The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 20

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Last time I wrote I had yet another sinus infection. Well, after demanding a week of antibiotics from the doctor, I am better, but I don’t think it had anything to do with the medicine.

Let me explain.

As you all know, last week I decided to give myself some time off/out/whatever word you want to use, from the Internet and social media and well, communication in general actually.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past few months (oh, okay, the past two years) about staying in Japan or deciding to move on and I finally made the decision.

I’m moving back to Australia in January.

And making that decision was what I believe cleared up my sinus infection. It was mostly from stress.

Now I don’t want this week’s column to be all about that (I’ll write a separate blog post), but I do need to say that I won’t be continuing my Daiso column in Australia. It’s a Japanese thing, not an Australian thing and anyway, I’ll be really busy with my new job! (I’ll also be writing a post on this).

Anyway, let’s just launch into this week’s column and I’ll tell you at the end when my final column will be.

I once said that I was going to set myself the challenge of eating only konbini (コンビニ) food for a week, but so far, I’ve never done it. Either the appeal wore off or I realised my diet was comprised of mostly konbini food anyway, so it was hardly a challenge.

I was thinking about that the other day and then started considering the food possibilities in Daiso and whether you could actually make a full week of eating ONLY Daiso products. After browsing in my local Daiso, I decided it is ABSOLUTELY doable.

In fact, there are enough options to eat something different for every meal for seven days. Yep, you heard me; no repeats. I’m not saying these are going to be balanced or healthy meals, but it is food (of a sort). And because I’m an amazing person, I have devised a sample menu of three meals a day and snacks. Obviously, nothing is fresh. Duh.

So, let’s begin!

Monday:

Breakfast: Blendy coffee stick Café Au Lait (‘half the calories’ brand).

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Lunch: Onigiri (おにぎり) or riceballs (however many you want!)

NOTE: Not all shops have these! Wait, I said nothing was fresh…these are fresh (kind of) if you can find them. Not all Daiso branches stock them.

Dinner: Cup noodles.

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Snacks: Banana chips. I can eat a pack in one sitting as a snack, but I guess you could be frugal and split it for two snacks in a day.

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Tuesday:

Breakfast: SoyJoy breakfast/snack bars (all different flavours so you can choose whatever suits your fancy).

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Lunch: Miso soup (whatever flavour you want; many kinds).

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Dinner: Hello Kitty pasta shapes with canned tomatoes and spices or a ready-made pasta sauce (YES! All available at Daiso!)

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Snacks: Pickled plums.

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Wednesday:

Breakfast: Muffin Cakes.

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Lunch: Sandwich with beans and/or corn (the bread and other baked goods are usually at the front of the shop or just near the cash registers).

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Dinner: Curry.

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Snacks: Fruit tea.

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Okay, I’m bored. You get my point. It IS possible to find food to eat at Daiso for every meal.

The question is: do you want to?

The answer is either: A. No, not really or B. Hell yes, because I’m paying less than 1000 yen per day to eat.

Fuck! That’s cheap! That would literally halve my weekly food budget… but… and there is a but… I would probably be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals.

Then again… Daiso also has a section of health supplements…

It’s all up to you!

What do you really want?

I know what I want.

And that brings me to the end of this week’s column and in fact, the end of The Daiso Diaries. Yep, I decided I need the time to start getting ready and packed up and writing these consists of a lot of time and research. I’ve had a blast and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. I will be starting some new projects back in Australia as well as a new blog… so stay tuned! I will let you know, I promise.

Thank you.

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The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 19

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WARNING: This week’s column has an extreme language warning. If you are easily offended by offensive language, sorry, we can’t be friends, I’m an Aussie and even us chicks have potty mouths. If you don’t like it, too fucking bad mate. To everyone else, please enjoy. 🙂

 

Halloween is officially over and yes, the Christmas decorations etc. have already appeared. In fact, they appeared just before Halloween was over. As in, the Halloween stuff had been cleared and was on discount tables outside and the Christmas stuff had already taken over.

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But I don’t want to talk about Christmas this week because it’s too depressing. I don’t want to think about the end of the year and yet at the same time, I desperately want this year to be over…

Instead, I want to talk about this wonderful time of year for the autumn leaves, but shitty for all of us with allergies. Seriously people, I’m going to be all Aussie here and just say it honestly:

Fuck this shit.

