The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 9

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Just to let you know as a follow-up to last week’s column, no matter which Daiso branch I went to, they have decided to discontinue the shape of that lightbulb. Instead, I opted to get a plain round LED type and yes, it works just fine.

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I was just so glad I didn’t electrocute myself when I plugged it in. Actually, I turned off the main switch just in case because I wasn’t sure whether I’d turned the light on or off after the bulb blew. If I was dead you wouldn’t get this week’s column and that would be a great shame. A shame that I’d be dead I mean, not about the column.

As for this week’s column, since I have my tattoos now… wait, I didn’t tell you all! Yes, I am now the proud owner of two wrist tattoos: one very small and one medium size and being in Japan, thus need to cover them up during work hours. Here they are:

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Getting back to my story, I need cover-ups.

So… I’ve been embracing the Japanese women’s summer trend of wearing those arm sleeve things. You know the ones I mean. The ones that cover you from wrist to nearly your armpits. I actually bought my first pair about a month before I got my tattoos; I liked the tie-dyed inspired purple and thought they’d look funky with my fluro-yellow tutu skirt. They are hot though, so I went looking for some shorter ones the other day and came up with… black mesh gloves! Yes, the ones that 80s rockers wore, like Madonna, although for some reason I feel very Michael Jacksonish when I wear mine. Except they’re black and not white (God, I didn’t even mean to make that song reference) and I wear two and not one. Okay, they’re nothing like Michael Jackson. Scrap that thought.

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My friend was also at Daiso the other day and messaged to tell me she’d found something she knew I’d like. She sent through a photo and I told her to buy it for me immediately and that I’d pay her back.

This is what she bought me:

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Oh yeah! Tattoo sleeves!

I know that seems kind of stupid considering I have real ones that I’m trying to cover up, but to be truthful, I just liked them and thought they were cool.

She also found these two and ended up buying all three types for herself. J She’s yet to wear them. So am I for that matter.

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I have discovered I also have a major thing for Daiso’s new jewellery range. I’ve gone back to wearing multiple necklaces like I used to do when I was at primary school (elementary school, for non-Aussies) and am layering my latest Daiso purchase with ones from other shops.

Last Friday I was heading out to meet someone and I needed to kill some time beforehand. I popped into Daiso and found a really cute, silver necklace with a little feather charm on it. I was wearing a tribal-inspired outfit at the time so it went with it perfectly.

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I now can’t stop wearing it with my other two favourite necklaces of the moment.

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I just realised that I didn’t actually have a main point this week to focus on, I simply wanted to share my latest purchases. Saying that though, now that I’ve gotten to the end, I do have a point and that is:

Do not discount Daiso for things like jewellery etc. simply because you’re being a snob and don’t think they would have anything that’s worth it. It’s a great place to go at the last minute to find something a little unique because most people won’t be shopping there for the same reason that you, snobby bum, haven’t been.

Better still, go to Daiso and find stuff that isn’t the norm and change it up to make it your own. Own that shit, bitch. Work it baby! You know what I mean.

And saying that, I’m off to start new week’s column because I just had a brilliant idea! Next week will also be the final column for summer stuff as it will be September the following week and the shops have already started on their autumn and Halloween ranges. Yep, fast I know!

Have a great week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 8

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This week I’ve had particularly bad PMS (sorry for the overshare or TMI there, but it’s true). That means a few things: A. I’ve deleted people on LINE (chat app we use here in Japan) because they’ve pissed me off, B. I’ve said some mean (but often true) stuff to people I know that probably needed to be said, C. Have written a heap of emotionally charged stuff, posted it/haven’t posted it and D. Am angry with most of the men I know.

Anyway, what has all this got to do with my Daiso column? Well, it just so happens that I was trying to brainstorm ideas of what I wanted to write about and I decided to tell you some of the things about Daiso that piss me off.

Take my hand cream for example.

