Humans have shaped tools to serve as body parts since antiquity: a peg leg, false teeth, a plastic molding in the guise of a penis. Now, a Japanese company has designed a faux nose to fulfill nothing more than the vestigial human need to pick one’s nose.
Made by Bandai, the rubber noses may be purchased for $2 by vending machine in Japan. The Hojirerun desu, or “pickable noses," come in four shapes including the regular Nose, Wild Nose, Beauty Nose, and Idol Nose. The product also comes in two shades, beige and clear. While some users may prefer the more realistic experience of the beige nose, others may prefer the clear version for the best voyeuristic experience of nose picking.
All versions of the nose make a suction-pop noise when the user removes his finger, with one model marketed as “rare secret” coming with (fake) nasal mucus.
Although the company’s marketing materials don’t fully explain the niche for the novelty product, rhinotillexis — the act of extracting nasal mucus with one’s finger — is nearly universal throughout humanity, as well as the subsequent ingestion of mucus known scientifically as mucophagy.
Researchers believe most people pick their nose several times per day for personal hygiene but also for a previously unknown health reason. The ingestion of nasal mucus boosts the immune system with a mixture of antiseptic enzymes that fight bacteria. More exposure to nasal mucus provides the immune system with the opportunity to produce more antibodies that could later fight invading microorganisms.
Although most world cultures castigate the practice of rhinotillexis and mucophagy, some scientists recommend the practice as a healthy behavior. But like many other hygienic practices, it's best done in private.