In the UK, Poundland and Poundstrecher infect the high street like unsightly warts. There is a certain stigma that follows these discount shops, one of recession and hardship. The Japanese equivalent couldn’t be more different. Shops like Daiso are an Aladdin’s cave of weird, eclectic yet practical goods that can life hack you to domestic bliss.
There is one slight inconvenience in that you have to pay tax on your haul. This means each item essentially gets racked up to 108 yen. However, you’re still paying a measly USD $0.87 or GBP £0.58 per item at the time of writing. There’ll be change from a tenner even after a big shop, so even mammoth tasks like redecorating are affordable and, most of all, fun.
Here are just a few essential purchases by category.
It’s a familiar story; you’re having a great time with friends when the vibe needs cranking up a level. Imagine having your Avicii blasting out of this pint-sized mini speaker whilst the other guys at the party cast envious looks over at you.
The 100 yen store is also the last refuge of some near-extinct technology such as this, the rarely sighted ‘cassette tape’. Tie one to a necklace to compliment your next 80s throwback outfit.
Cheap eats are another perk you can find instore. Amongst the spices, sauces and noodles you can find a tin of these salty critters. Anchovies are not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Japanese cuisine, but at 100 yen a tin, you can let the fillets dance on your taste buds for less
A freezer without at least 3 ice cube trays is an empty one. This a license to print money considering water is free and Family Mart sells cups of ice for upwards of 150 yen. You’ll make the cash back in no time! Use them to freshen up your gin and tonic, rum and coke, vodka and tonic or absinthe (perhaps not so essential if you’re teetotal.)
This laundry hanger will revolutionise your weekly wash, it’s invaluable for keeping your socks together and saving space in your tiny box flat.
Some of the items you pick up in the shop will make you ask the question “is this really only 100 yen?”. The answer is yes, you can be the proud owner of this saw in exchange for one small silver coin. It’s also not just any old saw but one that is advertised as suitable for the entire family, so little Yuki’s blossoming carpentry career needn’t break the bank. Considering how often 5-year-olds change their mind this is quite a positive.
There are only two types of theft that blight Japan. One is umbrellas and the other is bicycles.
Security is no longer your concern with this cheap and cheery bike lock, which looks like it definitely couldn’t be cut through with scissors…
A miniature whiteboard could either complement your sharehouse dynamic or destroy it completely. Use it to write cutesy notes about how great last night’s lasagne was or leave passive aggressive barbs aimed at that guy who never empties the bin.
Quality and style are usually an overlook when compared to budget. However this woollen tie really stands out for its simplistic chicness. There are genuinely some nice garments and accessories you can pick up especially when there’s a fancy dress party at the weekend.
Find some 100yen shops near you!