Fuck the allergies I’ve had for weeks.

Fuck the fluctuating temperatures (thanks a fucking lot global warming and fucking stupid humans like Donald Trump who don’t believe in it!)

These two lovely factors (as well as a few others I won’t go into here) have combined to make my life a living hell. Four sick days in just over a month because of sinus infections.

Yes, I’m angry.

And anger is a wonderful motivator for writing. Thanks for the inspiration.

In this week’s column, I want to talk about my top three products that are available at Daiso (the first, all year round and the other two exclusively for the cooler months) to make your life a little easier and mine a little warmer so maybe, just maybe I can get over this latest infection.

Number One: Masks:

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You can get these all year round, but I use these from September to… well… till whenever I need them. I wear them at night while I’m sleeping so that I can smell my own shitty, sinus-infected snot, sorry, that slipped out… I meant to say, so that I can create a nice humid environment so that my mucus membranes don’t dry out (that sounds all lovely and scientific of me, doesn’t it?) Apparently that can cause issues and it also keeps the nasties out and by this, I mean the dust that is sitting around in my apartment which desperately needs to be cleaned. Properly. With an exorcism. Sorry… I mean by a vacuum cleaner.

Some people insist on buying expensive masks, but seriously, buying five in a pack at a pharmacy/chemist/drugstore (insert your country’s word for it here) for up to 500 yen is a total rip-off. Do yourself a favour and go to Daiso and buy 30 in a pack for 108 yen (including tax) total. Bargain mate.

 

Number Two: Hand warmers (known as kairo or カイロ):

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One word: fucking brilliant. Sorry, that’s two words but who fucking cares. You get my point.

These lovely little packs of warm and toasty goodness can be added to your pockets to keep your hands, well, warm and toasty when you dip them in.

How do they work?

You open the individual packets and whatever is in them is activated when the air hits them. I know that’s not very scientific in keeping with the above stuff, but I don’t know and it doesn’t matter, because all I need to know is that it keeps me warm. I always squish them and roll them around in my hands to speed-up the process before I insert them into my pockets. The Daiso ones being so cheap don’t stay as warm of course as the more expensive ones you can buy at the pharmacy or supermarkets, but hey, they’re good enough. Bring a spare two to work or wherever you’re going and you’re set for the day. Be warned, they do get hot.

 

Number Three: Sticky hot patches (known as haru taipu kairo  貼るタイプカイロ or adhesive-type kairo):

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These babies keep me alive in winter here. You peel off the sticky back and attach them to your clothes, NOT your skin. They are super-hot and will last all night and well into the morning if you put one on. I like to add them to my lower back and ladies, they’re also great for period pain believe it or not. It’s like walking around with a hot water bottle, except you don’t have one. Again, you know what I mean. There are also types you can stick to your socks and for me, that’s wonderful, because my feet are often the only part of me that I can’t seem to make warm and they’re making me so cold I can’t think about anything else.

Yep, that’s my top three, guaranteed to make you feel a little more human instead of the ice cube you may resemble at times during autumn and of course, in winter. Go down to your nearest Daiso and find them! And yes, Aussie fans of Daiso, you can get them there too because I looked up their Australian website. And yes, Japanese people (and foreigners who don’t know), in some places in Australia it’s very cold and in fact, just as cold as Japan.

Keep warm and let’s hope this sinus infection (and the ones that will try to follow it up), fuck offs and goes away. It’s only autumn and I already feel like I have the winter blues.

Until next week, over and out. Roger that.

P.S. I’m not even sure I know what, ‘Roger that,’ means, but it sounds like something I should say to end.

Roger that.

 

 

The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 18

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Last week I told you I was going to report on Halloween stuff for this week’s column. I did a bit of this back in Chapter 12, but that was a general discussion. For this, I decided to combine two weeks of columns and focus specifically on using Daiso items to make a costume: namely mine for my school’s Halloween party which is this week.

Well, that was the original plan… but anyway, let me proceed and then get back to this point later on.

Before going to Daiso, I thought I’d go to Donki or Don Quijote for some inspiration. For those not familiar with the shop, it’s a discount store with… well everything in the world. Think of it as a type of, ‘if-you-can’t-find-it-here-than-it-doesn’t-exist,’ kind of place.

Well… I knew it before, but seriously Japan, there are other things in the world that you can dress up as (if you’re a woman) that do not include the word, ‘sexy.’

