shopping

Enjoy the look and feel of underwear on your face with Pantsu Mask

Although the use of surgical masks in Japan is widespread during cold and allergy seasons, those of us from other countries still can’t help but feel awkward walking down the street wearing one.

It sure would be nice to have something more discreet, wouldn’t it? And what’s more discreet than underwear? If that line of logic makes sense to you, then you better order Pantsu Mask. It’s a face mask with the shape and feel of a pair of panties.

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Things you won’t believe Chinese tourists are buying in Japan: drugstore edition

Often when you visit another country, one thing on everyone’s to-do list is a little shopping. It’s always interesting to see what products a foreign country offers that you can’t find back home. It’s also weird and fun to see the products you are familiar with presented in a different way.

One of the main reasons Chinese tourists visit Japan is to shop. It’s not uncommon to see a Chinese visitor enter a store and drop the equivalent of hundreds of U.S. dollars – usually in cash – on seemingly everyday products like clothes or electronics, but in some cases store shelves are picked completely clean.

But what’s on these tourists’ shopping lists? Here are 11 “godly” pharmacy products that Chinese visitors simply have to buy when they visit Japan.

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Imported repellants no match for super-strength Chinese mosquitoes, experts say

The best advances in technology aren’t always digital. I know summers have become much more tolerable since countries like the U.S. and Japan started upping their mosquito repellant game. And since mosquitos are something we can all agree are annoying no matter where you go, it’s not particularly surprising to hear other countries like China have started arming themselves with imported repellants to fight off these pesky blood-suckers.

But what is surprising is that, according to recent headlines, buyers of imported mosquito repellants on China’s Taobao Marketplace say that these repellants are no match for Chinese mosquitoes! So we have to wonder, what exactly makes these Chinese mosquitoes so tough?!

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Japan’s Amazon Prime Day sale offering huge discounts on million-dollar artwork and more

Around the world, 15 July is Prime Day over at the online retailer Amazon. This is the day when members of their subscription service Amazon Prime get in on one big sale that they claim is as big as it gets.

And it certainly is looking big, according to a sneak peak of four items that will be on sale come Prime Day. One of them is a set of 12 original works by Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano valued at 260,000,000 yen (US$2,150,000) on every day except Prime Day!

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Regionally themed cat socks are insanely cute, great souvenirs, even educational

I love socks. Not your boring old gym socks and stockings, though. I like ’em bright and patterned, the more obnoxiously the better. If it doesn’t look like something a child should be wearing, I’ll pass.

Two other things I love are Japan and cats, so you’ll understand why my squees of delight filled the aisles of popular bargain chain 3 Coins when I spotted this huge rack of cat socks with designs inspired by each of Japan’s 42 prefectures and regions. 

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Honesty experiment in China ends with losses of 20 percent for participating convenience stores

Two stores in China trialled unstaffed shops this week, in an experiment to see whether customers would pay up without being prompted.

Convenience stores in Beijing and Hangzhou were temporarily replaced with automated payment systems and advertised as “completely unstaffed”. Sadly, the experiment was not an unqualified success. While most customers proved to be honest, some chose to pay only a fraction of their bill, and in some case nothing at all.

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Samsung invented a crazy mirror that can show you how clothing looks on you before you buy

In the future, Samsung wants your mirror to act as a virtual fitting room.

At an event in Hong Kong, the company unveiled a new type of mirror that also functions as a screen with cameras inside.

The mirror would likely be aimed at retail stores, enabling shoppers to potentially view information about the product they’re trying on or digitally try on items before they purchase them.

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The remarkable art of giving and receiving change in Japan

If you’re tired of receiving vacant smiles and flippant customer service at your local grocery store, you may want to make a trip to Japan, where the customer always comes first and every transaction is concluded with a graceful bow.

This remarkable attention to customer service even extends to the handling of cash transactions in shops around the country. Akin to an art form, a simple payment to a store clerk in Japan will inevitably set off a series of steps and precise movements to satisfy the needs of both parties and respectively complete the exchange. Come with us as we take you through the steps of a simple transaction in Japan. The attention to detail and the clever reasons for it will surprise you.

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10 of the craziest complaints Japanese people have heard from customers

Anyone who’s worked in a store, restaurant, or pretty much anywhere in the service industry knows the joy of interacting with customers. And it’s not just your country that has crazy customers, it’s a fact of humanity that transcends culture and language, Japan included.

So with that we bring you the top 10 tweets made with a hashtag that’s recently been getting very popular with Japanese twitter users: #ActualCustomerComplaints. We’re not 100-percent sure how true the “actual” part is, but they’re all so hilarious and painfully familiar that you’ll be too busy laughing and commiserating to mind.

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Glassware for dining at the V? Panty-clad cups selling fast 【Photos】

Sometimes a story comes across your desk that is so wacko, you just sit and stare at it for ages trying to wrap your brain around it. That happened to me this morning when I saw that an unusual item at the built-to-order site Dwango.jp was selling fast. That item? Hand-blown panty-wearing drinking glasses at a whopping 8,640 yen (US$72.12) a pop.

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Tokyo, Osaka limited Gintama shops to sell limited edition merch for a limited time

In honor of the return of historical-sci-fi-comedy anime Gintama to television screens across Japan, Namco announced the opening of three shops in Tokyo and Osaka starting on April 18.

