from high quality microfiber nylon No smell, No harm for the body. It Can get rid of the dirt which attached on the skin, strengthen our body and cosmetics.Even more,it Can Refresh the cell.strengthen the circling of blood therefore makes the skin smooth,gentle,and soft
YiFan bath glove comfortable and convenient

Using Method
You Shoud put some soap on your body body before use the bath towel The glove can Suck a little water when it comes across water. this can strengthen the function of cleaning dirt. It suit for all kinds of soaps and other products which can protect the skin.

Advice:please use in different color

So I bought a pair cos I figured they'd be amazing for exfoliation. Well, I don't know if they "strengthened the circling of my blood" but they sure better made my skin smooth as hell. I know I sound like one of those people on the teleshopping channel who have a Caucasian face but sell the product in hindi, but I really wonder why Watson's doesn't carry this amazing product.

The whole thing reminded me of a book called '101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chindogu' that my ex-boss had lent me many years ago. Those who are not familiar with the word 'Chindogu', here's what Wikipedia says:

Chindogu is the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday objects that, on the face of it, seem like an ideal solution to a particular problem. However, Chindogu has a distinctive feature: anyone actually attempting to use one of these inventions, would find that it causes so many new problems, or such significant social embarrassment that effectively it has no utility whatsoever. Thus, Chindogu are sometimes described as 'unuseless' - that is, they cannot be regarded as 'useless' in an absolute sense, since they do actually solve a problem; however, in practical terms, they cannot positively be called 'useful'.

According to the International Chindogu Society (yes, there is one!):

'Dogu' is Japanese for "tool" and 'chin' is Japanese for "weird". Thus, a chindogu is a weird tool. Every Chindogu is an almost useless object, but not every almost useless object is a Chindogu. In order to transcend the realms of the merely almost useless, and join the ranks of the really almost useless, certain vital criteria must be met. It is these criteria, a set of ten vital tenets, that define the gentle art and philosophy of Chindogu. Here they are:

1. A Chindogu cannot be for real use
It is fundamental to the spirit of Chindogu that inventions claiming Chindogu status must be, from a practical point of view, (almost) completely useless. If you invent something which turns out to be so handy that you use it all the time, then you have failed to make a Chindogu. Try the Patent Office.

2. A Chindogu must exist
You're not allowed to use a Chindogu, but it must be made. You have to be able to hold it in your hand and think 'I can actually imagine someone using this. Almost.' In order to be useless, it must first be.

3. Inherent in every Chindogu is the spirit of anarchy
Chindogu are man-made objects that have broken free from the chains of usefulness. They represent freedom of thought and action: the freedom to challenge the suffocating historical dominance of conservative utility; the freedom to be (almost) useless.

4. Chindogu are tools for everyday life
Chindogu are a form of nonverbal communication understandable to everyone, everywhere. Specialised or technical inventions, like a threehandled sprocket loosener for drainpipes centred between two under-the-sink cabinet doors (the uselessness of which will only be appreciated by plumbers), do not count.

5. Chindogu are not for sale
Chindogu are not tradable commodities. If you accept money for one you surrender your purity. They must not even be sold as a joke.

6. Humour must not be the sole reason for creating a Chindogu
The creation of Chindogu is fundamentally a problem-solving activity. Humour is simply the by-product of finding an elaborate or unconventional solution to a problem that may not have been that pressing to begin with.

7. Chindogu is not propaganda
Chindogu are innocent. They are made to be used, even though they cannot be used. They should not be created as a perverse or ironic comment on the sorry state of mankind.

8. Chindogu are never taboo
The International Chindogu Society has established certain standards of social decency. Cheap sexual innuendo, humour of a vulgar nature, and sick or cruel jokes that debase the sanctity of living things are not allowed.

9. Chindogu cannot be patented
Chindogu are offerings to the rest of the world - they are not therefore ideas to be copyrighted, patented, collected and owned. As they say in Spain, mi Chindogu es tu Chindogu.

10. Chindogu are without prejudice
Chindogu must never favour one race or religion over another. Young and old, male and female, rich and poor - all should have a free and equal chance to enjoy each and every Chindogu.

If you google 'Chindogu', you'll find tons of them, but here are five of my favourite Chindogu!

Back Scratcher's T-Shirt
The fast and logical solution to infernal itching

If you're getting someone to scratch your back, it can get really annoying if they can't accurately locate the damn itch. This T-shirt has an 'itch-locator' grid so the scratchee - armed with a hand-held miniature corresponding grid map can guide the scratcher more accurately. So instead of saying "Left a bit, up, a little down..." and still not getting it right, all you have to say is "Try G8?"

Commuter's Helmet
For secure subway snoozing

If your office is far away from home, and you have to get up really early and travel a distance, you may want to catch a nap in the train. This helmet comes complete with a suction pad to avoid your sleepy head falling on uncooperative passengers' shoulders. A message on the helmet says, 'I'm having a short nap. Could you please wake me up when I reach the stop printed below? Many Thanks.'

Hay Fever Hat
The all day tissue dispenser

This hat supports a large toilet roll with an easy dispense mechanism, enough to last you a whole day of terminal sneezing.

Portable Zebra Crossing
The pedestrian's best friend

Tired of waiting endlessly to cross the road? Fight for your rights as a pedestrian, carry your own portable zebra crossing! Roll it out wherever you want, whevener you want, and cross away my friend! Comes with a gentle warning: On busy roads where there is no break in the oncoming traffic, attempting to roll out the Portable Zebra Crossing can be hazardous.

