Saturday, October 31, 2009

Japanese Thrift Shops = Awesome!

Don't judge me, but one of my most favorite things to do here in Okinawa is seek out new places to shop. Maybe I just need a job, but I loved shopping in Chicago, I loved it in California, and now, I LOVE it in Japan! Or maybe it's more window shopping that I enjoy - I like to look, but don't always buy! My new favorite place to visit and browse: the Japanese Thrift Shop. So, here's the scene: It's 9:00 on a week night. Matt and I are bored, don't want to go home, and just start driving the island. We venture down a road we've never been down, and we spot a huge, lit up, white building with words and Kanji symbols all over it and no windows. The only thing we can read on the exterior is "Buy Sell Anything", and the parking lot is jam-packed (on a week night at 9 pm?!?). We just had to see what was inside, and like most things we've explored so far, I'm glad we did!

We found the mother of all Thrift Shops (compared to US thrift shops, that is). This store was HUGE, and it had so many different departments and items that it's almost hard for me to describe. It was such an experience - you just had to be there to see all of the neat things that were packed into this one shop. Not only was the variety great, but the items for sale were things that you would really want to buy for the most part. While you may find an item or two that you would want when venturing into an American thrift shop, I could have probably walked out of this store with a whole car full of items! Home goods, sporting goods, music equipment, clothing, shoes, accessories, video games, books, toys...the list goes on and on! The crazy thing was how many old and unique things they had for sale - video game consoles that came out when we were kids, toys that were collectibles back in the US - still in packaging!

I wonder what he's saying?!?

After looking through the clothing racks for all of 5 minutes, I immediately found 4 cute dresses I wanted. They were each 300 yen (about $3)! You can't beat that! Matt found a brand new life vest for himself to use on our Jet-Skis for about $40 - it was one of those really nice foam and neoprene ones that zips up. While Matt was totally into the aisles and aisles of old video games and electronics, I was more interested in all the cool and cheap finds in the clothes and accessories area. It very much reminded me of one of my favorite clothing thrift shops back in CA - Buffalo Exchange! Needless to say, I was back two days later selling them a few of my old shirts after cleaning out my closet:)

The Japanese LOVE shirts with a bunch of writing on them, and I can't tell you how many of them make absolutely no sense at all!

They have a section of clothes that are from Forever 21:)

And now...

Things I Learned in Japan Today:
1. Most stores play American songs - this thrift shop likes to play all of Pink's songs on repeat.
2. The Japanese cashiers handle your credit card like it is a stick of gold, and they always take it from you and hand it back to you with both hands.
3. They do not keep pennies on the island. When buying something (where they take American dollars) the amount is always rounded off to the nearest nickel. For instance, if you owe $10.74 and you give the cashier $10.75, you will not get your penny back! And, if your change is supposed to be $1.54 (for example) the cashier will give you $1.55 back as change - you will have made an extra penny! After a lot of confusion, we still don't know the reason for this, all we've been told is that, "they don't keep pennies on the island". Hmmmm?!? How do the cashiers keep their drawers balanced?? I think this just may be the strangest thing I've learned in Japan so far!

'Till next time...


  1. How late do stores like this one stay open on weeknights?

  2. See, all the garage sales I dragged you to as a kid was actually preparation for bigger and better (and further-away) things....

  3. Normally, most stores close at 8 or 9pm on weeknights. This one stays open late (I think) because it has a Pachinko place attached to it inside. Pachinko places out here are like casinos, they are open until like 3am, and they are everywhere - the Japanese are crazy about them for some reason!

  4. I would also love to know where this store is. Great blog!

  5. where is it located

  6. where is it!!!!!!

  7. This spot is called Manga Soko Awase.