Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Seiyu at the Walmart

Hey everyone! Another update, so close to the last one, but I'm taking it easy today, so I have time!

Today I went to Seiyu, which is Walmart in Japan. Literally. Recognize this brand?


Yeah. I thought you might. The first thing I want to mention is that this place is tiny compared to the USA. Or at least it seems to be. I saw people with vegetables, but I couldn't for the life of me find them for myself. Secondly, it's two stories tall. On the first floor is food (Again, I couldn't find the vegetables! Grr!!) and what I saw was about 10 aisles of food with 3 of them being alcohol. Now when I say aisles, what I mean is like a convenience store aisle. When you walk into a 7-11 or Dari Mart think of the long aisle in the store and that's about the size I'm talking here, maybe a bit longer. I have heard from everyone that Tokyo is soo expensive and I'll agree that somethings definitely are more expensive, but the prices seem pretty comparable to me in most cases. A small bottle of Coca Cola was about $1.12, a container of orange juice about $2.50, a dozen eggs about $1.35. Maybe it's just where I am (and the fact that I've been doing my shopping alone for a couple years now), but the prices seem to be about right when it comes to food.

Upstairs I was surprised to find a lack of choices in many things. In the USA if you want to buy towels there's a whole aisle dedicated to them. If you want nail clippers there are 15 varieties. Here there was about 12 towels to choose from ranging from about $4 to $15 with an equal number of dish towels and wash cloths to choose from. The flashlight selection (this is for you dad) was the cheap 2/$3 kind with the colored ring. I was surprised to find that the section for hair accessories such as hair ties and bobby pins was so small. The largest pack of bobby pins I found (out of the 8 or 9 choices) held maybe 25 pins and hair tie packs had about 5 for a 89 yen (~$1). I have pretty thick hair so I go through these things like crazy. Looks like I'm adding some things to the list for mom to send me.

The next thing I want to talk about is money. Chaching! I'm rich! Not really. Moving on. I'm finding one of the hardest things for me to adjust to is money. I'm used to smaller denominations, a dollar, five dollars, etc. So it's weird for me to pull out a 1000 yen bill or a 100 yen coin. It feels like it spends too easily. I can approximate the price in dollars at the store, but it just seems to go so fast! I've spent about 8,000 yen (~$90) between trains and necessities this week alone. Granted, that's pretty low for my first week, but it feels like denominations that large should last waaaaaayyyyy longer.

Moving along. I wanted to show you some pictures of the money. I'm not sure if this is all of the denominations available, but they are the ones in my wallet currently. (Funny note, I opened my picture file in Photoshop to edit it together for you and I got a "This program does not support the printing of bank notes. You can edit and save it, but you will not be able to print it" message. Because that's what I totally wanted to do. Note the sarcasm.)

Note the increase in size as the denomination gets larger. Also, you can barely make it out here, but there is a faint outline of the person's face in the circle on the note.  Thought this was interesting.
1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen coins. My favorite is probably the back of the 100 yen coin. Image Copyright Illaura Rossiter 2013

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