Good evening all.
Just got back from McDonalds about 10 mins walk away and am here to give you an update. Why eat dinner at Macky D’s (or as one of my friends calls it, McDick’s) you ask? Well today is a national holiday in Japan you see. It’s Respect For The Aged Day, and no it isn’t celebrated by everyone buying burgers, we just don’t get fed at the dorm on holidays. More information on the holiday itself can be found at Planet Tokyo by reading Amy Chavez’s article.
Now over the last couple of days I’ve not really ventured out much. As you could tell from my last entry my feet were starting to complain that I’ve been using them more than an extreme environmentalist uses the same piece of toilet paper, so I decided to stay close to home. This gave me a good opportunity to catch up on some homework, tidying (yes, tidying) and of course a little bit of local exploring. Ha! Screw you feet! You can rest when I tell you to rest … like now, I’m not using you to type so bog off and grab a scone.
To be honest the exploring wasn’t too extreme and didn’t really go further than a slightly detoured walk home. That being said two very important discoveries were made on this course. Firstly being a massive up-yours to the 100 yen shop chain. Just down the road from me is … a 99 yen shop! O_O Hoorah, the day of saving is at hand and I can sleep easier at night knowing I saved half a penny on a giant bottle of water. However for those of you who don’t know, the 100 yen shop (and in turn it’s 99 yen enemy) don’t actually sell anything at those respective prices. Confused? Don’t worry it was confusing to me also. In the UK, VAT is set at 17.5% (or some bollocks like that), but in Japan sales tax is 5% (from what I can gather) and this is normally added straight into the price so the customer doesn’t have to think too much about it (in the UK and Japan). However at the 100 yen shop (& 99 yen) it’s added after, making everything a minimum of 105 yen (104 yen). Why a minimum? This is where these shops differ from the likes of poundland in the UK where “you’ll like what you see because everythings a pound at Poundland”, to quote the annoying radio jingle. Whereas these shops do sell the cheap (and sometimes tacky) items that carry their shops price names, they also have more lucrative items which are more expensive. That being said the more costly goods carry extra price labels and the staff members will helpfully point it out on every item you take to the till.
The other ‘Amazing Discovery’ (anyone remember that cheezy American shopping show?) was a bookshop who’s name translates to ‘Old Books’. It somewhats reminded me of a Japanese version of the shop in ‘Black Books’ only without Bill Bailey and co. Now even though the shop was tiny, there were thousands of books waiting to be bought. Before you ask, yes I did check out the manga section and yes it was bloody huge. But the best thing about the shop was the prices. For the cost of two standard TokyoPop mangas in the UK I managed to buy four ‘Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai’ mangas and a ‘Lucky Star’ one also. SCORE! If I had £15 worth of yen I could have picked up the entire Ranma 1/2 series. That’s right, they sell entire series at a discount. It should be worth noting though that these books are second hand, so won’t have that unique ‘fresh from Borders’ scent. That being said when you’re a student you can easily block off your sense of smell. One last thing before I become inundated with emails asking for me to buy you a certain book and ship it over, they’re all in Japanese. ^_^
One final thing before I head off for the night. After the Danjiri festical I wanted to think more about the kinds of things I’d like to see or experience while I’m here. Let’s face it, 9 months is going to go by so fast. I’ve started a list which I’ll be putting on here soon (sooner than the pictures no doubt), but if you think of anything you think I might want to do then please do send me an email. Current items on the list include visiting 2 shrines, a village, a museum, a department store and 2 sports events. If you think you can guess more specifically what they are, then bully for you.