Cockroach Swatting Slippers
Swat from a safe distance

If you'd like to swat the hell out of those annoying pests with a slipper but are afraid of getting too close lest they turn around or fight, or worse they turn out to be the flying kinds, behold this! The retractable rods in the slippers help you maintain a safe distance during the swatting process.

If you thought, just like I did, that you came up with the very original idea of wipers for glasses till you saw Govinda in Gambler singing "Mere daddu pehne diaper, chashme pe unke wiper!", don't lose heart yet.

The possibilities of creating un-useless objects are endless.


Neihal said...


Awesome start to this day
coudnt have been better.

I saw thosw gloves, I was like WOW, but that T-shirt, hahahahahahaha

Neihal said...

How do we order for these I'd like the gloves and the T-shirt and those slippers please ;)

not for sale did I read.

still Rofling.

And not to phorgate, GOLD!!!

I am gonna be rich, very rich, very soon :P

Unknown said...

hahhahahahahahahaha.....amazinnn.. n i want those slippers ;)
grreattt collectionnn!!!
So u're changin u're stream to marketin? very gud! u're great at it! :D

Harsha said...

Send me that T-shirt please ;)

ROFL here...
Must have seen the rest of the stuff in some fwd :)

Iday said...

LOL :)

Now, if u used those gloves to exfoliate and then u say Chidogus cause so many new problems or significant social embarrassment!!!

Sambhalke bhai!!!

t said...

=)) ohmygawdthisissodamnfunnyicantstoplaughing :))

Oh, and they are unuseless alright!

Bivas said...

so...does that pair of gloves qualify as a chindogu? but wait...u bought it right? so I guess it doesn't...
hilarious nevertheless :D
//In order to be useless, it must first be.
Kya rule hai...some very intelligent person must hv come up with this :P

loved that t-shirt though...quite scientific :-) harsha, hv seen the rest of the stuff in a fwd...and it had a lot many more of those!

Wondering how many chindogu's Thomas Edison came up with...since he did invent quite a lot...

Sayesha said...

Hahahaha! Yeah, not for sale, so make your own! :D

Hahaha! I like the slippers too! :D

Hahaha! Hey why is everyone asking me to send them the t-shirts? Chindogu is naaat faaar sale! :P

Oye dhakkan, I BOUGHT these gloves re... obviously it's not chindogu! :D

Hey I think the slippers are pretty useful! :D

Nope, the gloves are not chindogu, they just reminded me of chindogu :)

Garrett said...

I had come across those items as joke on my mailbox but never knew that these things actually come under an art work with a name and socities of their own... Thanks for the enlightment...

And btw great post... All the 5 Chindogu are great and not to forget the sixth one which you got for yourself :)

Thisisme said...

amazing :D:D:D bahut hi mast utility hai :))
woh gloves ka toh maza aa gaya...but i luv that cool it wud b to jst tell the location of scratching ...wah!!!! :)
n i think i need that helmet too!! at least nidar hokar so sakti hu!
waise in london ..u get these stickers..on which is written.."m takin a nap..please wake me up on so-n-so station" :-)) but never seen any1 use it :D

Unknown said...

Wot a post Sash! The instructions, the stuff, wonderphool :D
Btw, the last thing seems really interesting to me. Please pick it up if you happen to see it anywhere ;):P:P

PS: Yaar yeh Neihal kahan se aa jaati hai har time? Grabbing gold everywhere :/ :P

Thisisme said...

went thru some more chindogu inventions :D
some r downright scary..luk at this
and this is hillarious :))
hope my comment doesnt luk like one of those spam ones :))

Sree said...

Hey.. a seriously hilarious post :) informative and fun to read, I loved the gloves too :)

shub said...

brilliant idea behind those gloves! I want two too! kidhar milenge?

Garam Bheja Fry said...

Kaamwaali bai : ay saaabjee!! ye tere t-shirt par G-9 waala daag nahee nikal raha...bhot rin ghisa..phir bhi nakko nikla..

moi : Jaldi se saaf karde reyy!! mere ko sudoku khelne kaa hai usspe..!!

:P awesome!! mera din banaa diya..hehe!! :D

Sakshi said...

I think I liked the label more :P

It was a good way to start a day :)

satish said...

woh chappal mujhe de de, bhai!

Harsha said...

Chindogu is naaat faaar sale....but can be gifted na? ;)

Sayesha said...

Thanks :)

Hahahaha! Sabko T-shirt chahiye! :D

Hahaha! I want the slippers too! :D

Yup, I saw all of these and then picked my favourite ones :)

Thanks! :)

I'll get you a pair, budday gift in advance! :P

#Garam Bheja Fry,
Thanks! :)

Thanks! :)

Apni khopdi toh aage kar, Bhai sau chappal barsa dega! :D

Lekin banayega kaun? Sakharam? :D

Harsha said...

Sakhram ya Sakkubai banaye.... apne ko toh t-shirt mangta hai baap!!!

kya bhai... readers ke liye itna nahin kar sakte... aage daal dena... bar ka ad ban jayega... ;)

Namrata said...

We want UPDATE....
We want UPDATE....
We want UPDATE....

Sayesha said...

Hahaha! Paile tu apun ke liye cockroach swatting slippers banakar bhej, phir apun karega tereko swat... errr... I mean bhejeka tereko T-shirt! :D

#Senti Indian,
Me too...
Me too...
Me too!!!
Oh wait, I have to update?! :O Hehe... hoga hoga... nothing happening is happening na... that's why :)

Three types of Crazy said...

Gloves are sold in body shop.

Sayesha said...

#Three types of crazy,
Oh they are? Thanks! :)

Deepa said...

Hey Sayesha,

I really really really enjoyed this post. Visiting your bar after a long time...u made my day :D

Keep blogging.