For some of you this may be your first paycheck for others maybe not. Either way you now have a well paying job, so you have to figure out where you're going to spend your hard earned cash or blow it all. Below is some information about well known chains and convenience stores. Also check out Food Shopping and Buying a computer.
Every place has shops unique to it. However, there are a number of restaurants, shops etc which can be found widely across the region. Most larger cities in Wakayama will have at least one of the following:
- Uni-qlo - Everyone talks of Japan's extortionate cost of living, and more often than not its fair comment - however, Uni-qlo stands as an exception. Uni-glo has all the basic elements in a wardrobe with sizes that fit foreigners. There are Uni-qlo stores in Wakayama-shi, Tanabe-shi and Shingu-shi.
- Kohnan (コーナン) and Komeri (コメリ) - These home center chains specialize in DIY business and can be found across the Kinki region. You can find stores throughout Wakayama prefecture. The ‘Home Centers’ deal with DIY products and convenience goods, for the improvement of our lives. You can generally find most of your household items here for sprucing up your new home!
- ¥100 shops - It's not going to take colossal leaps of imagination to work this one out. Just don't underestimate what it is you can buy in these places: cutlery, stationary, 'party items', cheap presents to take back home for Christmas - the list is endless. If you ever need to equip your house (or yourself for almost anything) this is the cheapest place to start. 100-yen shops are everywhere, and watch for its up-market cousins, the ¥300 shop and the ¥1000 shop.
- Department stores - Sogo, Daimaru, Hankyu, Forus and others; these giant departments can be found in our neighbor to the north, Osaka city. They are slightly pricey, but full of all kinds of grocery, cosmetic and gift-type items. In the rural areas you can generally find smaller versions of such places in shopping arcades and districts like Okuwa's department stores.
- Rinku Premium Outlets - Lots of familiar Western brands and variety. Large shoes and clothing sizes a.k.a "gaijin size". http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/en/rinku/
- Tsutaya - This is one of the largest DVD/CD chains in the country. They can be found in most towns and cities in Wakayama. In addition to DVD and CDs, they also have large selections of Japanese comics, magazines and books. Wakayama Garden Parks in Wakayama city has a large 24-hr Tsutaya with a foreign book section.
Like most loan words, "convenience store" has been hacked down to the Japanese friendly コンビ二 (konbini). No special mental work needed to grasp the basic concept; the important thing is not to underestimate the endless array of goods and services offered by the 'konbini'. The food is compact, surprisingly tasty and generally nutritious, and there are decent selections of magazines, stationary, cosmetics etc. You can usually pay your bills here and buy stamps. Sometimes ticket purchases and photocopying services are available, as are 24 hour ATM machines (depends on your bank's operating hours). Stores usually have decent public washrooms. Two symbols to watch out for are 酒 (sake), meaning that that particular store sells alcohol, and タバコ meaning that cigarettes are for sale. The 酒 sign will usually be hanging under the main sign outside. Many convenience stores are open 24 hours.
The most common convenience store chains are: 7-11 Circle-K Sunkus Lawson Family Mart
One of the first things you will notice when you arrive in Japan is that your local supermarket may be lacking in the necessary ingredients to make your favorite lasagna dish. Here are some ways to get your hands on some of your international ingredients/food to help satisfy your craving for something from back home.
- Kintetsu: - Basement floor of the Kintetsu building in Wakayama city (next to JR Wakayama station) has a variety of ingredients to help spice up your life. Mexican, Thai, Indian, Italian spices/herbs/sauces and other food items can all be found here.
- The Flying Pig - Order your favorite food from this convenient online resource. Products are shipped directly to your doorstep http://www.theflyingpig.com
- The Meat Guy - They will rock your meat world with fast delivery anywhere in Japan. Turkeys, ham, AUS & USA Beef, Lamb, Pork, Game and Exotic. http://www.themeatguy.jp