Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nitori and Yorkmart

Yesterday was a pretty good day. We spent a majority of the day outside our unfurnished apartment, so that's always a plus! We decided to venture out to a Japanese home goods store that we had heard about from other military folks living here. It's called Nitori and it's a lot like a Bed, Bath & Beyond mixed with a little IKEA.

Nitori has free parking - and in Japan, that is a major advantage! They also have a FREE rental truck for any large items you might need to haul home. The store is two levels. The first floor is like Bed, Bath & Beyond or Linen's N Things. It is full of anything you could need for your home - bakeware, cooking utensils, organizational items, bath supplies, rugs, curtains, home decor, etc. The second floor is a little similar to IKEA, but the furniture is more of a Japanese style.

If I didn't have an IKEA close by, I would probably buy a lot of things for my home here. However, I just didn't like some of the textiles, curtains, and rugs as much as the ones offered at IKEA or other places I usually shop in the states. 

We wandered around Nitori for a while and then headed back to Ikego for a birthday party. One of our first friends we made just moved into a townhome up the street from us and her youngest daughter was turning two. She bought a lot of Japanese foods to try and had a Japanese cake (not too different from our cakes - it was delicious!). My favorite thing at the table was an edamame cheesy-bread. It was fantastic! The girls were worn out after lots of play, so we came home to take naps.

After naptime, we decided to venture out again. This time, we wanted to check out the grocery store that we pass every day on our way to Ikego from the main base. It's just right down the road from us. Apparently, this place opened just a couple of months ago. It's called Yorkmart and it's owned by 7-11. (7-11's are quite popular here, funny enough.) It has a large parking garage underneath and there are policemen/guards out at the street directing you into the parking garage when you arrive.

The store is two floors. On the second floor, there is a clothing store and a Daiso. A Daiso is also called a 100Yen store - basically, it's like a Dollar Store in the US. It has a TON of stuff for cheap prices. If I need anything for the house, I can probably just go down the street to the Daiso and find it. The girls really liked it too. I apologize for not having more pictures of all these places. We already stand out as some of the only Caucasians and the last thing I want to do is draw more attention to myself by taking pictures in the store!

The first floor of the building is the grocery store. It was REALLY nice and had lots of stuff - including fresh fruit and vegetables, prepared meals (sushi, noodles, salad, etc.), and a bakery. Since everything is in Japanese and I have to try and figure out what it is by looking at it, I think I'll probably buy most of my staples and packaged food at the Commissary, but come here for my fresh food.

That poor guy in the brown shirt who walked into my picture....
And, unfortunately for us, fruit and vegetables - but especially fruit - are very expensive in Japan. The Hubs and I were mostly vegetarian before moving here and the selection of fruit and veggies at the Commissary was a bit depressing. There is a little more offered here at Yorkmart, but it's definitely going to be more expensive to eat vegetarian here. Here is some of the fruit that we picked up:

Y298 = $3.78

Getting out and about yesterday (and it going well!) made me feel a lot better about being here. I'm starting to get over the culture shock a bit and I can't tell you how thankful I am for that. It's still REALLY hard to not be able to read anything, but I'm picking up on a little bit of the language and the Japanese have seemed very nice and polite thus far. Things will also get better once my van gets registered and I'm able to drive. Plus, The Hubs has promised to take me to IKEA no later than this weekend to finally get some things for our empty house. I'm SO EXCITED to make this place feel more like a home. Now, I'm going to go enjoy some of my $4 watermelon. I hope it tastes like it's worth $4....

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