Japan: A shopper’s paradise by Soo Hyun Hwang

Sibuya, Tokyo. One of the biggest shopping spots in Japan

Seeing is better than any other hundreds words heard. Prior to my trip, I had heard from many friends who had been to Japan that it was a shopper’s heaven. I have found this to be true since I arrived in Japan. Japan has countless unique brands of clothes, shoes and other apparel, as well as common, well-known brands. Even for brands we usually recognize, however, the designs and colors go beyond our imaginations. Although many of the brands are similar to those found in the U.S., the products are unique to Japan and make anyone an enthusiastic shopper, even if you have never been one before.

Yet, Japan is much more famous for its character goods related to manga(Japanese comic book) and anime(animation films) to foreigners. It seems, our study abroad group has huge fans of One-piece and Gantz mostly, but again, you would see numerous characters that you haven’t seen before if you came to Japan. Those character products include everything from chocolates to headsets – everything you would use in your daily life. Especially at museums or parks such as Universal Studio or Disney Sea, you are guaranteed to buy items like this.

Even when shopping for the most basic kind of products, you will feel as if you are a king or a queen. The Japanese clerks always welcome their customers with a warm“Iratshaimase” –“welcome (to our store)” – and are always ready to energetically help whenever customers ask for something. However, the biggest difference I feel at Japanese stores is their use of language. They speaks to customers with the most polite form in Japanese at all times, which always makes me feel as if I am somewhat of a VIP.


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