In my konbini (コンビニ) column (yes, as in about convenience stores) for GetHiroshima next week, I’m talking about the similarities and differences I found between East and West Japan, so if you read my blog and also follow my konbini adventures, I’m totally giving you a sneak-peek!
If you don’t, you should, but I’ve decided to do the same here for this week’s column.
Yep, talk about Daiso East versus West.
To sum it up in one sentence:
It’s the same…
Except for the limited space in places like Tokyo where the majority of stores consist of multiple floors, not spread-out on one level.
There is, however, a little more competition. By this, I mean that although people do shop at Daiso and although it is still the main choice for shoppers, it does need to keep ahead of the game because there are other 100 yen shops to choose from, some with a particular focus on a specific type of product such as homewares. Like Le-Plus for example.
I’m not saying that these are better than Daiso, I’m simply saying that there are other places to choose from and some people prefer certain 100 yen shops for certain products.
I like Daiso the best because it’s practical, fun and is of good quality. Plus, all the items are made in Japan; in Higashihiroshima in fact. Not all the 100-yen shop products at other chains can boast the same.
In Hiroshima, just like the East, we do have the Can Do and Seria 100 yen chains. We also have the 3 Coins one, but obviously, this isn’t 100 yen (duh! Hence the name!)
On my trip to Tokyo though, I must say, I’m really starting to see that the sun rises in the East (innovative creations and interesting and quirky people) and sets in stone in the West. Yes, on more than one occasion I’ve heard Japanese people say that Hiroshima is super conservative. In other words, if a new business really wants to test the longevity of its product/products, try it out in Hiroshima. The critics are harsh and traditional. They don’t like to change or deviate from what they know.
I do believe that Hiroshima has the population and interest to sustain new chains of 100 yen shops that are in the East and not here… yet. In fact, it might even be the shake-up Hiroshima needs. Are you sensing I really did discover how much I’ve missed Tokyo and life there?
Hands down my favourite 100 yen shop I found in Tokyo though is the Lawson Store 100.
You don’t need to ask why because the reason is obvious.
The Lawson Store 100 is both a konbini AND a 100-yen shop.
Could there be anything more perfect or necessary in this world?
I think not.
Here is a brilliant concept which combines two uniquely Japanese shops, both of which are an essential and everyday part of life in Japan.
The Lawson Store 100 has the usual, ‘Lawson,’ logo so it’s easily recognisable, but yes, with (most) products at 100 yen.
Basically, it’s a 100-yen store for food. Since I love food and I also love cheap stuff, it’s a match made in heaven.
Here are some of the goodies I found:
Yep, a Lawson Store 100 brand of my favourite Strong Zero products. No, I didn’t get to try any because I was taking medication for sinus and couldn’t drink. Sigh. Not to worry. I will just have to go back and try them. All.
Of course there are also onigiri (おにぎり) or riceballs, but the price isn’t much more in an ordinary store anyway.
The best thing are the fruit and vegetables for 100 yen. Yes, EVERYTHING for 100 yen. As anyone who has lived and worked in Tokyo knows, things are more expensive and never has that been more-true for fruit and vegetables. This kind of store and savings is heaven sent.
So yes, I did discover that Daiso is much the same everywhere, but Tokyo, you opened up a whole new world of possibilities for other 100 yen stores. I miss you already…