I went to Daiso (the Japanese $1.50 store) today for the first time in a long time. I went in with a couple of specific things I wanted to buy, and walked out with all that and more. I love how the Japanese have invented something for every little common problem we face, from butter that won't spread easily to ramen noodles that won't cool fast enough. We westerners have come to accept certain inconveniences in our everyday lives, but the Japanese say, there must be a better way!
The two things I really needed were 1) driving gloves, because I realize my hands are aging horridly and they get way more sun exposure than most other parts of my body, and 2) tiny containers. I had tried to find tiny tupperware at Target the other day, to no avail. You don't really realize how much you need tiny tupperware until you actually buy it. All those little half-handfuls of nuts you can't finish, or three bites of rice you didn't want to throw away, or berries, or few spoonfuls of sauces you put a lot of work into and can't bring yourself to throw away, can finally find a home until they are ready to be consumed again.
My most immediate problem is the one of taking salad in to work. Because what are you going to do, lug an entire bottle of salad dressing every day? Leave a bottle in the work refrigerator (only to have it thrown out mercilessly by your office manager at the end of the week, even if you weren't done with it)? I actually don't like to buy pre-mixed salad dressing, but prefer to mix my own white wine vinegar with olive oil and salt/pepper to make a simple vinaigrette, but trying to do this for lunch at work would mean taking in TWO GLASS BOTTLES plus whatever herbs I'm using. Or, I could mix a small amount at home, only to carry it in a tupperware container which inevitably leaks and leeches olive oil all over my lunch bag. This has been a conundrum for months.
Enter: the dressing bottle from Daiso, a set of three small (like the size of hotel shampoo bottles), very flexible/squeezable little containers with screw-on caps that form enough of a seal to prevent oil-and-vinegar leakage. They are the perfect size for the tiny amounts of salad dressing I use for one lunchtime serving. I am so excited to try this out next week. I heart Japanese product designers.
Other fun (and, I think, ingenious) inventions, like the butter stick (seriously, I hate how hard it is to spread cold butter on toast!):
Ramen fan that hooks onto your chopsticks to cool down noodles as you eat them:
Full-body umbrella for the kind of rain you sometimes get, that comes in every direction and gets your pant legs wet:
And of course, the "boyfriend pillow," to cure those lonely nights: