Moving to Japan and starting a new career is an busy time for anyone who takes the plunge. Besides having to adapt to living and working in a new culture, you will also need to set up your new home, starting with only the belongs you could pack in your suitcase! Fully furnishing an apartment is an expensive endeavor, but fortunately there is a neat way to cut down the costs, with a visit to the local 100 yen store!
In Japan the 100 yen store is very popular, and the most famous chain stores are “The Daiso”, “Seria” and “Can Do”. There are also many 100 yen corners in larger stores, so look for the Japanese “100円”.
Japans 100 yen stores have an impressive range and above expectations level of quality. Do not think you will be wasting your money on junk that needs be replaced after a few months or even years, the goods found here are very functional, and the selection vast. In fact the only real reason to buy more expensive alternatives is for a unique style, as you will soon notice the same items in most Japanese homes. Let’s take a look at some of the best things you should go out and get from the 100 yen store, to get your new apartment up and running.
First, the basics. Kitchen ware, such as plates, bowls, cups and cutlery can all be found for very cheap at your local The Daiso or other 100 yen store. You can also get coffee making utensils, an import ally before facing the rush hour Tokyo trains every morning. In fact, all kind of niche utensils seem to be found in the store, and usually cheaper than buying from amazon or other online retailers.
It is important in Japan to fit into the neighborhood without much impact. It is how to Japanese do it themselves, but additionally as a foreigner the reality is you might find yourself with xenophobic neighbors, who pay closer attention to you. The most common problem is usually with garbage disposal. Japan has a very rigidly organized (overly organized one might say) trash disposal system. Depending on your neighborhood, garbage must be sorted into minute categories. I have actually had a neighbor complain about my garbage because a polystyrene tray found its way into my burnable rubbish. Does that mean someone was inspecting my garbage? It’s kind of creepy to think about. The best way to keep on top of this is with lots and lots of garbage bins. The good news, get them for a dollar each at the 100 yen store!
Another handy item you can get from the 100 yen store is shoji repair glue and paper sheets. Shoji are the paper sliding doors found in Japanese style apartments. If you have them on your windows, expect to put a few holes in it over the years. Don’t however leave them that way during the cold winters or before moving out. Your landlord will charge excessive fees to fix them, when you could do it yourself for a few dollars.
Perhaps the most surprising items that you can find for a measly 100 yen are the tools. From screwdrivers to tape measures, hinges, repair tapes and glues, even hammers and small wrenches. It can be hard to understand how they are able to make a profit. If you are planning to do some DIY work, the 100 yen store can be a good place to start.
Depending on where you live, you might find yourself cursing the mosquitos and bugs in summer.
The 100 yen store is a good place to get all kinds of insect repellents for cheap, especially since the drug stores and so forth usually sell them in much larger quantities, which may be more than you need.
A super handy tool that you can get from the 100 yen store is a portable mosquito coil holder. Attach it to your belt and you can move freely without worry. Naturally you can’t take it inside, so it’s more for gardening, BBQ or visits to the park and so forth.
In the humid Japanese summer, a folding fan is your best friend. These little wonders have been keeping the people cool as far back as Japanese culture goes. However it’s the 21 first century, and the battery has evolved even the fan. At the 100 yen store you can get a battery powered pocket sized fan. Sure, it isn’t as stylish as a traditional folding fan, but being covered in sweat isn’t very stylish either.
Useful and Random Things
Besides essential items, 100 yen stores are loaded with stuff from the completely useless until you need it, to the bizarre and the fun.
The toy section at the 100 yen store can be a valuable resource for any English teacher in Japan. Incorporating props into you lessons, such as with cards, dice and colored balls will add color and fun to you activities. Unfortunately such things can easily become lost or damaged, so getting a set for only 100 yen makes the idea none the less feasible. Naturally toys can also be used as toys! Water guns, bubble blowers, bug nets and traditional Japanese toys like the kendama are great ways to liven up a meetup, to give as gifts to children, or even to entertain yourself. The kendama is a lot more fun that it has any right to be.
Probably the most useful corner however is the electric devices section. Whilst many items here break the 100 yen price barrier, at most some things cost 500 yen. Here you can get energy efficient light bulbs, desk fans, as well as Nintendo Switch and iPhone related things like cases, cables and screen protectors. You can also get a new charger for your phone, as well as converters to make a foreign one work in Japan. One of the most useful items is a portable battery, so you can charge your phone on the go. This is almost an essentially item if you rely on your phone for Japanese dictionary, Line communication and maps.
As you can see, the selection of items to be had at the 100 yen store in Japan is vast, and the quality is higher than expected. Save yourself a bit of money and set your new apartment up with a visit or two to your local The Daiso, Seria, Can Do or other 100 yen store.