Japanese companies have developed some terrific packaging solutions, like the o-nigiri packaging that's easy to open, keeps the rice lovely and moist, and puts a layer between the rice and the nori until the time the package is opened, thus ensuring that the seaweed stays crisp and dry:


After living here so long, I've started to consider it "normal" that products are so considerately packaged, albeit often over-packaged. Whatever the product, there always seems to be an obvious string or tab to pull, or a corner cut out from the plastic to make it easy to tear open.

However, when I bought some skin-care products at Boots in London recently, I was reminded that packaging in Europe and the US is often designed to be impossible to open without special tools. So I was delighted to see Packages You Won’t Need a Saw to Open in the New York Times today.

“I shouldn’t have to start each Christmas morning with a needle nose pliers and wire cutters,” said Jeffrey P. Bezos, the father of four young children and founder of Amazon.com. “But that is what I do, I arm myself, and it still takes me 10 minutes to open each package.”

All of which is really just an excuse to share one of my favorite Alas Smith & Jones jokes with you. It's the "CD" joke – and it starts at about 5.05 minutes into this clip: