Monday, February 6, 2012

Who Says You Can't Get Anything For $1.00 (Or In This Case, 100 Yen)

I was inspired to write this blog post after a recent visit to my favorite 100 Yen Shop.  Who am I kidding, they're ALL my favorite.  If the exchange rate between the Yen and the Dollar was 1 to 1, 100 Yen would equal $1.00 and on that basis, these shops which are located everywhere in Japan, would roughly be the equivalent of the U.S. Dollar Store (currently 100 Yen is equal to about $1.30).  However as with many things in Japan, in my opinion, 100 Yen Shops are far superior to any Dollar Store I've ever been to (let's ignore the fact that I've only been to maybe one Dollar Store in my life). 
Although we haven't specifically discussed it, I'm fairly certain the following words make Rich cringe every time he hears them: "honey, I've found a new 100 Yen Shop!" (to Rich: there are thousands of them in Japan so I've got a lot more discovering ahead of me).  I know exactly what you're thinking: what's the big deal, things are only $1.00 there.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, I'm not really sure which) the low price combined with the fact that you can find almost anything at these shops is what makes them so dangerous.  And one can easily leave having spent a ton more money than one intended.
Oh, and when I say you can find almost anything at these shops, I really do mean anything...and not cheap stuff either (well maybe some cheap stuff, but they definitely do have some high quality products).  From kitchenware to tools to office supplies to snacks, they have it all.  For example, at a birthday party I was at recently, for her upcoming trip to China, the birthday girl got a bag filled with travel items purchased from the 100 Yen Shop, including a 3-pack of "disposal bathrooms."  Who knew there was such a thing?  Well now you know, and if you ever need them, you know where to go.

There are several different chains of 100 Yen shops but my favorite is The Daiso, particularly the one close to base (but only because it's the only one I've been to; I hear the one in Harajuku is the mother of all Daisos so you can bet I'll be making my way there one of these days). Some of you might say that there's just as much stuff in these shops as in Don Quixote which I blogged about a few weeks ago, and while you may be right, the shopping experience is TOTALLY different.  The Daiso and the larger chains tend to have very large stores with lots of space and because there are so many stores, they usually aren't that crowded, which makes for an overall more pleasant experience!

 A well known fact about me (see previous blog post) is that I'm a shopper.  A little known fact about me is that I have a thing for containers. I recall one night a few months ago while looking for a container to put dinner leftovers in, Rich opened one of our kitchen cupboards and started laughing.  I asked him what was so funny and he said, "seriously, do we really need a container for the containers?"  So you would think that I would be in heaven shopping at The Daiso (see picture of containers above).  The problem is that everytime I go into the Daiso, I'm literally paralyzed with indecision over what size, what color, and how many containers to get. Luckily I have a lot of time on my hands these days and I can afford to spend 30 minutes standing in the container aisle just staring at all my choices.  Then when I get home and have to answer for my container purchases, I just use the trusty "but it's only 100 Yen" line, which has worked for me so far (although it probably won't be as successful after this post).

People blog about 100 Yen Shops quite frequently and at the end of one blog post I saw on the subject, the author issued a disclaimer stating that if asked, no, they don't buy gifts from the 100 Yen Shop.  I'm not sure why he/she would say that, but I on the other hand have absolutely no qualms about getting gifts from the 100 Yen Shops.  So friends and family back home, if you get gifts from me on one of my trips home and you happen to ask me, YES your gifts more than likely came from one of these shops.


Marissa said...

hey shannon, you should go to the hyakuen store in the marui department store in shibuya. that one was pretty awesome too.

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