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Fuben-Eki: the benefits of inconvenience

“Fuben-Eki” is a Japanese acronym that stands for “Further benefits of a kind of inconvenience”.

It is a design concept that introduces inconvenience into processes, where the inconvenience would actually be beneficial (forcing you to improve hand-eye coordination, to slow down and notice something, or to improve your memory skills).

Here is a freely accessible video from Japan’s NHK show “Design Talks Plus” about different applications of this unusual concept:

Only if the video above is inaccessible, you can watch my own archive copy of the show here:

Professor Kawakami Hiroshi from the video runs this site . It appears that the fuben-eki Facebook page has the latest interviews and writing from his team.

And here is a link to an academic paper introducing the Benefits of Inconvenience [archive PDF link].

In my mind, in the West, we apply fuben-eki in the following ways already:

  • Slowing down our response to others’ emails. By introducing a delay, we’re giving others an opportunity to solve their own problem. We are also giving ourselves more breathing room.
  • In a factory: cross-training people, and rotating them through different duties in a day.
  • Reducing credit-card spending using the trick where you freeze the card in a block of ice, and have to wait for it to thaw in order to make an online purchase.
  • Traffic calming techniques like the ones listed here (additionally, there is a technique where you force drivers to be vigilant by intermixing pedestrian & vehicle traffic together)

Jacob Eats: Chick Boy

In their latest bid to tear the USA apart, evil American oligarchs have decided to make the existence of transgender people the question du jour. (I presume the actual question they’re asking is “should we permit them to exist, or should we start building mobile gas shower units now?”)

Today I’m going to wade into this morass by eating everyone’s favourite genderfluid snack: Chick Boy.

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Things to do in Toronto

Tibetan restaurants

Toronto is unique in that you can find almost any cuisine in this city. One of the more unusual (and tastiest!) cuisines you can try is Tibetan.

Below is a set of Tibetan restaurants that are all located near each other. I used to live nearby, and remember that Himalayan Kitchen was good. But that was many years ago so take a look at current reviews. Things to try: momos (either fried or steamed large dumplings), blood sausage (very spicy, you might also know this dish as “black pudding”), tripe (also very spicy).

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Jacob Eats: Pocari Sweat

The Pocari is a rare Polynesian bird who’s sweat was a prized elixir in the 1600s.

In our day we’re lucky that we no longer have to chase the bird, cage the bird, run the bird ragged to make it sweat. We can get Pocari Sweat right at the international grocery store!

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Jacob Eats: Couque d’Asses

The visionaries. The mavericks. The dreamers. These are the people who move humanity forward.

And then there’s me. A dude who wants to eat weirdly-named treats and watch the world burn.

For several years I’ve wanted to buy, eat and write about weird snacks like Stik-O and Hot Kid Ball Cake. And then I saw something on a shelf that made me take the leap.

So, today I’ll be tasting a treat called Couque d’Asses and sharing my impressions with you.

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