The next best thing to IKEA

IKEA, the famous furniture retailer, is not quite as ubiquitous in Japan as it is in Western Europe. Being an avid IKEA fan, I went through some withdrawal when I was living in Japan. Living in the Nagoya area, the nearest IKEAs were in Tokyo and Osaka. That is very far away to just buy... Continue Reading →

Japanese customer service: boxes and bags

The Japanese are masters of customer service. Shops are always thinking of new ways to make things more convenient for their customers. A good example of this is when we bought our rice cooker. It was a heavy machine in a big box. Rather than giving us a giant plastic bag, they attached a handle... Continue Reading →

Japanese gift wrapping

Japan has an elaborate gift culture. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the Japanese are masters of gift wrapping. Their attention to detail, combined with their ancient tradition of beautiful paper makes for some of the most gorgeous gift wrapping I have ever seen. You might notice that the Japanese wrapping paper is... Continue Reading →

So much sauce!

A trip to a Japanese supermarket is quite the adventure. The aisles are filled with unknown products. I feel especially overwhelmed when standing in front of the sauce stand. Any Japanese supermarket will have up to three aisles that are filled with nothing but sauce. There are so many different kinds: a wide variety of... Continue Reading →

The hopeful sale

Last year around Christmas time, the pictures of an Osaka department store advertising a 'fuckin' sale' went across the globe. I recently came across another funny sales advertisement in Tokyo, although this one had a more positive message: the hopeful sale (or rather, bargain). The Japanese have a habit of combining English adjectives and nouns... Continue Reading →

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