After weeks and weeks, I finally decided to get my act together and stop putting off buying new hand cream. Why would I put it off? Firstly, because I never waste anything. I will squeeze and squeeze that tube until I can’t get anything more out of it. I will then cut the tube open with scissors and scrape out the dregs. No wastage here, no siree! Secondly, because you can only buy it at certain Daiso branches.

I know I spoke about this briefly last week, but I realised it really does piss me off. It means that if I want that product, in this case, hand cream, I have to go to the stores that have it. Now the Yokogawa branch does have the brand, but only in Rose fragrance which I detest. I use the Shea Butter one and that, my friends, can only be found at the Tokaichi store.

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Sigh.

It was so hot and I wasn’t feeling well, so I went to the Yokogawa branch, completely forgetting that it wouldn’t be there. My excuse? The heat has muddled my brain. Ah, but something happened.

I found a new hand cream. I guess this is what people call serendipity.

The thing was though, the new hand cream costs 300 yen. 300 YEN!

It’s not a ‘Daiso,’ brand. I think I just liked the packaging and the name of it to be honest. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want to go, ‘Dancing All Night?” And, it also has the words, ‘Body Fantasies,’ on it… I’m not quite sure what to make of that. I’ve certainly never had body fantasies involving hand cream, but then again, maybe the combination of that with ‘Dancing All Night,’ is some kind of code for something else… ???

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Despite the pretty packaging, I wasn’t even sure what it smelt like because they didn’t have a sample, which brings me to another point.

Why doesn’t Daiso have samples for these kind of things? Hmm, Daiso? Answer me that?

And let me just repeat, this was a 300-yen hand cream.

When I came home and used it I found I was very pleasantly surprised by the smell. Good choice. Did I mention it was 300 yen? Okay, okay, I need to let that go.

Ah yes, another thing that’s made me mad or possibly a better choice of word is, ‘disappointed,’ lately with Daiso, are their banana chips. Yes, the ones I raved about back in Chapter 2.

The last two packs I’ve bought have been stale. Yes, the normally crispy and crunchy texture has been replaced by an almost chewy, floury alternative. I don’t want that to be my alternative, so for the moment, I’m ditching them. I don’t understand how something in a sealed packet can be stale.

The final straw occurred just three days ago when I went to Daiso to buy a new lightbulb. Before I left my apartment, I took a photo of the lightbulb, wrote down all the necessary requirements of what I needed, voltage etc. and then headed out.

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Sorry for the shitty and very blurry photo there… I was in a hurry!

I was scanning the wall where the bulbs are located and couldn’t seem to find what I wanted so I called one of the staff over to assist me. After she also scanned the walls she said, “I’m sorry, Daiso doesn’t have that type.”

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK.

LADY.

?!

Do you see this photo people?!

Daiso!

I left this big (and blurry) to make my point. One word: Daiso.

What brand do you see written on it?

Why do you think I would go to Daiso to buy it if I didn’t know it was from there?!

Baka (ばか), which has a number of translations depending on how much force you say it with, who you are saying it to etc., but basically means idiot. And by this, I don’t mean me.

So, I guess it requires another trip to ANOTHER Daiso to find what I want. I’m starting to think that Daiso could benefit from taking a page out of konbini (コンビニコンビニ) books and standardising their products from store to store. This would mean frustrated customers like myself wouldn’t have to traipse around half the city to find exactly what they are looking for. In fact, it’s one of those things that could even result in the person just saying, “Fuck it!” and going to a home store where yes, the price is more expensive, but you are guaranteed to find what you’re looking for no matter which one you go to.

That is my rant about Daiso for this week. Hopefully next week I’ll be back calmer (and perhaps more lenient/rational/insert your choice of word here, men) with some positive stuff to say about Daiso and some nice new goodies I’ve found.

Over and out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 7

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I have a confession to make. I have a serious shopping problem. It used to be a lot worse but it hasn’t been so bad in recent years. I used to do it when I was stressed. Now I just do it because I like it.

