Are goods like Kikkoman’s Hello Kitty Soy Sauce practical or impractical? You probably shouldn’t buy this particular product if you still have a gallon of soy sauce at home; however, if you are out of soy sauce, why not splurge no more than $5 on a dispenser that is deemed a collectible?

Having actually manufactured its self-publicized Tea Calendar, the German tea company Hälssen & Lyon just might have concocted one of the least practical products in human history. Countless issues could impede production and distribution, including expiration date management, packaging, etc. No wonder only one calendar has been assembled so far. Unlike a fancy concept car, this creation ignites no inspiration, garners no applause.

Are you familiar with tasseography – the art and technique of tea leaf reading? Do you remember reading the 2010 T Ching post Tea leaves traces – the art of tasseography? Another post, The Tea Cyclopedia – gift idea!, mentioned the chapter on tasseography in Dr. Keith Souter’s The Tea Cyclopedia.

The ultimate sign of good fortune in Japanese tasseography is chabashira (茶柱), which describes the sighting of a tea stalk floating vertically in the cup. So few stalks could escape the strainer’s entrapment, let alone one floating vertically. The Japanese company EngiCha HonPo proceeded to develop a tea named Engi Cha that guarantees the occurrence of chabashira. Don’t you find this “invention” redolent of those dreaded melodramas with only a happy ending? On the other hand, imagine serving this tea in a business setting where the client is delightfully surprised and entertained! I would purchase this icebreaker tool any day over that unimaginative, bulky tea calendar.

Two more products that should be briefly mentioned in this discussion even though they are not tea-related: Keurig Kold and SWITL. Are these products practical or impractical? Regarding the latter, Furukawakikou’s own promo video is so crudely made that it fails to showcase the machine’s versatility.

Let’s aim to give only practical gifts this holiday season. Any gift from you, practical or impractical, may end up in someone’s next garage sale, like I had witnessed years ago. The best alternative is making a donation to the intended recipient’s favorite charitable organization.