Jul 7, 2018
Ever since I was a young kid here in Japan, 100 yen stores have been mainstays for daily life. Unlike dollar stores in the states, the 100 yen stores here tend to have quality home goods that will go the distance for you. Sure, there are plenty of trinkets and things that won't last long, but I've stocked up on great dishware, cleaning supplies, garden supplies, storage containers, and things like that.
Probably Japan's most famous 100 yen store is Daiso, with locations all over the country (including in tourist hot spots like Takeshita-dori in Harajuku). It's got all of the great stuff I mentioned above, but there are two reasons I think Daiso is great that has nothing to do with its products:
1) Photos are encouraged
It is really odd to me just how many stores in Japan prohibit photography. Either they'll post signs or staff will scold you for taking photos. I never really understood it, since I've always just thought of it as free advertising. I mean, I guess folks could post pics to troll places, but anybody with that purpose in mind is likely just to ignore the "no-photo" rule anyway. Well, thankfully, Daiso tosses the rules aside and encourages picture taking. Why not? After all, it's got great products and it allows folks to share it on the web. I like that Daiso has embraced the social media culture--now it's time for the rest of Japan to do the same!
2) Special parking spaces for elderly customers
It's no secret that Japan has a demographic problem. The greying of the population is bad and only getting worse. Unfortunately, the country is not ready for it. However, it is nice to see certain places begin to address the issue in their own way. Small efforts can make a difference, and at our local Daiso, they have specially designated parking spaces for elderly patrons. For a store that can fill up quite quickly, having a designated space not only guarantees that elderly patrons can find a space, it means that they do not have to haul their purchases across an entire lot to their vehicles in the summer heat or winter snow.
Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.
Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).