The limited-time shops will be selling both limited Gintama merchandise as well as some super-limited items. Yes, it’s a collector’s dream and a civil-rights enthusiast’s nightmare as there are so many limitations to these stores you’d think you’d lost a few of your inalienable rights in the process!

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Anna Sui jumps into the world of Sailor Moon fashion with necklaces, earrings, and bags

Today, Tokyo’s Isetan is welcoming back Sailor Moon and her magical gal pals. From now until March 31, the department store chain’s Shinjuku branch is offering a special lineup of fashion items based on the hit anime. Previously, we’ve looked at the new offerings from Samantha Vega, Honey Bunch, and Riccimie Premiere Salon, all popular Japanese brands.

Now, Anna Sui is getting in on the moon prism action, with a selection of coolly feminine bags and accessories inspired by the Sailor Senshi.

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Ninja Slayer wants to turn you into ninjas – 12 step process, no training required    

If there’s still a ninja-shaped hole in your heart where the recently climaxing Naruto used to be, perhaps we can interest you in some sci-fi cyberpunk ninjas?

With a new anime set to start streaming on April 16, the people behind Ninja Slayer want everyone to release their inner warrior, and they’ve got some shiny new merchandise to help you get in the mood. And if you happen to have lost your entire family to a ninja turf war recently, you too can become a ninja slayer! Find out how after the jump.

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We visit the brand-new Disney store for grown-up women in Tokyo’s Harajuku 【Photos】

Disney’s elegant princesses and cute characters have earned them legions of fans around the world. In Japan, adults of all ages are smitten, unashamedly saving up for specially branded clothing and accessories, and using precious vacation time for day trips to Tokyo Disneyland.

This love for all things Disney has resulted in three stores exclusive to Japan that cater directly to the adult market. Fukuoka and Chiba have each been blessed with a unique branch of their own, but it’s the newly opened store in Tokyo’s Harajuku, the birthplace of kawaii culture, that really sets out to impress.

Come with us as we take you through the store, with its pretty princess accents and attractive displays filled with bags, jewellery, smartphone accessories and more.

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Spiral escalators may be even more stylish than clothes at Japanese department store in Shanghai

There’s definitely an elegance to a spiral staircase, and you could argue that an opulent shopping palace is just the place to install one, letting your customers feel stylish and sophisticated even as they move from one floor to the next. However, they won’t feel so glamorous if they’re panting for breath after walking to the top of an eight-story building.

That’s why for its new Shanghai branch, this Japanese department store decided to install spiral escalators, which it’s claiming are the longest of their type in the world.

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Don’t know whether to buy diamonds or candy for White Day? Sweet Jewels could be just the trick!

On White Day, an unabashedly commercial holiday on March 14, Japanese men are expected to buy presents in return for the chocolate they received on equally commercial holiday Valentine’s Day. And with a recent survey showing that limited-edition desserts and sweets are top of women’s wish-lists for White Day, this new offering from confectioner Ameya Eitaro could tick all the boxes.

With designs based on real diamond cuts such as the Koh-i-Noor and the Pasha of Egypt, these are one sweet treat that certainly looks expensive.

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What do Japanese women want for White Day and how much do they hope a guy spends?

With the exception of the girls at a few high schools with especially generous male student bodies, women don’t usually receive presents for Valentine’s Day in Japan. Instead, it’s the guys who get gifts, returning the favor one month later on March 14, White Day.

But while guys’ Valentine’s Day aspirations are pretty standardized (just about everyone wants homemade chocolate), the options are a little more flexible for White Day. A recent survey asked Japanese women just what they hope to receive, and how much they envision guys spending.

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Make your mark: Personalize gift bags, notebooks and more with free Muji stamp station

Here in Japan, most shops will do gift wrapping for free. It’s a very thoughtful and convenient service, but although they usually do a very nice job of it, it lacks a certain personal touch.

Popular lifestyle goods shop Muji may have the answer: gift bags that you can customize with a set of free and easy-to-use stamps. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Let’s take a look!

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Disney Store is all grown up with new branch designed for adult women opening in Tokyo

Disney enjoys broad popularity with Japanese children, with tykes across the nation regularly getting excited for the studio’s animated films and begging their parents to take them to Tokyo Disneyland. This isn’t a recent development, though. Disney’s been a hit with kids for decades now, and while the age of many fans who grew up watching Mickey, Minnie, and their pals has changed, that doesn’t mean their love for the cartoon characters has.

That’s why this spring a new branch of the Disney Store is opening up in Tokyo, and while the staff won’t be turning away little girls at the door, it’s really being designed for adult women.

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Travel Japan without leaving the capital at Tokyo’s best prefectural satellite shops

When it comes to regional cuisines, Japan has a lot to offer. But what if you are short on time and can’t make it to far-flung parts of the archipelago to sample artisan cheeses or gut-burning awamori? Not to worry, you can get a taste of most prefectures in the heart of Tokyo at so-called satellite shops, supermarkets which specialize in food and products from a particular region.

We’ve picked out five of our favorites for you to enjoy, with a not-to-be-missed item from each.

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