shopping

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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Tokyo’s cheapest shoe chain and 10 pairs of kicks that cost less than 10 bucks each

Whether you’re coming to Japan as a tourist or a new resident, getting into the island nation usually means taking a plane. With luggage space at a premium, odds are you haven’t packed more than two or three pairs of shoes, which is fine for a running start in the country. With all the walking involved in public-transportation-embracing Japan, though, wear and tear are going to set in before long, and you’ll find yourself in need of a new pair of kicks.

Odds are, though, that you didn’t come all the way to Japan to blow your travel budget on new shoes. If you’re just getting started as a working professional here, you’re probably also a little light on cash. So to keep your feet comfortable, outfit stylish, and wallet happy, today we’re taking a trip to one of Tokyo’s best-kept secret bargains, the Tokyo Shoe Distribution Center, to pick up a selection of footwear at less than 990 yen (US$8.40) per pair.

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Up all night to get lucky…bags at Apple stores across Japan

The New Year is obviously a major holiday in Japan, and that means sales at every store. In addition to discounted products, the beginning of January sees many stores also offering grab bags, most often called “lucky bags,” a direct translation of 福袋 (fukubukuro), in Japan.

Of course, some of the most sought-after lucky bags in Japan are those from Apple. In fact, if you want to grab one of Apple’s lucky bags, now might be a good time to buy a sleeping bag and some snacks, because you’ll probably be camping out over night!

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Too busy to wrap Christmas presents? Not if you’ve got 12 seconds, Japanese store shows【Video】

I honestly don’t remember the last time I wrapped a Christmas present. Due to a lack of time during the busy period at the end of the year, plus a lack of manual dexterity during…my life in general…I usually just put everyone’s presents into a gift bag.

However, if you want to give someone the gift of satisfaction that can only come from tearing through some festively patterned paper, and you’re got more aptitude for arts and crafts than me (trust me, you do), there’s no need to let your hectic schedule stop you, as this video shows you how to wrap a present in just 12 seconds.

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Super generous Japanese megastore keeps boxes of change at register for you to use

I’ve never really understood the rationale behind the name of the Japanese discount megastore chain Don Quijote. Tweaked spelling aside, it’s clearly supposed to be a reference to the character from the 16th century Miguel de Cervantes novel, but what does a mentally imbalanced would-be knight errant have to do with rock bottom prices, chaotic store layouts with hand-drawn signs everywhere, and a corporate mascot who’s a penguin wearing a Santa cap?

Maybe it’s got something to do with the word “quixotic,” which describes a humorously strong commitment to lofty ideals and helpfulness. Actually, that would be a pretty apt description of one of the store’s most unique policies: keeping a box of change at the register for customers to grab coins out of and use when paying for their purchases.

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Three Chinese men arrested in Japan for buying too many diapers

In recent years a scourge has gripped Japan, and it is people buying too many disposable diapers at once – the Merries brand in particular. For this heinous behavior, three Chinese men were arrested by the Hyogo Prefectural Police on 15 October and are expected to be deported back to their country.

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Get your paws on this paw-shaped back massager with cat-itude

Cat lovers will tell you there is something deeply satisfying about the soft squishy feel of a cat’s toe pads, particularly as we don’t get to touch them for very long before getting swatted across the face for our presumption. But imagine how nice it would feel to get a back massage from some big kitty toe beans!

Proving that you really can find anything at a Japanese supermarket, we spotted just such a massager on a recent trip.

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【TBT】The avant-garde art of book stacking in stores of Japan

With bookstores in Japan overflowing with manga, novels and non-fiction, it takes a lot to stand out and get noticed. However, with the advent of the three styles of book stacking we’re going to show, it’s impossible for passersby not to stop and take a gander at these literary works.

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Is your grandpa bad-ass enough for these epic, blade-concealing walking sticks?

Christmas is coming up, and if you are wondering whether you should get gramps another boring old tie pin or golf shirt, may we humbly suggest a skull- or dragon-shaped walking stick of death?!

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New tax exemption system for foreign visitors to Japan starts today!

If you are a regular RocketNews24 reader, you may already know that there have been a lot of changes to Japan’s consumption tax system this year. For those of us who live here, it’s meant an annoying price hike for nearly everything, but for visitors, there is some good news.

Starting today, October 1, new rules regarding consumption tax exemptions for foreign visitors go into effect, and for once, these are actually changes that work in your favor. More details after the jump.