I have a few places around town here in Hiroshima that I frequent when the urge strikes: Book Off, Sun Mall and…

Daiso.

Yes, Daiso.

And the way I justify it is that everything is so cheap, where’s the problem in that? I guess that’s kind of the same argument that drug addicts have when they say things like, “Oh, it’s only weed,” or, “It’s only a gram,” but anyway, I’m sure you understand my point is a little different… isn’t it?

So, Daiso.

Okay, well I’ve always known I liked shopping, but Daiso is a whole other level. I kind of think, wow, I got all of this for under 1000 yen (the equivalent in Australia of under $10). This is a feat I could never achieve in Australia so I guess I’ve made it my life’s goal now to just go nuts in Daiso.

The other day I ran out of hand soap and decided to go to the Daiso closest to my apartment.

Just hand soap I told myself.

Hand soap, I told myself again.

I did buy it… this time… but I have been known to go to Daiso for one thing and walk out with a bag of other products and not the thing I originally went for.

My excuse: I get distracted easily. Especially by bright, shiny things, both of which I managed to find on this shopping trip and probably the reason I walked out with a bag of other things including the hand soap.

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Bright socks: yes, I originally had these orange ones but I wore them so much they got holes in them. Luckily, they’re cheap and still available! And why stop at one when you can also buy them in bright yellow?! Not me!

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Oh, the hairclips. Yes, well, since I have a distinct lack of hair at this present moment, I figured why should I go without them? I’ve never been one to use products from Daiso (or anywhere else for that matter) for their original purpose; I generally modify them. So why not just use them to decorate outfits etc.? Especially since they’re lovely summer items.

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And they’re sparkly.

Let me repeat that.

They’re sparkly!

I guess I’m a bit like the bowerbirds we have in Australia in that respect. Bowerbirds like shiny, sparkly and often blue things, so just like them, I continue to collect and add them to my ‘nest.’ i.e. my apartment.

Watermelon and pineapple motif things are very, ‘summer,’ and are quite a big thing in Japan right now. Pineapples seem to be the flavour of the month. Oh, my God, did you just see what I did? That pun was brilliant and totally accidental. 🙂 I have a bit of a thing for pineapples right now too actually…

Speaking of my hairclips, I wore them out the other day and a friend asked if I’d made them. I told her I’d bought them from Daiso. She was like, yeah so you bought the stuff from Daiso to make them? No, I bought them like this, I told her firmly. Why was she asking this?

Because they face the opposite way.

She was right, I thought! Hairclips are always made to face the same direction so when you wear both, one of them ends up being upside down. Gee Daiso, you’ve done it again!

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Oh, and the wool? Well I bought a pompom maker a few weeks back (yes, I know you can make them, but they wear out when they’re made from cardboard). I decided to finally buy some wool instead of just letting the maker go unused so since I like red, black and yellow, I bought them all. The other multi-coloured blue one? Hmm, I actually bought it to make one for someone I know, but now, I may just make a heap of them as ‘sea creatures’ or some such thing for summer and myself instead. The limit is my imagination, which scarily, knows no bounds!

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Oh, and before I leave you this week to go and do something summery and exciting (sadly, this will probably be sitting in my air-conditioned room and reading a book), I had to pass on my mum’s message about Daiso.

After reading my column last week she reminded me and therefore, told me to tell you all, that her favourite Daiso branch is the Danbara one. I agree it is well set-out and as I mentioned last week, they have some products you can’t buy anywhere else. She also has a bit of a thing for that shopping centre in general. She likes the simplicity of the shops or something like that. Sorry, this is turning into an advertisement for Aeon Mall. Not intentional!

