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One Hundred Yen Shops, The Addiction Begins

By: Elizabeth Garrett

Date Posted: 2000-09-22

When I first arrived in Okinawa and my friend asked me, “Do you want to go to the 100 Yen Shop?” I balked at the idea. After all, since I never shopped at dollar stores in the US why I should shop at dollar stores here in Okinawa. However, when I realized that anything was better than being stuck in Kuwae Lodge, I went with my friend to the 100-Yen Shop in the Makeman Store in Chatan Town.

Much to my amazement, the 100-Yen Shop was clean, well organized, and full of great deals. In fact, my friend couldn’t get me to leave the store. Maybe it’s my fascination with the variety of plastic ware or my daughter’s love of Hello Kitty items that drew us into the world 100-Yen Shops, however, we are clearly addicted to 100 Yen Shops now. In fact, when I tell my daughter that we’re going to the Makeman Store, she practically runs out the door to the car.

Let me tell you some of the bargains that I have found. At the Makeman Store in both Chatan Town and in Naha, there is a plethora of plastic ware. Since, everything is only 100 yen, less than $1.00 apiece, you cannot go wrong with these items. From plastic bowls to clothespins to pet grooming items, you will find an abundance of household items at the 100-Yen Shop. Are interested in trying some Japanese crackers, cookies or condiments? You can find those too. Do you ever have problems finding your car keys in gym bag or a purse? Well, for 100 yen you can buy a key chain with a bell on it.

Downstairs in Hambytown, there is also a 100-Yen Shop. Recently, I purchased eight beautiful water glasses, made in Japan, at the Hambytown 100-Yen Shop. My friends are surprised when I tell them that I purchased them for only 100 yen each. A couple months ago, I bought some huge plastic bowls with a diameter of 15” across. These bowls have really cute apple designs on the sides. I even found a colander that is 15” across too. You may ask what would anyone want such a large bowl for? I am currently trying to master the fine art of making kimchi. (That’s a long story in itself). Well, these large bowls are so cute they would make great punch bowls for a party.

Whenever you’re around the Nago area, stop by the San-A 100-Yen Shop. The San-A stores have large yellow signs with three A’s in the triangular sign. The 100-Yen Shop is on the second floor in the corner. I found some great dishwashing scrub pads. There are four pads in a package and they are long lasting. The 100-Yen Shop also carries ankle length nylons that normally cost about 350 yen per package. The phrase, “Less is more” never rang so true until I came to Okinawa.

Lastly, if you haven’t made your trek to the Kadena Navel Center, make sure you try the 100-Yen Shop downstairs in the back of the shopping plaza. Maybe because Toys R’ Us is in the same shopping center, the 100 Yen Shop has a variety of toys. After spending almost 40 minutes in Toys R’ Us searching for children’s watercolor paints and leaving empty-handed, I stumbled upon them at the 100 Yen Shop. The Kadena Navel Center 100-Yen Shop has the typical household items but they also have some different items as well. There are some great tasting Japanese salad dressings and even yo-kang there. What is yo-kang? Yo-kang is a firm sweet, red bean jelly that is eaten like a desert.

So, whether your are new to the island or you have been here awhile, you might want to check out some of the useful if not interesting bargains at the 100 Yen Shops!

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