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Genius dishes can be molded freely to hold whatever you want

I’m not really the most organized person around; my desk looks like someone who hates me with a dark passion sneaks in every night just to sweep papers around and knock stuff over. So I’ve never really had much interest in or need for one of those little random odds-and-ends plates to hold trinkets (the floor does a pretty good job of that, for me).

But, if you are an organized person, have a lot of trinkets or just like having cool stuff around to decorate with, you’re probably going to love these awesome dishes that can be molded into any shape your heart desires and returned to their original state over and over again.

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Our Japanese writer discovers a surprising escalator in the US, declares America Best Place Ever

Target is America’s second-largest retailer, and its humongous stores have everything you could possibly need, from food to clothing to household goods. For a Japanese person visiting America for the first time these stores can be a tourist attraction in themselves as they gaze at the enormity of it all, and then leave without buying anything because it’s too overwhelming and they’re scared of doing something wrong.

However, our writer Japanese found something in a Target store that may even surprise Americans too.

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Lingerie retailer catering to flat-chested girls inundated with orders within hours of opening

“Why should only big-breasted girls get all the fun of lingerie shopping?” is apparently the question that led Japanese fashion school student Gomi Hayakawa to design and sell these stylish lingerie sets, tailor-made for flat chested girls, under the brand name of “Feast.”

Now, I understand that, in English, “flat-chested” has mildly derogatory connotations (imagine how a guy would react if you described him as having “micro junk” or something), but trust me, in this case I’m literally just directly translating. Japanese has so many words for varying sizes, textures and shapes of breasts your head will spin.

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Adorable Thai fashion with plenty of Flower Power now available on Japanese shopping site BUYMA!

Just recently, we brought to you the sailor swimsuit which seemed to masterfully combine two well-loved fashion elements into one. Well, we’re happy to say that one of the reporters from our sister site Pouch have found more adorable swimwear to share with you, and this time, they come in some very “flowery” designs!

We’re not talking about ordinary flower prints here, though. These beautiful swimsuits are actually from Thailand, and we think you’ll understand why they’ve been selling extremely well online here in Japan once you see the amazing three-dimensional patterns which really look like flowers have blossomed all over the suits. So prepared to be dazzled by some eye-opening bikinis — plus, they have some adorable accessories to match the swimwear perfectly as well!

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An afternoon in Kagurazaka, Tokyo’s French Quarter 【Hidden Tokyo】

Kagurazaka is one of the most attractive and interesting enclaves in all of Tokyo. Its name in kanji, 神楽坂, literally translates to “God Music Slope”, referring to kagura, the spiritual music traditionally dedicated to Shinto gods. Located at what used to be the outer edge of Edo Castle, the gentle slope that still runs through Kagurazaka today was once filled with the sounds of music emanating from the Imperial Court.

Today, this is one of the few remaining areas of Tokyo where you’ll find exclusive geisha houses hidden off the main street and kimono-clad women shuffling through narrow cobblestone alleyways. It’s also the best place to experience a taste of France, as it has the largest concentration of French restaurants in Tokyo, and a vibrant French expat community. You’ll even hear the strains of accordions as they pipe Parisian music through speakers on the street!

Join us after the jump as we take a stroll through the area and reveal why a visit to Kagurazaka should be on your list of places to see in Tokyo.

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“Awesome! Lemon Coke is back!” say tens of consumers in Japan

After a grueling nine year wait, the two dozen or so hardcore fans of Lemon Coke can finally triumphantly shrug their shoulders and go, “Meh,”, as the company has announced it’s bringing back the mildly tolerated legend after a long hiatus.

The new Lemon Coke, now with slick new packaging that includes a spiffy yellow cap, will be re-introduced to 16,622 7-Elevens throughout Japan, probably to the glorious, collective nonchalant grunts of thousands. Based on promotional photos, the Coke seems a little more transparent than usual, indicating that there must be a whole lot of lemon juice in there.

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Rainy season commuter must-have: a dry case for wet umbrellas

The rainy season is upon us in Tokyo, which means the smart commuter always has a fold-up umbrella in his or her bag. Their small size and portability makes them great for just-in-case days of dubious weather forecasts, but then there’s always the issue of what to do with them after you’ve used them. You can’t just fold them up and pop them dripping back into your bag, holding them by the strap usually means they end up dripping down your legs, and tossing them on the luggage rack means ta shower for the passengers below.

Until now that is. Someone has finally invented a workable solution! Introducing the Susu microfiber dry case for wet brollies!

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