chindogu, n. "Queer Tools". A term popularized by Kenji Kawakami whose hundreds of intentionally and impractical inventions have won him international attention as Japan's answer to Rube Goldberg.
From this morning's New York Times piece: Fearing Crime, Japanese Wear the Hiding Place. The online version of the story is accompanied by a photo slideshow of the anxiety-ridden apparel designed by Aya Tsukioka that enables women to hide as vending machines, children to hide as fire hydrants, and valuables to masquerade as manhole covers.
What the New York Times neglects to reveal is that the designer, Aya Tsukioka, is an artist. Her work is referenced elsewhere online -- here's a piece from 2004 »