Sexy nurse.

Sexy policewoman.

Sexy teacher (excuse me, I’m a kindergarten teacher- there is nothing, ‘sexy,’ about my job!)

I’m wondering though why they don’t have say, ‘Sexy funeral parlour director,’ or ‘Sexy accountant.’ Are they saying these jobs aren’t sexy? Or, are the people who do these jobs not sexy? Seriously though, have the people who made these costumes seen some of the nurses or policewomen or in fact, teachers, who exist in the real world? Just saying!

Anyway, I’m not sure, ‘sexy,’ is the right word. Maybe they could rename the costumes something like, ‘Slutty nurse,’ or perhaps, ‘Sex worker nurse,’ instead.

Now, after all the talk this week (and last) about Harvey Weinstein and yes, the fact that I’m a woman, should stop me from saying or writing any of the above comments about other women because hell, we should be able to wear whatever we want; I agree. I’m simply wondering why every single costume for women needs to consist of… well, very little material and more of something you’d see in a porn magazine or possibly an adult shop. Probably because they were designed by men or stupid women who feel that they need to wear this shit for whatever reason.

Okay, I’ll stop with my political rant and continue with the real point of this column: my Daiso costume.

After being overwhelmed by all things sexual in Donki, I decided this year to just go to Daiso for all my Halloween costume needs. It’s super cheap as opposed to 3000-4000 yen for a costume and it’s not pre-packaged and generic (read boring).

So… the question is… what should I go as? I still haven’t really decided at this point in time, but I do have a few ideas…  I don’t want to choose in a hurry though just for the purpose of this column, so what I did was snap a few photos of items I thought were fun and interesting and then talk about how you can incorporate them using other stuff from Daiso, or stuff you already own in your wardrobe.

🙂

Firstly, these devil horns. Easy. Pair them with a tutu over black tights and some black heels (or whatever else, if you’re a guy), pick yourself up a pitchfork (also available from Daiso) if you so please and wear a plain black or red top. Easy! You’re fully clothed and you look stylish, rather than like a hooker. Yes, Donki, I’m talking to you!

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If you’re a bit of a mask fan, there are tons of options for you. I like masks for the simple fact that not only are they a bit mysterious, they minimise that whole need for a lot of eye make-up that is so popular at Halloween. And… like me, if you wear glasses, you won’t know who anyone is either, whether they’re wearing a mask or not because you won’t be able to see them! 🙂

Many young girls and women (and one of my little guy students actually!) love princesses and wearing a costume that makes them feel like one is often a dream come true. I have a long princess skirt that I bought second hand for 500 yen ($5 or so for Aussies) and if I pair it with a top of any description, put on this mask and add a tiara/crown (Daiso has good toy ones), I’m instantly a princess. No, I don’t necessarily want or need the prince to go with it as an accessory. The white horse maybe.

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Come to think of it, I have an orange tutu and an orange wig and if I paired this with the mask, I could be a… masked pumpkin… whatever that is. I figure it’s best to go as something a little off centre since that’s my normal approach to fashion.

Witches hats in all colours and designs are available from Daiso too. You just have to wear all black which everyone has at home. Add a broom (also available at Daiso) and you’re set! If you have a real live black cat as a pet, that’s also a great accessory.

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I’m really (REALLY) into cats and the obsession is getting worse. So, when I saw this mask I got super excited and thought, oh, oh, I could go as a cat. I already own two sets of ears, one furry and one wire headband, so it’s easy to assemble. I have no real explanation for why I own them; I just liked them. Again, wearing all black… easy peasy Japanesey, which is appropriate since we are in Japan. I guess you could add a tail??? I have no suggestions as to where to buy one though because I’m not usually on the look-out for tails. I do own one in Australia though… but it’s white and fluffy and goes with my Easter Bunny costume. Don’t ask.

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Finally, and this one got me super excited, you could go as a clown weirdo or as Daiso has named this… a skeleton mask. I’m not sure what kind of skeleton has rosy red cheeks and red lipstick, but maybe they have different kinds of skeletons in Japan…

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Either way, you could go for the drama option and make him a kind of theatre performer with all black clothes (cape optional) or don an afro orange wig and weird wacky clothes and be a clown. I’m guessing they’ll be lots of clown costumes considering the new, ‘It,’ is being released soon… And after all this rain in Hiroshima, the quote, “We all float down here,” suddenly seems very apt.

