Shopping: ¥100 stores in Japan

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The LA Times has written a travel/shopping story about my favorite store in Japan -- no, not Yodobashi Camera, but the ubiquitous ¥100 stores:


Bargain hunting at Japan's 100-yen stores

In this shopping-mad country, the latest craze is the 100-yen store. For a little more than a dollar, savvy consumers can stock up on everything from origami paper to banana cases to milk carton-shaped erasers.,0,4323842.story


Anyone else a fan of these bargain emporiums?



"Using the text or images on this website without permission on an ebay auction or any other site is a violation of federal law."

nice site but why bother with this statement?

i'm sure no-one will steal your copy, your camera pics are available anywhere and no-one ex-usa gives a hoot for federal law...


A blessing to the savvy consumer, but a curse to the unwary, in my humble opinion.

When I first moved to Japan, I found that the ¥100 shop was almost too good to be true. Coming from Canada, where our so-called "dollar stores" had long since lost any relationship to the price of the merchandise, the ¥100 shop proved as good as its name (although some large chains, such as The Daiso, also offer larger items for multiples of ¥100). I was hooked. But my shopping binges often led to post-consumption hangovers.

1) Quality. An obvious caveat, I suppose, but you get what you pay for. I never buy stationery or pens and pencils at the ¥100 shops any more - markers and pens quickly expire, and I found that pencil leads would shatter with frustrating frequency. The same with many hard plastic items (like buckets), which I now try to avoid. Durability is an issue, and the products on offer - mostly mass-produced imports from China and southeast Asia - are just not made to last. That said, if you're kitting out an apartment, the ceramics and other kitchenware are great, and usually excellent value.

2) Quantity
You may think that you're surrounded by bargains, but that ¥100 price-tag can be a lullaby to thrift. You could easily find yourself buying lots of little knick-knacks that you will never use, and end up with several dozens of items when you get to the till. It took me several visits to learn to buy only what I went in for, or knew I needed immediately. Once you start imagining uses for things that you see, it's too late.

It wasn't long before my initial infatuation with the ¥100 shop (so much stuff! so cheap!) gave way to resentment (so much poorly made crap I don't need!), but I think my attitude has now reached a happy synthesis wherein I can make them work for me.

(Also, one of the comments on that article referenced the 99 yen stores - great especially for food. I never lost faith in that chain, but they can be hard to find!)

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on June 29, 2010 9:37 PM.

Shooting Video with DSLRs was the previous entry in this blog.

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