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The 'go to' overseas food resource for expats in Tokyo
To be honest, I'm not sure why I'm writing a review about National Azabu Supermarket; if you haven't heard about this place already, you must have only just arrived in Japan, or never been to Tokyo. The import food specialist has taken on a reputation of almost mythic proportions.
Anyway, for those who don't know National Azabu Supermarket stocks a great selection of those things you miss from back home. There's too many things to mention here, so I won't. Instead, I'll say that you're unlikely to come away from this place disappointed. What we will come away with though, it a much lighter wallet. This place isn't cheap. Part of this is down to the fact that most of the stuff here has to be imported. Another reason is location. The supermarket is in the heart of an area of embassies and consulates. Consequently, many of the expats that frequent the supermarket do so with salaries of a diplomat.
The supermarket bit is on the ground floor. When you enter, the first impression is that it smells like a supermarket you go into when you're on holiday overseas; ie foreign. Odd really, given that you're here to shop for foods from back home. Outside the building there are usually some food stalls. At the last time of visiting there was someone selling cupcakes, and a Baskin Robbins.
The second floor of National Azabu Supermarket is a bit random. There's a notice board displaying services aimed at expats (mostly written in English), so toilets, a kind of party goods corner, and a store selling books, magazines, detergents, stationary, and other odds and ends. Don't come here for the books, there are much better stores in Tokyo for this. The magazine selection is pretty good, but as with all overseas publications sold in Tokyo, expect to pay around 1,500 - 2,000 yen per copy. The store is useful for greetings cards, however. Japan know little about greetings cards, so this place is a good resource for them, where you can find cards or actual quality.