So yeah, that’s my take on Halloween costumes from Daiso. The possibilities are endless. In fact, you don’t even have to use Halloween stuff. You can simply think of another costume idea and then buy the required stuff from Daiso. With most things at 100 yen (plus tax of course!) you can make a much cheaper costume than ready-to-wear costumes in a pack.

Donki, eat your heart out.

Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 17

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Another week has gone already. Most of mine was spent in Tokyo which was lovely and most definitely needed and sure, I found perhaps the most widely talked-about Daiso in Japan, but to be honest, it wasn’t my favourite.

Where am I talking about?

The Takeshita-Dori branch located in Harajuku.

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As a side note, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Japan or just Japanese pop culture and fashion in general, Harajuku is THE fashion mecca of the country and a significant place in the world too for anyone interested in those things. It’s where the weird and wonderful and all that’s in-between blends with the beautiful, creative and highly imaginative worlds of the people who inhabit and visit the area.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yes, describing the shop itself.

It’s multi-leveled and to be brutally honest, no different from any other Daiso in my opinion. Unlike other branches though, I don’t like the vibe. It feels funny and rather than the light, bright and cheery mood usually associated with Daiso, going up the stairs on the first floor made me dark and gloomy. I guess the Halloween products didn’t help, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

Instead, my favourite branch of Daiso in Tokyo is the one I stumbled upon in the Tokyo Skytree Solamachi or Skytree Town building. It’s great. It still feels shiny and new and yet, it sells all your (and my) favourite products at the same prices.

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Actually, I found while I was in Tokyo that I spent more time in 100 yen chains other than Daiso. I couldn’t find what I wanted there, so I went elsewhere.

I was specifically looking for that black eyeliner pencil that I talked about back in Chapter 2.

Gone.

And not just in one branch, but ALL the branches.

It’s like the ‘anpan’ of Daiso: it apparently exists, but you can’t seem to find it anywhere. If you have NO IDEA what I’m talking about, you need to get yourself over to the GetHiroshima website and look for my konbini column. No, I’m not giving you direct links, do a bit of your own research or try typing in, ‘missing anpan GetHiroshima’ into a Google search. You’ll find it.

Whatever the case, I’d had enough of not being able to find it, so I said, “Fuck this,” to Daiso and went to Can Do instead.

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Okay, I didn’t say that, but I did think it and I only went to Can Do because I happened to be going past one and decided I was sick of looking like a tired and washed-out woman with six kids (due to my lack of eyeliner).

I was super pumped to find coloured eyeliner in shades of orange and purple, so of course I bought both. I also found what claimed to be a black eyeliner pencil, but despite the name, it’s absolutely eyeliner and nothing like a pencil.

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Anyone and everyone who knows me, knows I cannot draw to save my life (ask my students!) and this includes using eyeliner. Hence, why I buy and use pencil; it’s easier to erase!

It’s my fault really; I seem to have, ‘misplaced,’ my eye pencil which, translated in English or Japanese means, ‘lost,’ and thus, if I hadn’t have lost it, I wouldn’t need to buy a new one. Then again, if I didn’t have to buy a new one, nearly this entire chapter wouldn’t have a need to exist. So possibly, I was supposed to lose it so I would be forced to get out of my, ‘Daiso comfort zone,’ and explore new possibilities.

Or… maybe it’s a sign I need to practice drawing more.

Either way, I quite enjoyed my little adventure in a place other than Daiso. Daiso and Hiroshima are very similar for me: easy to navigate, very comfortable and not challenging me in any way, shape or form at the moment. Tokyo and Can Do and other chains were just what I needed last weekend.

Next week I’ll be reporting on all things Halloween! Make sure you get down to your local Daiso to pick up some awesome supplies for your costume!

Until then… insert witty quote here.

 

 

 

The Daiso Diaries: Chapter 16

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Location, location, location!

It’s all about the location.

Tokyo is THE location to be if you’re into Japanese fashion (or fashion in general to be honest), subculture and of course, if you’ve ever had a dream of making it in a big city.

This Saturday I’m off there yet again and I’ll be researching just what location means for Daiso in Tokyo.

