Posts Tagged 99 yen store

January 16, 2004 – Should have stayed in bed

Yesterday was a train wreck of a day. It started out when I couldn’t find my watch. I spend a long time looking for it in my room. How long? I don’t know because my watch was missing. I did find it eventually, but was almost late for work.

After work the plan was to meet Marshall at Kawasaki station and go to GasPanic Yokohama. I had planned ahead by bringing a change of clothes to work (didn’t want to go out in my suit) and getting directions from other teachers. The one thing I didn’t do was get cash, because there were numerous bank machines around Kawasaki station. Right after work I changed clothes and headed to the nearest bank machine. No luck. I quickly tried about 5 more bank machines in the area, also with no success. I contacted Marshall and he said he would cover me, so we met at the station to go to Yokohama.

The train from Kawasaki to Yokohama is usually busy, but this was the most crowded train I had ever seen that wasn’t going to or from Shibuya. Seriously, if everyone had breathed at the same time the doors would have popped out. From Yokohama we followed the directions I had been given and took a train to Takashima-cho station. It turns out that the directions I had been given were CRAP, and after about 30 minutes of wandering around we gave up and headed back to Yokohama.

Since we were already out, plan B was to go bowling at a nearby bowling alley. The problem was that the alley had no shoes to fit 193cm (6’4″) Marshall. Dejected, we decided that plan C was to return to Noborito and go to Avenue Izakaya for some cheap beer and octopus. Avenue was a safe bet because it was usually open until 5:00am every night. We took the 27 minute train ride from Kawasaki to Noborito, walked 5 minutes to Avenue to find that it was closed and dark. Last night was the one night it was ever known to be closed.

One of the great things about Japan is that beer is easily available in convenience stores. Coincidentally, there was a convenience store directly across the street from Avenue (plan D for those keeping track). We went in to find that the store was completely SOLD OUT of alcohol. Seriously, WTF? We ended up going to the 99 yen store to buy some some mystery beverages which may or may not have been alcoholic, and then returned to Hello House.

I don’t know what I did to upset the universe so badly, but I am hoping that this will all balance out at some point. I should have just stayed in bed.

(partial rewrite for formatting and detail)

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Life in Noborito – Daiei Department Store

Daiei near Mukogaokayuen station in Kawasaki Japan

Daiei near Mukogaokayuen station in Kawasaki Japan

One of the most important places in the Noborito area was the Daiei Department store. The Daiei building contained a department store, 99 yen shop and grocery store, all of which were important for daily life in Hello House. The closest Daiei was about a 5 minute walk from Hello House, directly across from Mukogaokayuen station.

During my first week in Noborito I stocked up on stuff for my room at the 99 yen store. Over the next year I ended up buying a small floor couch that folds down into a matress, a small stereo, a Playstation 2 and other items to decorate my room. There was a small photo studio outside the main entrance that I used regularly. For those too young to remember, cameras used to require film. Once the film was used up, you needed to take it somewhere to get developed and turned into prints. I paid extra for digital copies of my pictures on CD.

The grocery store was the most common place that I visited at Daiei. It was a well stocked regular grocery store with a large deli section filled with ready to eat bentos and other food. The food was prepared daily, so it needed to be sold before the end of the day. Starting around 8:00pm, one of the employees would walk around with discount stickers for the food. Discounts would start at 10% and increase regularly after that to a maximum of 50%. It was not uncommon to see a crowd of hungry salarymen (and a few English teachers) following the discount sticker guy around the store.

The only downside of the Daiei store was the annoying music. Certain areas of the grocery store would have their own music that would play over and over until it was firmly stuck in your head. To this day I remember the songs for the meat and fish sections. The worst was the Daiei Hawks victory song. Deiei used to own the Daiei Hawks baseball team, who are now known as the SoftBank Hawks. In 2003 The Hawks won the Japan Series title and the store did nothing but play the stupid Hawks song on repeat. I feel bad for the employees who had to endure the song day after day.

Having a department store nearby was one of the great things about living in Noborito, and went a long way in making my time in Kawasaki enjoyable.

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