If you are not ready to see the answer then scroll gently, the answer is at the bottom.

Our modern world is so full of useful products that we are often very cynical of new inventions. In simpler times, when whoopee cushions, pogo sticks, and pet rocks could be considered “cool” much maligned developments like spray-on hair and Mr. T’s Flavor Wave Turbo Oven may have found their place.

However now they are simply lost amidst a sea of gadgets that never took off.  As Ron Popiel might say; they were set, and they were forgotten.  Such is the case of these little items in the photo above.  Though they’ve been around for over a decade we at RocketNews dare you to guess what they do.

These cute little things come in packs of two for 500 yen (US$6) and were bought at Ibaraki Airport.  You might be surprised to learn that they won the Higashikuni-no-miya Memorial Award in 1998 at a competition for inventions – and with a name that long, you know it must be an important award.  Again at the Eureka Awards in 1999 they won the Japan Chamber of Commerce Award.

In spite of their many accolades most people are completely unaware of how to use them.  When presented to the staff here at RocketNews no one could figure it out.

How about you?  If you’re sure you know, or if you’re just totally impatient then you can zoom down to the bottom for the answer. But if you want to hash it out some more, scroll down carefully to see each of the 5 hints.



No, it’s not a spoon or any type of scoop like conveyance.  Let’s just get that out of the way right now.



These things are about 2cm (0.8in) wide and 4cm (1.6in) long.  They each have a little sticky pad on the backside that is meant to attach to something else about the same size.



Although these were bought in Japan they could be found in drug stores in various countries around the world.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one myself in any country, but then again I don’t hang out in drug stores either.



Although they’re sold in packs of two you’re only supposed to use one.  I can’t imagine why they’re sold like that.  Maybe they’re easy to lose?  It is physically possible for one person to use two at the same time but they would look pretty stupid.  Actually you’d look kind of stupid just using one of these things.


Got it yet?  Just one more hint before the answer is revealed…



Their name is Akanbe.  Fans of anime or manga will probably be familiar with akanbe as a popular Japanese facial gesture akin to blowing raspberries.  To perform an akanbe you stretch down your lower eyelid and usually stick out your tongue.  The word can be loosely translated to “the ol’redeye.”


Well, if you don’t have it yet you probably never will, so I recommend looking below to put yourself out of your misery.


Dun Dun Dunnnn! The full name is Easy Eye Dropper: Akanbe. It’s used to keep your eye open while you use eye drops.

I guess the inventor figures if you can’t take a small drop of liquid in your eye then you’d have no problem sticking a 2cm wide piece of plastic in there.

Photos: RocketNews24