Okay people, enjoy the weather (yeah right!), keep cool (or warm if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) and peace out. That final reference is to this week’s anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6. No More Hiroshimas. xxx ooo

The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 6

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Wow! I can’t believe this is Chapter 6 already! How time flies when you’re having fun and believe me, I’ve been having fun. Sooooo much fun in fact, because I found something that made me laugh probably more than I should have. Let me show you the photo first and then explain.

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This keychain was 150 yen instead of the usual 100 yen (+ 8% tax), but man… how totally worth it, is it?! I think my kindergarten students are starting to rub off on me. I now say, “Ouchie,” instead of, “It hurts,” and, “poo poo,’ has simply become part of my vocabulary. I guess that’s what happens when you teach four year olds! 🙂 In fact, this poo keychain is the third poo emoji thing I’ve bought in the past six months… you can see where this is headed…

Anyway, unfortunately you can’t see what happens when you push the poo… but, it farts. Yep. If you’re on Instagram, check out the video on my jack_crispy account. It’s hilarious. Yeah, I know, you shouldn’t laugh at your own jokes, but it technically it isn’t my joke, it’s the poo’s joke. I laughed even more when I thought of giving it to someone I know and saying, “This is for you because you’re a piece of shit.” He would totally appreciate that. The poo keychain I mean, not being called a piece of shit.

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Now for something a little bit more serious.

Last Friday afternoon I was walking out of the Johoku Astram Line Station thinking about this column and how it’s not my konbini [コンビニ] one. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but the konbini one was quite successful and I’ve been having misgivings about this one. Just like a second book, it has a lot riding on it. You’ve got people expecting great things from you and you don’t want to disappoint them. You also don’t want to be known as the dreaded one-hit wonder.

Anyway, I happened to run into a friend of mine who I haven’t seen for ages and one of the first things he said was that he enjoys reading my new column. That made me feel a lot better.

Thank you, Jim.

So, this week’s column…

I was sitting in Shareo the other day just after seeing Jim and thinking of the angle I wanted to take for this week. I scribbled down a few ideas and something got me thinking (yes, yet again! You have no idea…)

Firstly, I’m a bit of a whore. Sorry, that’s not what I wanted to say at all… let me rephrase that. I’m a bit of a konbini whore. I go to each and every which one to get what I need and will quite happily forgo one for weeks on end if they’re not satisfying me. Btw, just to make sure we’re clear… I’m not a whore either.

The idea made me realise that with Daiso… well, although I do go to different branches of Daiso, I’m faithful. I don’t like other 100 yen shops and I’m not a huge fan of the quality or the products of the 300 yen ones either. Maybe I found The One. Daiso is pretty much the same everywhere… or is it?

Well, that’s what I decided to find out.

Just like konbini, Daiso is a franchise. You can generally find most products in any store, but I have found sometimes that I can’t find a few obscure things in every single one I go to. Like Balance Power bars for example. They’re kind of like a nutrition bar that are low in calories (kJ, whatever you want to call them!) and are actually super yummy, rather than tasting like cardboard.

This packet isn’t from Daiso (in Daiso they’re normally in small cardboard packs), but this one product I’ve only ever found in one store in Hiroshima: the one in Danbara in Aeon Mall.

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Secondly, there’s no set layout for Daiso so walking into one is not the same as walking into another. I remember once walking into a Big W (kind of like a Walmart, but in Australia and usually without as many freaks or fat people; yes, that’s politically incorrect, but true), in Bundaberg that was set out EXACTLY the same as my hometown. It was a surreal moment that freaked me out and made me feel like I was on the set of ‘The Twilight Zone’.

Now, thirdly and getting back to my konbini whore nature comment and Daiso… Yes, in my neighbourhood and a little further afield, I generally frequent three different stores:

  • The Yokogawa Station one;
  • The one near my apartment (I’m not telling you where in case you’re a freaky stalker) and
  • The Dobashi/Tokaichi one (sorry, I’m not clear which area it’s classified in, but Hiroshima folks will know which one I mean).

Are they the same?

No.

