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Fun and function for office and home

by Jean Snow

The hair dryer stylist

Since its launch, the Plus Minus Zero brand, well-known for its series of minimalist electric fans, has been expanding its lineup, adding new items in new product categories. The Hair Dryer is an extra notch on its belt for its bathroom offerings.

As you’d expect from the Naoto Fukasawa-directed line of goods, the Hair Dryer is sleek, modern and with an iconic shape that makes it stand out from what else is on offer. In other words, it makes regular hair dryers seem rather boring. It also comes equipped with a wire stand that allows hands-free use.

Available in white, black, red and pink, it costs ¥3,990 and can be ordered directly from Plus Minus Zero’s online store.

Plus Minus Zero: www.plusminuszero.jp www.pmz-store.jp.

Inspiring kids to leave their mark

Osaka-based interior-design company Kukkia Design recently launched Kiko+, a new lineup of wooden toys and accessories for children. We’re especially taken by Ashiato (footprint), their range of geta (traditional Japanese wooden sandals).

Geta normally have two wooden blocks to give them a platform base instead of soles, but Ashiato have made some cute alterations. Instead of the blocks, the bases have raised patterns, resembling the paw prints of various creatures: cat, gecko, owl, monkey and Tyrannosaurus rex. It’s a great spin on geta, and kids will have a blast running up and down the beach, leaving their prints behind.

Available in five summery colors (orange, yellow, pink, blue and green), they are priced according to size: ¥2625 for XS and S and ¥2835 for M and L.

Kukkia Design: www.kukkia.co.jp Kiko+: www.kiko-kids.com.

Nendo pulls your tail, not your leg

The Oppopet computer mouse, designed by Nendo for electronic goods maker Elecom, may look like a silly idea, but it does bring a smile to the face — and a lot has to be said for design that can make people chuckle.

Oppopets are wireless “pet” mouses — and they have tails. The tail is actually the USB receiver, which you pull out and plug into your computer. No drivers are necessary — for PC or Mac — and they each run on one AAA battery.

You’ll find a zoo-full of animal tails (fox, dog, dolphin, cat, pig, squirrel, chameleon and rabbit) in a variety of colors.

Nendo: www.nendo.jp Elecom: www.elecom.co.jp.

Purple notes of autumn

Brooklyn-born, Tokyo-raised Postalco, one of our favorite stationery brands, has released a new fall collection of terrific notebooks, bags, wallets and more. For now, here’s just one of the new items that you can currently find in their Kyobashi shop (near Ginza) or in any store selling Postalco items (they take online mail orders as well).

The Violet Notebook is letterpress printed and features a beautiful cotton fabric cover with colors designed to fade slightly with use. It comes in three sizes — A5, A6 and A7 — priced respectively at ¥2,625, ¥2,100 and ¥1,575)

The series is available in limited quantities, so to get your hands on them you need to move post-haste.

Postalco: www.postalco.net.

Pushing the envelope on letter openers

Still on the topic of stationery, here’s an accessory that updates an old-fashioned utensil that is sure to add style your desk. The Bone letter opener is produced by Naft, one of three brands by Nagae, a company that looks to promote a 400-year-old traditional copperware technique from the city of Takaoka in Toyama Prefecture.

We covered Naft’s Sprinkle Wall Hook last year, and the brand’s Bone is equally interesting. Designed by Jin Kuramoto, it is essentially a modern, unusual-shaped blunt knife, bent at an angle to make it easier to slice open envelopes.

Available in two slightly different forms, each priced at ¥6,800, the Bone comes in a selection of three hues: brushed brass, black-painted brass and polished aluminum.

Naft: www.naft-design.com/en/index.html.