Japan, like many other countries, has no shortage of “unique” inventions and products. Sometimes they may seem useless or downright impractical, but other times they’re just clever enough to be useful.

So where does this USB-powered onigiri (rice ball) warmer fall on the spectrum of clever and bewildering? We’ll let you decide for yourself!

Onigiri is a staple convenience store food in Japan–every store has them in as many varieties as can be packed on one or two shelves. Neatly packaged, the Japanese rice balls are less spherical and more triangular and generally come with a nori, seaweed, covering. Yank the cellophane wrapper off, and you’re ready to go to munch town!

▼”Yay! Munch town!”

Onigiri_cheerleaderWikipedia (Kaoani)

However, some people prefer their onigiri warmed up instead of room temperature, and, fortunately, most convenience stores will warm your favorite rice ball for you at the counter. But if you work in an office, you may do your lunch shopping in the morning or bring it from home. Of course, if you’re feeling sensible, you could just pop your little rice triangle into a microwave for a few seconds, but sometimes microwaves just aren’t available. In that case, there’s little you can do besides sitting on your onigiri like a chicken hatching an egg.

▼”Butt-crack onigiri?! Noooo!”

Onigiri_cheerleader_sadWikipedia (Kaoani) [edited by RocketNews24]

Thankfully this new device will save you the indignity of  having to eat body-temperature onigiri. Called simply “The Onigiri Warmer with USB (Brown)” on its product webpage, the device does just what its name says!

▼It even has two warmers! Talk about extravagance!

Warmer (2)

The warmer is in a triangle shape, perfect for your average convenience store onigiri, and can be plugged into whatever USB port you have available. Whether its your laptop, desktop, or tablet, it’ll only take 30 minutes for your rice ball to be nice and toasty.

▼We wouldn’t recommend sitting and staring at it the whole time though.

Warmer (4)

Warmer (3)

If you’re wondering how much this miracle device costs, it’s only a mere 1,280 yen (almost US$11). Pricey? Sure. Wonderfully weird to the point that it’s worth buying just to show to your friends? Definitely.

▼And look how happy she looks with her nice, warm onigiri!

Warmer (5)
Thanko, the company that made this unusual product, is apparently all about keeping things warm right now as it has a second USB-powered warming product available, this time for keeping your toes rather than your food toasty. And these “Comfy Slippers with USB” are only 2,680 yen (about $22.50)! As to why the onigiri warmer costs almost half as much as these slippers, we have no idea.

▼Yes, those are USB cables coming out of the slippers…

Warmer (6)

Now that we’ve helped you finish your winter-holiday present shopping for all the loved one in your life, why not relax with some giant rodents in hot water? It can’t be any less sanitary than butt-crack onigiri

Sources/images: Thanko (Onigiri Warmer), Thanko (Comfy Slippers)
[ Read in Japanese ]