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Monday, March 6, 2017

Land Of The Rising Sun-powered Cigarette Lighter

A solar-powered cigarette lighter?

That makes it sound like solar panels are being used to convert heat into electricity to convert back into heat to light a cigarette.

No… what we have here, is a magnifying glass concentrating the light rays onto a specific spot and to a specific temperature of greater than 451F (the temperature at which paper catches fire - look up Ray Bradbury) …

I suppose it is a viable solution if you aren’t into getting free packs of matches over at the hostess bar [a trip to a hostess bar could cost one ¥10- to ¥50,000 (US$100-500) in booze and female company, so “free matches” is a bit of a misnomer.]

But… this is Japan… and despite being known as “the land of the rising sun”, I can state from personal experience over 3+ years there, that it ain’t always sunny in Japan…

It’s more like cloudy with a chance of sun… or smog… or rain… at least where I lived, which was a mere 100 kilometers or so north of Tokyo.

And what if you did live in Tokyo… I’ve walked around the streets of that city (usually hopelessly lost)… and dammit, those huge skyscrapers really block out whatever natural sunlight there is from the sun. Even looking at my watch and then up in the sky, I couldn't figure out what direction I was walking. Lost is a direction, right? 

Of course, this is even supposing you has the time to use a magnifying glass to light your cigarette— shouldn’t you be working?

Also, for those of you who smoke and don’t use lighters—cost of butane for a Zippo, or plastic lighters—disposal in landfill—I could see that you could save the environment by not having to waste matches… the wood products…

So yeah… save the trees… and then you can just throw your solar-powered used cigarette down onto the street… that’ll disintegrate and become nothing right? 

I’m not sure that this was someone’s actual invention for the mass market, but rather I can see how it was someone having some fun with a basically useless gadget.

… like those long cigarette holders.

“My doctor told me to stay away from cigarettes.”

"Look at me! I'm just as sexy as Audrey Hepburn," says a time-traveling U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943.
Of course, with regards to the solar-powered cigarette lighter... I didn't even discuss the fact that should you smoke your cigarette attached to the device and accidentally face the wrong way, you could either burn out your retinas (smoking can cause blindness) or you might burn your face off.

I did that once.

In Japan, at the base of my apartment in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken... one night I found a pack of menthol Kool cigarettes in a vending machine that some drunk paid for and stumbled off without.

Not being a smoker then, but bored and curious, I cracked it open, used a pack of matches I had on me—probably from some tourist spot I visited... I always picked up matchbooks for Matthew, whom I believe collected them while we were in Japan—and as the flame approached the cigarette, a cold wind blew the flame into my beard turning a portion of it to ash while also managing to singe my face. 

I suppose if I had a cigarette holder like Audrey Hepburn or old FDR have in the photo above, or if I had a solar-powered cigarette lighter, what with it being night, I could have avoided my temporary disfigurement.

Andrew Joseph

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