Saturday, February 2, 2008

Confessions of a Daiso Addict

The girls and I took the train to Machida today (Ethan and Otis stayed home, E is still recuperating from his cold). It was Megan's first train ride, she really loved it. The main purpose of our trip was to hit the Daiso, or 100 Yen store. Machida is also the closest place to us with a TGI Fridays, and it's a fun place to just wander around soaking up all that is Japan.

Daiso is so AWESOME! They're all over the place, we have at least 10 just around the base, but the one in Machida is the biggest in Japan, 5 floors! Daiso is like our Dollar Tree in the states, only WAY better! They have tons of great stuff, not the typical you-get-what-you-pay-for junk in U.S. stores, they have everything from snacks to motor oil, lots of great dishes, a huge selection of really cute stationary/office supplies, it's a fantastic place for sourveneirs and just about anything else you can think of. Not to mention the fact that on a good day, 100Y is actually only about $0.88! The only problem is that you very quickly end up with 50 things in your basket, things you didn't even know you needed until you saw them for only 100Y, at which time they become something you absolutely have to have, and suddenly 5000Y doesn't sound like quite the great deal that 100Y was! I did okay today though, we only spent 1100Y.

We left from Higashi Fussa station, it's a smaller station a little closer to the base than the station most people use (Fussa). It's such a smaller station, there are no station attendants, only one ticket-purchasing machine and no ticket-taking machines (normally to get down to the train platform you have to insert your ticket in a machine, pass thru and get your ticket out on the other end. When you reach your destination you put your ticket in the machine as you exit, an alarm sounds if you pass thru without inserting a ticket). Anyway, Higashi Fussa is too small for any of that stuff and when we got there the ticket machine was turned off and had a sign on it, all in Japanese of course! Since you don't need a ticket to get to the platform at this station we were able to get on the train without them, but I knew we wouldn't be able to leave the station in Machida without tickets. There are Fare Adjustment windows in the bigger stations where you can pay the difference or get refunds in the event you purchase a ticket for the wrong amount, so I took a picture of the sign and when we got to Machida I showed the pic to the lady at the Fare Adjustment window and paid our fare. As it turns out the picture was totally unecessary because the attendant spoke perfect English, but I was pretty proud of my ingenuity! My creative communication skills have improved dramatically since moving here.

At the train station Megan tried out a "squatty potty", a Japanese style toilet. Suffice it to say her squatting technique needs quite a bit of work! Luckily we were only 4 stops from home.

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