Adventures Shopping in Tokyo (Vlog Ep. 14)

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One of the greatest lenses into a cultural landscape for me….is shopping. Now, given that everything I own fits into a bag, shopping is much less an exercise in buying stuff (tempting as it may be), and much more about gawking. Seeing how stuff is offered, what’s on offer, and how people buy it. In every country, it’s so very different. And Tokyo….Tokyo is a place for shopping. Join me today for my adventures shopping in Tokyo!

This post was originally published in 2017 . It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.

Come with me in this post and video as I go shopping in Tokyo, in a supermarket and department store. Oh the things you'll find! #shopping #Tokyo #livingabroad #TheProfessionalHobo #Japan

Shopping in Tokyo, Part 1: Department Stores

Part 1 of my shopping in Tokyo vlog (below) is about perusing the aisles of Ito-Yokado, a well-known department store chain in Japan. It’s actually part of the 7-11 franchise (known as Seven & i) – which is far, far, very far from being the convenience store it is in most other countries.

It’s apparently akin to a Target shopping experience in the U.S., except, as with most things in Japan, it isn’t a large-footprint monstrosity (there’s not enough land for such things), but rather a multi-floor monstrosity. It offers a bit of everything from clothes to music to cleaning supplies to beauty products to household goods to music, and more. The prices are reasonable (well, as reasonable as prices can be in Japan), and the selection is wide.

Japan signspotting make-up

I love the sporadic use of English on Japanese products. Consistently, things get just a wee bit lost in translation.

Shopping in Tokyo, Part 2: Supermarket

Now this is where the shopping in Tokyo gets real. I can spend hours in supermarkets, and today was no exception. I wandered around and around, gawking at products, prices, and produce. Buns filled with chicken teriyaki, over-priced cheese, a vast array of things I couldn’t identify, and fruit. The most beautifully presented immaculate fruit in the world, priced accordingly. ($5 a peach, you say? Bring it on).

Oh yeah, and sushi. Lots, and lots, and lots, of sushi.

so much sushi!

Adventures Shopping in Tokyo, Vlog Ep. 14

Check out my shopping adventures at Ito-Yokado. If you find yourself in Japan, don’t forget to squeeze some shopping adventures into your own itinerary. You won’t regret it.

Can’t see this video? Watch it on YouTube here.

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8 thoughts on “Adventures Shopping in Tokyo (Vlog Ep. 14)”

    • Hi Walter,
      It has been a rough adjustment! But I’ve found some reasonable fruit in the mix.
      It’s worth noting that apples and bananas are pretty well-priced (you can get three bananas for about $1), but since I don’t eat either, I neglected to mention them.

  1. Oh, you made me so “homesick”.
    Every weekend I would go to Musashi Sakai. I would start at Starbuck’s, inevitably I would see many other ASIJ friends there. Then, on to Ito Yokado for groceries. Sticker shock is real, luckily I was well paid. I loved the tempura selection, and all the prepared foods, as well as all of the good veggies.

    • Hey Deborah,
      Ha ha – sorry to make you feel home-sick, but isn’t nostalgia lovely sometimes? Mmm….tempura…. πŸ˜‰

  2. Hey Nora,
    One of the things I like in the stores in Japan are all the electronic advertising items. Some of the screens are almost the size of a TV and some are very small. At times the volume could definitely be lowere, as a few of the ads are way too loud and drive me crazy. Overall I love shopping in Japan though!

    • Hey Mike,
      Those screens/ads are trippy! In my own way, I guess I enjoyed them as well. My favourite one was probably the musical cartoon/video illustrating the delights of meat-packing.
      And you’re certainly right – the volume could have been dropped a few decibels on a couple of them. πŸ˜‰

      It’s a real shame there weren’t any of those screens at Ito-Yokado; I didn’t discover them until this video was already produced. Because they would make a video all to themselves! Maybe I’ll produce a “bonus” video of those ad screens, just for YouTube subscribers. Ha ha – that’s an idea! I’m doing that now.

  3. I’m another one homesick for Tokyo. I was paid in Yen, so shopping was just normal for me. I NEVER did buy some of those 10,000Y fruit, though. I miss the Starbucks, like Debbie, the lovely library in Musashi Sakai and great breakfast they served (yes, in the library) and I really miss Kichijoji. I miss it all. I’m a former colleague of Debbie, BTW ! Cindy

    • Hi Cindy,
      That’s the great thing about being paid in local currency – it’s usually commensurate with local expenses! Thus, things like trains and groceries aren’t as shocking to the wallet as those who visit with a lesser currency. Scandinavia (Norway in particular) was worse in my opinion for being ridiculously expensive. At least in Japan there were inexpensive concessions….like sushi… πŸ˜‰

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