Tamachan 2

We all love coolers, don’t we? They keep our drinks nice and cold, wherever we go. Well, here’s a gadget that does the job even better! This little guy on wheels, believe it or not, is a portable mini-refrigerator/heater and goes by the cute product name of “Tama-chan”. But why is Tama-chan shown with a watermelon inside?

In Japan, we love to eat chilled watermelon in the summer. We even have a traditional game we play outdoors called suika-wari (literally, “splitting the watermelon”), where people try to crack open a watermelon with a stick while blindfolded, piñata-style. So, I guess it’s not too surprising that someone would try to think of a way to keep watermelons cool outdoors. But judging from the reaction on the Internet, it seems even the Japanese public is amused and impressed that a company has actually made it into a product.

Yes, Japanese company Joybond indeed turned the idea into reality in the form of Tama-chan, the portable refrigerator. With Tama-chan, you don’t need to worry about a power source, since it can be powered with your car’s cigarette lighter socket. And the best part is that Tama-chan can also be used as a heater too, so in the winter, you can keep your hot drinks or steamed buns warm as well. Interestingly, the product page on Joybond’s website even mentions that keeping rice at a cool temperature using Tama-chan will help improve the flavor of the rice when cooked. Still, Tama-chan is being marketed foremost as an item that allows you to chill watermelons whole outdoors, thus the product’s distinct dome-shaped form. Oh, and it even comes with your very own watermelon net!

Tamachan 1

Tamachan 2

Tama-chan is 50.2cm (20in) long x 35.4cm (14in) wide x 39.2cm (15in1/2) high in size and weighs 6.3kg (approx. 14lbs) — not exactly featherlight, which is where the wheels should come in handy. It’s not exactly cheap either, priced at 19,950 yen (about $200), but it would certainly make for a unique gift, and one even a person who has everything is guaranteed not to have…

Well, the next time you’re desperate to have a cold slice of watermelon outdoors in the middle of summer, you know where to turn to!

Source: Joybond (Japanese) via Byokan Sunday (Japanese)

Top Image and Inset Photos: Joybond