So who said Japan was going to be perfect? Nobody did. As they always say ‘the good comes with the bad’, and that’s the case with anything. Japan is by no means an exception to this rule. So this is a short story on the first couple of days I spent in Hirakata and some of the issues I had with shopping.
We’ll start with slippers. I spent about 2 hours looking for slippers because I was told that there was a 100 yen store on the main street near the dorms where I was previously living. I went to a few places and none of them had slippers, then I went to a couple of other places and they only had female slippers. So I got a tip from somebody I met on my journey about a shoe store right next to the dorms. I finally found male slippers and was lead to the largest possible size. Unfortunately the largest size possible still only fits about three quarters of my monster foreign foot. I’ve met other people on campus who have bigger feet than me, I can’t begin to imagine what this is like for them.
My second problem was finding antiperspirant roll-on deodorant. Don’t Japanese people sweat too? Apparently not. I mean sure, there are spray on deodorants at most supermarkets here but it isn’t antiperspirant deodorant – which is important for any foreigner who wants to perambulate at any reasonable pace. I did eventually find a store close to campus a couple of days before I ran out of the deodorant I came with. Thank buddha.
Now my third and final shopping milestone was finding a towel. The last two situations are something I can understand. They’re kind of tedious for me as a foreigner but I can empathise. What I cannot empathise with is how difficult it is to find a towel in Japan…I spent an additional 2 hours trying to find a towel on my first night here. Nowhere had one, no supermarkets or convenience stores or even multi-purpose stores. The closest thing was a ‘face towel’. I was lucky enough to be given a towel from a Japanese friend that night but even then the towel was about a third of the size of the towels I’m used to drying myself with back home.
So the next day I went to Osaka to meet another friend and we spent another hour, in main Osaka, looking for a towel. After awhile I found one place that had a towel, it was some kind of lifestyle store – I don’t really remember the name. I do remember the price of the towel though, it was 4200 yen. $50 for a towel? No, more than $50 for a towel. No thank you, I would rather be saturated for the rest of my exchange.
I won’t go into how I came across the towel that I’m using right now. That’s a story for another day – or better yet never. Though I will say that apart from these isolated events my stay in Japan has been pretty good so far. I’ll be talking more about that very soon. But I think it’s best that I end my rant here and continue it again in Shopping Woes in Japan pt. 2.