It’s that time of year, when everyone who’s easy to buy presents for already has a big satisfying check mark next to their name, but the ones who don’t are driving me crazy, because I just can’t think of anything that will surprise and/or delight them. Or at least make them scream when they open it.
But suffer no more! Here are the ten silliest gifts I saw this year in Tokyo, for all your holiday amusement needs.
THE ANATOMICALLY CORRECT BALLOON DOG
Who doesn’t need one of these? They’re by artist Jason Freeny, and I know you’ll curse me for telling you that there are also Gummy Bear and Rubber Duck versions. So hard to decide! (Available online from the Colossal Shop)
THE PLUSH LARVAL SLANKET, WITH QUICK-RELEASE ZIPPER
Okay, I’ll admit, if I lived in a typical Japanese house that’s mysteriously colder inside than outside in the winter and really really REALLY didn’t want to give up my blanket when I left the couch to refill the popcorn bowl, this would be top of my list. (Tokyu Hands, Shinjuku)
SHIBA DUSTMOP SLIPPERS
Your favorite giftee will absolutely look forward to doing their floor-sweeping chores while basking in the cuteness of these shiba inu slippers (from the housewares store near Ebisu Station at 7-7-13 Ebisu). Also in classic shiba tan!
TOASTING WITH TROUT
Nothing goes together better than drinking and fishing, and this sake flask will ensure that every whopper that got away gets bigger with the telling. (From the big open-fronted pottery store across Kappabashi Street from the chef’s head, in the middle of the first block.)
I can pretty much guarantee that the troublesome person on your list who has everything does NOT have a pair of socks featuring microscopic organisms of the sea (From the gift shop at the National Museum of Science and Nature in Ueno Park)
ROSE WHIP FACE WASH
It’s fragrant and foamy, but it’s how this Beauty Whip face wash comes out of the can that makes it so want-worthy! (You can buy it at any ordinary Japanese drugstore where they sell Kanebo products)
What better way to scrub your rose foam beauty whipped face, than with a slice of beef? (Sold at the ever-entertaining DonKi in Shibuya)
Because if you have to get up on Monday mornings, at least you can get your caffeine shot from an adorable prankster (Seen at the ceramics store that’s across from the Chef’s head on Kappabashi Street – not the one on the corner, the next one.)
If that special feline on your list happens to be an aspiring #catsofinstagram, you can’t go wrong with these fame-attracting cat hats (Saw this gachapon machine at Yamashiro-ya toy store, in Ueno)
Still looking for the perfect gift?
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For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it… read more
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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had