Part 4: 100-Yen Shops
I had planned to do a post with more writing tonight, but the metal grater I was using to grate ginger for dinner decided to take off a chunk of the skin on my right thumb right at the knuckle, so tonight’s post will briefer than usual.
The savior of many an expat with college loans, 100-yen shops carry kitchenware, home repair goods, and anything plastic you might need for your home. They are also the source for inexpensive Halloween costumes and decorations: witches’ hats, capes, garlands, gel stickers, figurines, silly string, banners, etc.
I understand why department stores, the food industry, and others would use Halloween as a marketing tool to start campaigns and appeal to seasonal sensibilities and a love for exciting new imported things, but why 100-yen shops? They don’t seem to be up on the latest trends, and they don’t really specialize in Western goods except for Christmas and Valentine’s Day items. Are they just following this trend, or are they getting surplus supplies made in other countries that manufacture Halloween goods for sale in the US and Canada? (This seems somewhat unlikely, but it’s worth considering where this stuff comes from and why it’s so cheap.)
According to my old JET translation textbook, the business model of 100-yen shops is to have so much stuff on display that you go in for a wine glass and come out with a milk frother, batteries, a non-evil grater, some tumblers for that party you’re throwing Saturday, tin foil…. The bright colors and array of shiny goods set up right in the front of the shop is quite alluring–you go to look at the cute pumpkin items to see if they’re candle-holders or cups and suddenly you’ve dropped 1000 yen on home goods. And a Halloween wreath. For old time’s sake.
Stay tuned for more documenting Halloween in Japan, provided my zombie thumb doesn’t get worse!
More “Documenting Halloween in Japan”