Archive | October, 2010

Speaking of discount store in Tokyo…

30 Oct

Don Quijote is a well-known discount store in Tokyo. But how about Takeya? I’d like to introduce Takeya here briefly in case my readers are not familiar with it yet.

★Discount store that covers everything we need★
address: 4-33-2 Taito, Taito-ku
nearest station: Okachimachi
phone: 03-3835-7777
open: 9:30am – 8:30pm (Closed on 1st January and the third Wednesday every month except December.)

My grandparents had knewn Takeya for a long time. Takeya has been there since 1947! My family liked to shop at Takeya anytime we needed new furniture or anything pricey. My father, who is from Osaka, liked to ask for a further discount at Takeya, which made me feel ashamed when I was a kid. Born and raised in Tokyo, I totally misunderstood him and thought that we were so poor we had no money to buy things for the price on the tag, even at a discount store like Takeya! lol That’s why Takeya somehow gave me some complex feelings in my childhood, which is why I stayed away from it for a long time since I grew up… :p

However, I remembered Takeya when I had to buy some kitchen tools when I got married. They have increased their sales area and buildings and nowadays they became so popular. When I was a kid, Takeya was sort of…people who know it, love it kind of store. I happened to read a diary while ago that I wrote when I was about 10 years old. I was writing, “We went to Takeya the other day to buy discounted goods.” The teacher commented, “What is Takeya? Where is it? Please tell me about it.”

The purple colored buildings are so outstanding from distance. Such thing is possible because it’s Japan. We basically have no rules against signs or colors of buildings to maintain landscape design. This gives Japanese cities a feeling of messy.

They have grocery sales floor, too.

If I ever live in other country, I’d bring Japanese mayo with me!

These signs could make me a bargain-hunter who just came over to buy a salt and pepper mills. lol

I was too tired to make a long line at a cashier. I didn’t buy anything but the mills after all.

Inside the Lady’s building.

The sales area was not large and the products seemed to be limited. Don Quijote would have more products in variety but I’m sure Takeya is cheaper. 1400yen eye shadow was discounted to 980yen. Not bad, huh?

I didn’t check out the price but beauty goods can also be well discounted. Thanks to internet, I actually shop from online most of the cases. Speaking of online shopping, Takeya has their online store through Rakuten.

The floor guide was translated into English, Korean and Thai. Besides, there was a leaflet all in Chinese. Takeya can be even more popular than Don Quijote to international tourists today. Have you heard of it or have you actually been there yet?


Economic recession led uchi cafe boom and bento boom

28 Oct

*Disclaimer: the original photo is from Lawson’s Uchi Cafe.

Uchi means house. Uchi Cafe sounds like a cafe someone made inside his house to open for public, but in this case it’s not. Due to economic recession in Japan, many people try to save money. Those who enjoyed Starbucks before would prefer a cup of coffee from home now. Yes, Uchi Cafe here means to drink coffee at home, instead of cafe, to save some money everyday.

(Well…as for myself, as I work from home I have no other option but to prepare a coffee by myself. haha! ^ ^; When I go out once in a while, I’d love to go to a cafe, but mostly to have a rest. Unlike most of people who work at a cafe, to me I feel most concentrated and relaxed at home. I cannot work from a cafe. I like to work from my house.)

Anyhow, Bento boom is another typical phenomenon that reflects poor economy. There is a reason for huge sales area spared for bento boxes and Nabe goods at places like Tokyu Hands or LOFT that are sensitive against trends.

Espresso machine especially designed for household use as represented by Nespresso or expensive rice cooker that costs over 100,000yen (=over USD1100), or even Gopan, a bread making machine that allows us to bake bread from rice are good examples to illustrate how Japanese people tend to spend money for gadgets that help us to make tasty snack or meals from home rather than what we can get from eating out especially during recession. Home-cooked meals that may be combined with some nice sweets from Depachika or convenience stores will be satisfactory enough, even though we have to live within limited allowances.

There’s no reason home appliance industry should not notice this great opportunity. Nanocare by Panasonic for example is a such great innovation that it keeps moisturizing our facial skin while we are sleeping. It’s an esthetic treatment we can receive while we are sleeping every night.