In this week’s column, however, I’ve decided to take a look at the best and the worst location of Daiso in Hiroshima. Remember, this is just my opinion; you are more than welcome to disagree (Hiroshima people, obviously, I’m talking to you) and for all my other readers, tell me about your location experience, good or bad.

When I first moved to Hiroshima, I was unfortunately in a place that I now consider to be worse than my hometown. For those of you who know how much I detest my hometown and what it’s become thanks to mining, this statement means a lot!

In fact, this place makes my hometown look positively cheery and if given the option, I would surely return there, rather than face the dismal, dark, disturbing heap that is this place.

Where am I talking about?

Shitty Saijo.

Sorry, I mean Saijo. The ‘shitty,’ just came out naturally.

The only good thing about it is the sake/Nihonshuu (日本酒) and I’m fairly sure that is the only thing that makes it bearable for those who have to live there. By this, I mean they’re always drunk and don’t have to face the fact that it’s horrible. The place I mean, not the sake.

Have I mentioned I find this Godforsaken place the Hellhole of Earth?

No?

Well, let me just say it again: NOTHING good comes out of there. It is cursed.

That aside, if you live in a rural part of Hiroshima, most Daiso branches are located within shopping centres. This makes them pretty convenient because you don’t have to go out of your way to find them. You can literally do your grocery shopping and then pop into Daiso for the Essentials of Life (snacks, craft supplies and accessories… not necessarily in that order).

Although there are some Daiso in shopping centres within Hiroshima City (e.g. Aeon Mall in Fuchu- Tenjingawa Station is the closest), many also exist as stand-alone shops.

I kind of like this because it means you’re on a specific Daiso shopping expedition. Thus, you’re less likely to be distracted by other shops etc., which, to me always results in me forgetting what I went to Daiso for in the first place. Then again, if I simply go to Daiso, I often buy much, much more than I would if I was carrying bags from other shops too.

Now, let’s go for the bad news first: the worst location for Daiso in Hiroshima.

I for one feel that the worst Daiso in Hiroshima is the hole-in-the-wall (literally!) shop that is closest to Parco in Hondori. You have to fight to move past people and I have never been able to find what I want. This is probably because I’m trying to walk up the stairs which are as steep as a traditional Japanese house, and hoping to God that I don’t fall backwards and take all my fellow customers out on the way.

My biggest bone of where there SHOULD be a Daiso and there isn’t though, is Hiroshima Station.

WTF?!

It would be the perfect spot for so many reasons and would be a great last-minute gift idea place for tourists to go. Then again, this would also make most of the new shops in the station redundant, for why would you buy an expensive, boring gift when you could buy something cheap and awesome (and probably/hopefully useless) from Daiso? Mind you, I’m sure this is EXACTLY the reason they HAVEN’T put one here; they want you to have to spend your money.

I have now reached a point in my life (or possibly just in Hiroshima), where I don’t want to see anyone I know when I go downtown. Yes, that might seem antisocial and it probably is, but I have my reasons. Anyway, this means I have stopped going downtown unless I actually have to pass through it to actually get somewhere else. Also, my old favourite branch of Daiso in Hondori closed down (the end closest to the Peace Park bridge), so I learned to explore my own neighbourhood branches.

Thus, the best location of Daiso (for me) is the Yokogawa Station one. I like it for its accessories, its huge range of snacks and other easy-to-prepare-or-make foods and its craft and school supplies. It’s also conveniently located for when I’m getting off the train and realise I’ve forgotten every single thing on my list that I was supposed to get while I was on my shopping trip to Tenjingawa.

For intrepid travelling and exploration, I like the Dobashi branch and the one near my apartment (again, I’m not giving you the address because you might be a stalker). I often find myself jumping for joy about products I’ve discovered there. Usually I buy them and then they sit on my floor in their plastic Daiso bag until I finally decide one day to open them up and use them.

That’s my take anyway.

Next week I’ll report back on the Big Daddy (or Mummy; we’re equal opportunists here!) Daiso in Takeshita-dori in Harajuku.

Enjoy your long weekend! I know I will!

P.S. Obviously, I don’t have (and would never include if I did), photos of any Shithole… I mean, Saijo Daiso branches. I don’t apologise for that since I would never recommend going there. To Saijo I mean, not Daiso.

Actually I didn’t include ANY photos did I? It’s not that I didn’t want to include them; I didn’t have any! 😛