Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Hundred-Yen Shop

The 100-yen shop is a cultural institution in Japan. Like their US counterparts, the dollar stores (100 yen is about $1), they sell a little bit of everything, from fish food to frying pans. Unlike dollar stores, though, 100-yen shops have become the first stop for most small household goods and things like stationery and writing supplies. As newcomers, we've been steered to the 100-yen shop time and time again for things like tupperware, cleaning supplies, lunch boxes, and even sandals.

Here are just a few shots from a 100-yen shop we visited downtown last weekend.

This one was in a long, covered pedestrian street stuffed with shops and restaurants. It's a Daiso, part of the largest chain of 100-yen shops. You can find Daiso shops scattered throughout Asia (converted into the local currency, of course), and there's even on in Canada.
On the one hand, the clutter goes against the usual stereotypes about Japanese minimalism and organization. On the other hand, despite the apparent chaos of the place, it is actually pretty neat and tidy inside.

Daiso also seems to sell the smallest folding stools in the history of mankind. I don't know a single adult who could fit more than one buttcheek on that thing.

(Hand model credit goes to Matt Buck.)

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