Having some nice meals and coffee at home, dressed with luxury nighty while receiving nano steam created by a small esthetic machine sounds as good as to go out for dinner and spend much more money to have facial esthetic treatments. This is how Japanese women survive under bad economy. But of course, there are so many kawaii shops and nice restaurants and cafes in Tokyo, we cannot give them up completely. We’d love to eat out great food from around the world or to receive massages and esrthetic treatments as a little treat to ourselves. Women like to treat ourselves a lot. :p Majority of the customers are always women. There is even a word created for this trend. It’s “okomori shouhi” (おこもり消費) that could be translated as “stay-at-home consumption”? ^ ^; Although the main purpose is to save money, home-based life like this is not bad, when it’s mixed with some nice experiences from outside once in a while.

Bad economy is not only what Japan is suffering from. Do you see similar trend in your country? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us! 😀

Jeans Paradise

26 Oct

Jeans Paradise
27/MAR/2010 on air

It was in the 70’s that jeans were introduced to Japan for the first time. In the 80’s, chemical wash jeans were popular and in the 90’s vintage jeans were sold for several million yen, thanks to bubble economy. How are jeans now in 2010? Skinny jeans are supported by most of people. Teens and 20s like short pants denim. Chemical wash jeans come back and are worn especially by hairdressers in Harajuku today. Some like damage finished jeans, while some like Japanese tasted jeans, saruel pants from 80’s, or the ones from high fasion. Nowadays there are just so many kinds of jeans.

Which jeans are most expensive?
Hajime-chan is a visual-kei boy who is good at remodeling clothes. He buys low-priced jeans for 850yen for example and remake the jeans with spray and decorations all by himself. His remake jeans were featured in some men’s fashion magazines. Hajime-chan’s 850yen jeans with deco materials are still as cheap as 3150yen.

Gyaru like to wear short pants entire year.
Yasuda-san’s skinny jeans were for 30,000yen. (now about USD370) She does 70 times sit-ups every night in order to keep her body line so tight as to fit into the skinny jeans for which she spends several hundred thousand yen every year.

Ide-san’s jeans were for 200,000yen. (now nearly USD2500). They are vintage jeans from 1960’s. Ide-san has collected 350 pairs of jeans for 40 years, but it’s only 10 or so that he actually wears. The rest are only for him to stare at. It was a pair of jeans not for sale from Mc.Donald’s that he had hard time winning in a drawing by asking his employees to eat Mc.Donald’s until he won. (He is an owner of his company.)

SLY‘s jeans are to make legs look beautiful. CECIL McBEE sells arranged jeans. SONGEUR Daiya’s total sales are occupied by over 30% of jeans sales. They suggest coordination based on jeans. Half an hour before they open the store, they have a traning so that the sales assistants can suggest more than 5 patterns of coordination based on jeans from head to toe within 90 seconds. 17-year-old Maiko-chan has excellent sense of coordination. She advises accessories and clothes that best match to the jeans one after another, and her daily sales are as much as 500,000yen! (about USD6100)

Honzawa-san is a jeans producer. It was Uniqlo that made him famous. His work starts from choosing fabric to manufacturing jeans. He produces 10 million pairs of jeans yearly. His office is full of jeans from all over the world. He usually carries 150 pairs of jeans for business meetings. Because of this he tore his Achilles tendon.

It was used finished jeans that gathered attention in spring 2010. Fujii-san established his brand 241co. in Okayama 16 years ago. His brand new jeans look as if they were worn for years, which are well received by as many as 120 brands inside and outside Japan. Even rucks are created from special skills that are trained for over 10 years. Iron powder high-pressure spray fades color. Every pair of jeans is hand made. Crush finish requires the most skilled artisans, with warp yarns’ being cut while only weft yarns remained.

Which jeans make us look thinner?
1) Jeans with crush finish on the thigh parts.
2) Jeans with coating
3) Jeans with rucks on the thigh parts.

