Posts Tagged Seiyu
This afternoon we decided to go to Seiyu to pick up a few things, most notably a new hat for Tiny Dog (TD) after his awesome Domo-kun hat was lost at Haneda airport, and some toys to keep him occupied at the house.
For a little background, in 2002 Walmart acquired a majority stake in Seiyu, a Japanese department store company. In 2003 they opened their first big box, Walmart style store in Numazu.
I lived in Numazu from 2004 – 2006 about 5 minutes away from the big box Seiyu on foot. It was incredibly convenient to be able to buy groceries and pretty much anything else 24 hours a day.
Overall, Walmart’s expansion in Japan has not been a success. There are a lot of very good articles explaining the reasons, but long story short Walmart was trying to provide something that people didn’t want.
Sometime since our last visit to Japan, Seiyu Numazu got a pretty serious remodel. The groceries were still there, but the housewares and most importantly the toys were all gone, replaced by a new clothing store and a 100 yen shop. We didn’t know this before we left, and had promised TD some new toys. That was a mistake.
There are few things on planet Earth more persistent than a 3 year old who has been promised something fun but has not received it yet. After a few laps around the store, we decided to occupy him with the huge selection of Gatcha machines near the store entrance. Gatcha machines are the ones with cheap toys inside little plastic capsules.
The cheap toys he got were fun, but not nearly as fun as putting money into the machines and turning the handle.
Lessons learned: things change when you are away for a few years, and never promise something to a kid unless you can get it to them in a reasonable period of time.
I did some exploring on my bike today and took some new pictures. I love being able to get around town!
Also, for the first time in a long time, I did a proper grocery shopping at Seiyu. I am usually pretty lazy about preparing food, so I thought that having some ingredients in the house would make me more likely to cook something at home instead of just eating out like usual.
There is a basket on the front of my bike, but it wasn’t nearly big enough for the amount of food that I bought. Balancing shopping bags on a bicycle while riding on narrow streets is not easy (or safe). Thankfully, Seiyu is not very far from my apartment.
After finding space to put away my food, I cooked for myself for about the first time in 3 months. It was a nice change from my regular diet of convenience store bentos and izakaya food. Hopefully I can keep this up.
(2015 Update) Nope!
I woke up early (rare for a day off) and set out for Numazu to check out my new neighbourhood. The Penpal had found my apartment and wanted to show me the area.
I took the usual route of Odakyu line to Odawara followed by Tokaido line to Numazu. The Penpal met me at Numazu station and drove me by my new apartment. It is a five story building called “Ooka City Plaza” only a few minutes away from the station by car. I guess it will take about 15 minutes on foot to walk to the station. Directly across the street from City Plaza is a small supermarket and a 7-11. City Plaza is also conveniently located near a big Seiyu store.
Wal-Mart has been trying to break into the Japanese market for years, but it’s hard to find the space to build their big sprawling stores. Wal-Mart bought a large ownership stake in Seiyu in 2002. The Numazu Seiyu is an experiment – the store is almost exactly like any Wal-Mart you would find in Canada or the US with three differences; the name, McDonalds has been replaced by a generic fast food counter that serves pizza and pasta, and the parking lot is on the roof to save space. The layout of the store is exactly the same as Wal-Marts back home, and the rollback smiley face is everywhere.
The roof parking is fun because there is a giant conveyor belt ramp from the main floor to allow easy transportation of fully loaded shopping carts. Naturally as a mature, responsible adult I couldn’t resist and played on the conveyor like a 6 year old.
After checking out my new neighbourhood, we got back in the car and headed towards a place called Niji-no-Sato (Rainbow country) in Shuzenji. There are outdoor gardens, and small villages modeled after Canada and Great Britain. It took a few hours in gridlocked traffic to get there. When we finally arrived, we saw a big sign on the gate informing us that it was closed due to damage from yesterday’s typhoon. Stupid typhoon!
At least The Penpal and I got to hang out and spend some time together. I am really looking forward to moving into my new city!