Freelance Writer. Family focused, always exploring, nature connecting and an all round fun loving guy
Published July 8th 2011
Living in a city as diversified as Melbourne, there are always new restaurants or stores opening up throughout this city that capture the eyes of many people as they pass by. So, I want to briefly touch on the Japanese shopping culture within the streets and shopping centres of Melbourne.
If you're like me and you are a studier of the Japanese Language and are fascinated by the culture and customs of Japan, or for whatever your reason, are taking an interest in the Japanese culture, then let me take a moment of your time and share a portion of Japanese Culture "wisdom" with you, the shopping culture of the "Hyaku en Mise".
The "Hyaku en Mise," loosely translated to the "100 yen Shop," has been a part of Japan's shopping culture for just over two decades. And now, the Japanese shopping craze is beginning to leave it's footprint across the city of Melbourne, and one can only imagine that there will be stores sprouting up in other parts of Australia at some stage in the near future.
Melbourne can now take pride in being Australia's first city to have this shopping phenomenon reach its shores. Daiso first entered this diverse and multicultural city in 2010 by opening a store in Abbotsford, and now, this year, they have opened a brand new store in Doncaster's Westfield Shopping Centre.
Daiso is a household name with most Japanese people as their organisation has been in operation since 1972, as well as opening their very first 100 yen shop in Japan back in 1991. Since then, many other organisations have developed their own 100 yen shops and brought them into the market, however, Daiso still remains one of the market leaders within Japan having over 2000 stores nationally, and over 500 stores internationally.
It certainly makes one wonder as to why this shopping craze is so far reaching. Well, allow me to put it in layman's terms, in the midst of all the financial fluctuations, Daiso, and many other stores like it, never fluctuate in the pricing of their goods. One solid example of this is that the two Melbourne stores have one thing in common, all products are $2.80 each, and that is the price it will remain.
Daiso is not like any other discount variety store, one look at their store and website will show you this. One thing is for sure, Daiso is most definitely innovative and their product range is expansive.
Walking in to one of their stores will open the eyes and mind to a new kind of shopping experience. And yes, even though the typical discount items that you would expect to see in any other variety store is also in Daiso, one walk through their isles will show you that there is more to this store than meets the eye.
There are items for all facets of your everyday living from personal care to kitchen ware and stationary. It also comes with that "Japanese Touch" that is unmatched by any other discount variety store of its kind, like an ear cleaner that comes with a LED light at the tip to ensure that you can see clearly into your ear whilst cleaning it. There are more Japanese inventions and innovations in the store than just that one, but you will just have to see them for yourself.
Whether you go there with the intention to shop, or to experience it yourself and just simply have a look around the store, I believe that everyone will walk away with their own unique experience that is Daiso.
...because who hasn't felt a yearning for crinkle-cut bananas?
I went to the Abbotsford store recently after a friend told me about a store that sold EVERYTHING for $2.80... Unlike our $2 Shops, where things are two dollars or more, Daiso really was an entire store full of things for $2.80.
Some of the objects seemed a little lost in translation, things I couldn't immediately see a use for. But at the same time, there was a lot of handy things you wouldn't find in a normal cheap store - wacky food storage containers, hair clips, etc... An entertaining mix of useful/fun and puzzling.
Have been meaning to visit Daiso, it makes me wonder why other shops are so expensive. I have been to overseas $2 shop equivalents, and especially in Hong Kong most of the goods sold are Japanese.
Yes, the fact that these goods are all imported from Japan sometimes makes it difficult for shoppers to know what they are buying and how to use it, but for me who can read minimal Japanese I enjoy reading the katakana and trying to work it out.
Daiso is a great addition to the Melbourne shopping scene and can hopefully encourage more competition with other stores.
By Emily Pong - senior reviewer Tuesday, 19th of July @ 09:00 am
I love Daiso, there's always something crazy that you've never heard of before, and things you might not generally buy, but at $2.80 why not?
I must admit that I do find it relieving not to have to check the price of any item I'm interested in. It's a shame that the old $2 shops are anything but.