The answer is 1). Having rucks at upper part, crush on the thigh parts, with fading color from the center to make that part white, our legs look thinner!
Kirin’s opinion:
No wonder I am too fat to fit into skinny jeans, I am too lazy to do sit-ups or anything. lol The price range of jeans is so wide. A pair of jeans for 690yen (about USD8.5) is the cheapest at Don Quijote, while some people are willing to pay as much as USD2500 for a pair of vintage jeans. As for me I have not spent much money for jeans. I think I have not worn good ones that’s why I feel uncomfortable wearing them most of the time. Uncomfortable…I mean I feel good blood circulation is somehow prevented and I start to feel cold especially when I keep sitting to work on my computer. In other words, here I am who do not want to admit that I got fat. lol

The jeans artisans are cool. I don’t want to spend much money for jeans (with that money I want to travel, you know!) but I do appreciate their work!
How much would you feel OK to spend for a pair of jeans? Maybe it’s high time I looked for decent pair of jeans that do not make me feel cold?? lol

BTW, I guess you are now familiar at how sales assistants are hard working in Japan. Their job looks so fun but we’ll never know they continue such training everyday, right? This is only one sample that describes how Japanese people regard working. (Similar episode is here.) Everyone takes working so serious in Japan.


Disclaimer: Tokyo Kawaii TV is a TV program owned and broadcasted by NHK Japan, and has nothing to do with this blog.

***There are archives of episodes listed under the page titled “Tokyo Kawaii TV” that is just located under the title banner of this blog.
***If you want to know the music that was used in the episode, please refer to this page and help yourself to find it by selecting the date when the episode was on air in Japan.

Which part of Tokyo do you want to live in?

24 Oct

“Tokyo” consists of various districts and areas. I’m not talking about 23 wards in Tokyo. While it has busy areas such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, etc. some part of Tokyo just looks like a small town and there are districts for business and residential area.

There are uptown and old town area. Especially south-west part of Tokyo such as Minato, Meguro, Shibuya, Shinjuku ward (where Roppongi, Akasaka, Shibuya, Meguro, Ebisu, Shinjuku, etc. are located) are more sophisticated than east or north part of Tokyo. But the area from Kichijoji to Shinjuku is also very popular. What’s good about north-east side of Tokyo is the old town that still keeps deep humanity. It’s said house rent is 10,000yen or more cheaper monthly at the east side of Tokyo, around Kasai (葛西) area for example, when it’s compared with west side.
Continue reading

Koumen ramen restaurant

22 Oct

Koumen Ueno store
phone: 03-5807-4535
open: 10:30am – 6am (mon.-sat.)
10:30am – 5am (sun. & national holiday)

I think Koumen is well known among foreign tourists because they have English ads. But anyhow Koumen is also popular among the locals. I had a chance to eat their ramen for the first time in years since I had it in Ikebukuro or somewhere last time.

Continue reading

"Dokonoko no Kinoko" cute song for kids

20 Oct

Sometimes children songs can be well received by adults in Japan.
According to “Recochoku” or the market place for cell phone ringtones, a strange kinoko (meaning mushroom) song is 5th ranked. This means this song was downloaded for ringtones many times by many people.

Followings are lyrics in Romaji so you can sing it in Japanese without reading Japanese.
Continue reading

Reasonable Sushi lunch

19 Oct

After Ganbanyoku, we decided to eat something for lunch and we found a reasonable Sushi restaurant in Marui near Kinshicho station. My friend and I was a little bit surprised at the price. It was very reasonable. How much do you think the lunch set we ordered? It’s not a sushi-go-round restaurant. Japanese sushi chefs make them.

2 x Anago (conger eel) sushi were served first.

Then came miso soup and a small salad.

Sushi plate for 1.5 person. It was a bit too much for a woman, but both my friend and I chose this lunch among several options.

It was 1380yen only, for all these! I didn’t know there was such a reasonable Sushi restaurant like this. Usually lunch is reasonable at any restaurants when compared with the original price they serve at the evening. My friend was also very happy with this price and satisfactory level of sushi for that. She wouldn’t be able to get the same quality of sushi for the same price in her country.

Green tea is served for free. We were chatting over another cup of green tea.