You never go hungry in Japan – Food On A Budget

  • FOOD
  • Waribiki – for those on a budget

    Everybody knows that Japan can be a very expensive country to live in. Rent, health care, transportation, or even your grocery can easily dominate your monthly expenses.
    But one thing I really love about the country is their delicious food and the discounts on this food especially at night.. They called it WARIBIKI

    In Japan, people are very particular with expiration since they value fresh food especially that in bento meals available in the supermarkets.
    Usually obentos are made in the morning and are available at the supermarkets for a certain price during the day.
    When the end of the day approaches and if unsold items will no longer be consumable tomorrow or the day after, store staff applies discounts to those items.
    There are three types of stickers I saw attached to the products:

    1. Fixed price discount

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    When you saw this sticker attached to the product, it means you’ll get JPY100 off the original price.
    The discount depends on the figure printed on the sticker, sometimes it can be JPY200, sometimes only JPY50.

    2. Percentage discount

    This sticker how many percents of the original price the discount is.
    Some are 10%, 20% and so on.

    3. Hangaku (半額) discount

    This is my favorite. It means half the price. When I went to the supermarket, I would usually get products that have this sticker attached so I could save more.
    These items are really close to expiration thats why they put it on sale but as far as I am concerned, It is still okay to eat as long as your planning to eat it as your dinner at the same day or breakfast/lunch on the next one.

    Again, Japanese are particularly concerned with the freshness because they believe that the taste of the food will change in a span of a minute.

    I had a friend working in bento factory that would supply ready to eat packed foods for train stations, basically for commuters who are on the go and don’t have to time to eat at a restaurant.

    According to her, their company is very particular with the time. They normally deliver the food every morning to the station. After lunch time around 1pm maybe, their truck goes back to the station and delivers newly prepared bentos and collect the unsold ones. Those unsold item will then brought back to their factory and sad to say but they threw it as garbage.
    Thats how big of a deal freshness really is.

    But if you’re on a tight budget, there’s nothing wrong buying on food sale. You can find them everywhere but normally supermarkets have more of it. Some have it in the morning but most places only discount it at night, before the store closes. You’re not only saving your money but you can also get really delicious food. As I always say, grab it while you can!