Happy Midsummer or Litha! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on. If you do know what I’m talking about, read on anyway… this is The Daiso Diaries. You know it’s going to be quality stuff. 😉
Wednesday 21, as in two days ago was the Summer Solstice. For all you hippies out there, you know this and most Japanese people know this too simply because they’re so into seasons. My Western counterparts, however, may not.
The Summer Solstice is the height of summer in that it’s the longest day (i.e. longest amount of sunlight) and the shortest night. Lots of Pagan festivals centre around this and our ancestors would have celebrated it, but for us living in the modern world, we’ve mostly forgotten.
Why am I talking about it here? Well, because like the rest of Japanese society that is obsessed with the seasons, Daiso too uses it to maximum advantage.
Thus, this week’s column and the first official chapter of The Daiso Diaries is about the great summer products now available.
Living and working in Japan you cannot help but be influenced by what’s going on around you. That means that sometime ago I started decorating my apartment for each season and special event on the calendar.
I picked up a great little summer decoration for my front door the other day that features a very summer pastime: catching goldfish or kingyo (金魚). At any matsuri (祭り) or festival you will find pools of water where you can scoop up your very own goldfish and take it home.
Daiso also has sensu (扇子) or foldable fans, hats and those crazy long arm protectors that many Japanese women are fanatical about.
Clothing and accessories aside there is also a great collection of fake sunflowers and the beautiful blue hydrangeas or ajisai (紫陽花) as they say in Japanese. Yes, in nature there are also pink ones, but these don’t seem to be as popular and aren’t featured as fake flowers to buy for summer from Daiso. For those gardening geeks (or just interested people), hydrangeas change colour based on the pH level of the soil. The more alkaline, the pinker they get. Therefore, to make them extra blue you need to increase the acidity of the soil. Wow, the things you learn from The Daiso Diaries. I can feel how impressed you are through your computer/smartphone.
Heading to the kitchen section I also found this great summer drinks glass. With its candy stripes and thick straw, it reminds me of summer days at the beach or festivals with icy, sticky drinks from my childhood. It’s a little difficult to see in the photo, but it actually says, ‘Country Fair Drinking Jar,’ on the glass. Exactly. At the moment, I’m using it to drink iced tea from, but I’m fairly sure I’ll be using it for something alcohol related in the next few weeks. 🙂 Oh, who am I kidding?! I’ve been using it for awhile now with alcohol. I feel it makes me a little classier than sipping chuuhai (チューハイ) from the can when I’m at home.
Oh and if you like smelling good all the time and are sweating like a pig in this summer humidity (and thus, not smelling as sweet as you usually do), then the scented body sheets are for you. Most are usually cool and refreshing, as well as being scented and so you end up feeling a little like your body just brushed its teeth and then drank water. Yep, that slightly stinging/burning sensation, but refreshingly icy, minty, cool and clean feel too. For just 100 yen (+ the obligatory 8% tax), that’s a bargain and much, much cheaper (and just as good, if not better) than some of the ones you can buy at places like Wants.
So there you have it… the essentials you can find at Daiso to keep you cool, calm and collected (and your apartment well decorated!) for summer.
Stay cool and I’ll back again next week.