Freelance writer specialising in serendipity: the art of finding wonderful things by accident or sagacity. Comments and suggestions always welcome!
Published December 16th 2016
At last a Japanese discount variety store in Perth
Every country seems to have a chain of inexpensive variety shops packed with stationary, pet supplies, chocolates, household products and much more. Here they're known as two dollar stores and in the UK they're pound shops, but it's Japan that elevated the bargain hunt to a fine art with 100 yen stores. Some like Daiso carry 18,000 products and are expanding worldwide. If you visit eastern Australia you can shop at Daiso but until recently Perth missed out. Fortunately that has now changed with the opening of Miyu Life Store in Northbridge late last year and at the Carousel Shopping Centre in October.
Miyu Life at Carousel
The Miyu Life Store has many of the characteristics of the 100 yen shops. It's clean, brightly lit and packed with a huge variety of products, all imported from Japan and with most costing $2.80. Although 100 yen converts to somewhat less than $2.80 Aussie, it's still a small price to pay for a unique shopping experience. Almost all the items have attractive and colourful packaging labelled in Japanese and sometimes English as well. The purpose of some products without the translation can be a mystery (see below) but the staff is happy to help.
The housewares section supplies basic crockery and kitchen utensils but also offers such delights as an octopus hot dog maker. Laundry items appear to be fairly standard until shoppers stumble upon something like the pillow hanger. The storage section includes clever things like the hanger holder for those with overstuffed closets. Shoppers will also find toys, travel goods, party supplies, seasonal decorations, electronic accessories and much more, but the best is yet to come.
Some of the most popular sections are the food, stationery and cosmetics. The stationary section has a range of office supplies such as hole punches and memo pads, tape, notebooks and desk accessories. Also in this section, there's origami paper in different sizes and colours along with other craft or scrapbooking supplies.
The cosmetics area attracts younger female shoppers and it's easy to see why. There's a bewildering array of face masks and creams, lipsticks, mascara, hair goods, false eyelashes, nail decorations and much, much more. This is the place to try a new trend. Some items are more than $2.80 but these are clearly marked.
Finally, we come to the food section. Here again some items are more expensive, but who can resist a pack of the legendary Green Tea Kit Kats? In fact, green tea, or matcha, features in many of the lollies and drinks. Matcha tea is said to have many health benefits though this probably doesn't apply to the sweet treats.
Other choices include the very popular Pocky snack biscuits, available in several flavours, and a large variety of chocolates. If the selection is overwhelming, staff are happy to help with suggestions.
Miyu Life Store is the perfect place to find a quirky gift for someone who has everything. It's an excellent source of cheap housewares, toys, unusual sweets and great fun to browse. The Carousel store is larger but the Northbridge store also has a large selection. Check the Facebook page for some product ideas and have fun!