100 yen stores are ingrained Japan’s culture. Everything inside, from glass jars and bottles to gardening tools, costs 100 yen (AUD $1.10). Daiso, the market leader in Japan, has been opening stores in Australia at rate of knots. Even at the Australian version’s price of $2.80 (260 yen), there are plenty of bargains and cheap laughs to be had.
The stores contain everything: absolute bargains, real quality, gimmicky junk and the downright weird. A friend and I took a lunch time excursion to Daiso in Melbourne’s QV; here are our REASONS3.
1. A quality pen.
2. Bang for your [two] buck[s] [eighty]
3. Hilarious stickers and a disgusting red bean jelly cake.
More details: www.daisostore.com.au
One: A quality pen from Japan
When wandering the streets of Tokyo in early 2011, the wacky outfits of the Harajuku girls sent my head into a spin. My sense of good taste needed respite, so I stumbled into a 100 yen store and walked out with a spiral notebook and gel ink pen.
For the princely sum of 200 yen, I purchased a fully functional A5 spiral notepad and one of the nicest pens I have ever written with.
For almost three years, I have been scratching my head as to why I haven’t been able to repeat the process in Australia. Well, now I have.
Like the majority of products you’ll find in a Daiso store, this quality pen is made in Japan. Regal, ain’t she?
Two: Bang for your [two] buck[s] [eighty]
When you first walk into the store, it’s hard to know where to start. If you’re after a bargain, I suggest heading over to the kitchenware and storage sections. You’ll be confronted with a tsunami of jars, glasses and plastic containers. There is a size for every use.
Bargain of the day? A nifty colander that compacts for storage. A similar product, at a reputable Australian homeware store, is available for $12. Not on Daiso’s watch; $2.80.
Three: Hilarity and revolt
Daiso gives you the opportunity to discover some wacky and disgusting products. In my friend’s opinion, these stickers ‘too cute’ and were therefore a must have. Cheap laughs were a plenty, thanks to the facial expression of many of the animals. A special mention goes to the bearded baboon.
The challenge was to buy and consume the weirdest looking foodstuff on offer. Facing row after row of poorly labelled packages, I decided to chance my arm on this ‘red bean jelly cake’. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.
The majority of products, while many are made in Japan, aren’t what you’d consider high quality. For example, many of the mugs and cups aren’t dishwasher safe. Always double check the label… If you can read it , that is (many of the labels are in Japanese with sporadic attempts at using the Engrish language).
Also, the name ‘260 yen store’ doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.