They have (mostly) all the same products, but the layout and even the opening hours are totally different. This makes it a pain in the butt sometimes when you need something at a certain time and there’s half an hour difference between opening hours from one shop to another.

The Yokogawa Station one is 6 floors, while the other two are both first floor (some people say ground floor) ones. I think it’s a lot easier to find what you want at the Yokogawa one simply because it tells you what’s located on each floor; the one level stores you need to wander around despite each aisle having a big banner describing the contents.

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Well, that’s my week done and let me just say, thank you to the people who continue to read this, thank you for telling me you enjoy it and thank you for letting me be honest and telling you my own insecurities about my writing and whether it’s good enough/lives up to my (and maybe other people’s) expectations. Ah yes, expectations…

I’m off to start thinking about next week!

Hoo roo! (that’s Aussie speak for goodbye!)

My new photography project 

I think I may have found my new hobby: taking photos of bus shelter advertisements. 

I find them really interesting because not only do they advertise new products, places or events, they also represent the seasons. 

Since it’s summer there are plenty of sunscreen, beer and cool drink product ads. Actually, who am I kidding? Beer and alcohol in general are advertised ALL the time in Japan. 

Japan is all about seasons. They love any excuse to tell you all about them. In my konbini and also my new Daiso column I frequently talked/talk about the seasons. Being from Australia in a hometown that has maybe… two seasons… I love Japan and the fact that each season brings new things. There’s always something to look forward to. 

The other thing I find really interesting about bus shelter advertisements is that often times local celebrities are featured so you can tell where you are just by looking at them. 

The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 5

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I’m back!

Obviously, my mum didn’t kill me and actually, she thought it was quite amusing. When I rang her the other day, she told me another story about her making a major faux paus. This time it involved someone she thought who had passed away, but is still very much alive. I realised she’s quite the comedian and of course, she’s always a welcome addition to my column. 🙂

This week… Ah, this week I’d like to begin by telling you another story. It doesn’t feature my mum, but it did get me thinking and have me scurrying for a pen and paper to jot down the idea. Now bear with me, this story does have a point and it is about Daiso, but I need to set the scene by outlining the lead-up to why I decided to write about it this week.

Last weekend I was in SunMall in Hondori in downtown Hiroshima when I decided to check out the clothing store, GU. I was thinking of getting some more teeny-tiny shorts to wear at home for summer but as I walked in, what I saw, made me stop dead.

Summer is over. Apparently.

Yes, it may be July, but GU (and other stores) have decided they need to bring in their autumn range already. This has to be the earliest I’ve ever seen anywhere.

So, it got me thinking? What about Daiso?

I wasn’t sure, so I decided to investigate…

NOTHING.

Absolutely nothing.

Daiso is one of the few, smart, business-minded companies that don’t cash in on the whole ridiculously early thing with products for the following season. It’s refreshing to see. In other words, when I went in today I was bombarded with hats, fans, sunflowers, deodorant sheets and other ice-cool goods. Summer isn’t going anywhere just yet…

Anyway, for the rest of the week I was out finding things for my kindergarten students that will not only keep them entertained, but also happy. Summer vacation is technically here, but the summer program has just begun and so I still need a few goodies up my sleeve.

Daiso has a fantastic range of stickers which I’m always buying to give as rewards for good behaviour and just general fun. I especially like the raised squishy ones instead of just plain flat ones. The kids love them too. They were so excited about these cute animal ones. I may have also ‘borrowed’ a few for myself. Shhh, they will never know.

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The other product I found and jumped around like a little kid about was something I am totally going back to buy for myself… sticker books. Yes, the reusable ones I used to have when I was about five. I bought four different types: an aquarium one, a zoo one, a restaurant and food one and a car, truck and all other types of vehicles one for the boys.

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Daiso, you’ve done it again!

Next week… No, you’ll have to wait until then.

Have a good week and since rainy season is officially over, keep cool and hydrated with all this sunshine!