Shopping in Japan: forking cheap!

13 Jul

It’s true that Japan is home to the truly, extravagantly, unattainably expensive and unnecessary products (such as face cream dotted with flecks of gold leaf – it’s true, my mother bought it, in both senses of the phrase). However, it’s also home to unbelievably well-priced, well-made, oddly handy and exciting things for your kitchen (and belly!)

In order to fully take advantage, I have been scouring all sorts of stores to find those items that you just can’t buy at home, taking trains to towns big and small, chatting with street stall ojisan (uncles), popping my head into village shop windows, browsing through the Japanese big brand stores and daintily walking through posh department stores, hoping to not be noticed as the working-class intruder that I am. And for all of that train-riding, head-popping and dainty walking, there are two stores that always stand out as the best buys: the convenience store and the 100 yen shop.

The Japanese Convenience Store:

Actually convenient, the Japanese konbini (short for kon-bii-ni-ansu su-to-ah = “convenience store”) is home not only to dirty magazines, razors and shaving cream, toothbrushes and toothpaste, stockings and socks, breath fresheners, and everything else you need for a clandestine night away from home, it’s also the place where you can stock up on the social lubricant that will get you there – liquor!

Conbini Biiru

Convenient Sake

With a wide selection of sake and beer, the Japanese convenience store is there to ensure you have a forking good time when you just can’t make it home from the office.

Conbini Onigiri

Convenient food

You may want to fill your belly with more than just drink though, and so much more than the North American 7-11, the Japanese convenience store is full of yummy snacks, treats, and what’s more – REAL FOOD. Rice balls, lunch boxes with rice, egg, noodles, potato salad, and main courses of chicken, beef, or fish, you can leave a Japanese convenience store with more than just a processed-cheese smothered hot dog and a stomach ache. Ahh, konbini-ent.

The 100 Yen Shop:

Possibly even more convenient than the Japanese konbini, the 100 yen (= around $1) shop carries everything from underwear to make-up, from furniture to home-cleaning items, and my favourites, dishes and food! One walk around the 100 yen shop and you’ll be shocked at all of the things you have been living without.


100 Yen Heaven

Totally enthralled by the dishes available, I refrained from buying the breakable, and went with some cute, plastic bowls and trays.

Hyakkin booru

100 yen treasures

And the best part is, you don’t have to be in Japan to enjoy a 100 yen adventure! Greater Vancouver’s Richmond has it’s very own Daiso – the first of its kind in North America. If you’re in the area, take a trip to Aberdeen Centre and delight in two whole floors of madness. Be careful, though, with import fees, everything at Daiso Canada is a pricey $2 Cdn!

I’m off to the Japanese countryside for the next week plus, where I’ll be weeding, gardening, forking up some food for my leathery grandmother, and saving up some posts for when I return to internet-accessible areas.

Let’s forking when I come again!


One Response to “Shopping in Japan: forking cheap!”

  1. Chris July 13, 2010 at 2:39 am #

    Also in Vancouver, but not quite as awesome (because it’s smaller) is the Yokoyaya – which is basically just Daiso stuff, but it’s in the Tinseltown mall. Close and konbinient indeed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: