Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The wonders of the diaso...

... Our family has visited diasos four times now, and we always find something new we can't live without. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, a Diaso is the equivalent of a 99-cents or dollar store, like Dollar Tree, and Diaso is the brand name of one chain, like Dollar Tree. But they are all called daisos, kind of like tissues are called Kleenex. Seriously, who says, "Can you hand me a Puffs?" or "Achoo! I need a Scottie." No one. So, the stores are diasos, as far as I am concerned. The Americans on base tend to call them 100-yen stores, but I have discovered that most of the items actually cost 105 yen ($1.33 in U.S. dollars), plus there are some items that are (clearly marked so there is no mistake) 210- or 315-yen items, as well. So, in an effort to be as accurate as I wish to be, I will continue to call these stores diasos, because that is what is on their signs.

Those of you who LOVE dollar stores would LOVE diasos. The products are of higher quality than those you would find in dollar stores in America, many of the products are made in Thailand, exclusively for the diaso chain. Like the generic Wal-mart or Target brands I no longer have access to at the commissary on base. But there are definitely some major product themes, regardless of what diaso you happen to go to.

First off, there's organization. Japanese homes tend to be small... after all, this is an island with limited resources, so there's not a lot of floor or counter space, because there is not a lot of land to put said floor or counter on. So, most homes are more than one story high and there are a lot of condos and apartments. I'm reminded of California and New York City: when you can't afford to build out, you build up. The Japanese personal home storage is no different. Almost everything is designed to be stackable, making use of height where length and width is not available. I would say 25 percent of the store's shelves are devoted exclusively to organization. Here are two of the four aisles devoted to plastic organization.

Be sure to note the very vibrant colors. Household goods are very  colorful, often with no rhyme or reason to  the use of color, or color mixes.

Rodney checking out the food storage aisle.

I found it funny that these black and white items had big labels that read: "Color Life."

Seriously stackable tray storage. Many labels offered suggestions for things to organize with the product.
Another three aisles are devoted to items for doing laundry. From the amount of laundry dangling from balconies and hanging from windows, it appears that the Japanese do not have dryers. Where Americans, such as my husbands' family, use clotheslines, clothes pins and the like when the weather is nice, the Japanese make use of colorful, clever, often 3D, hanging devices with clips and tension rods, as you can see from the photo below. And 10 points to anyone who can correctly guess what the large, colorful horseshoe-looking things on the right are used for:

The large horseshoe-shaped clips are to hang blankets, futon mattresses, etc., over the patio railing and clipping them so they don't fall or blow away. Happy laundry!
 The daisos have two or three aisles devoted to gardening. I got two plants, two pots, pot screens and dirt - everything I needed for a couple of small houseplants.

Of course, there are about four or five aisles devoted to cheap children's toys. Here are my cheap children. Just kidding. The toys are cheap, not the children, let me assure you. But, for about $6 each, my two kids are now outfitted as Ninja 1 and Ninja 2. We left Ninjas 3 (yellow) and 4 (green) at the store. This purchase has already paid off in my book. The Ninjas kept themselves busy for two hours tonight after we bought the costumes.

Then there are the diaso product categories that I call Odd, Useful and Familiar. See if you would classify them as I would:

Useful: magnetic plastic baskets - great for keeping pens near the grocery list on the fridge!

Useful: Keep your bowl of soup from spilling in the microwave... if you have the right-sized bowl. These do come in several different sizes.

Familiar: Toilet bowl brushes. We needed these.

Familiar: Craft paper boxes that got the scrapbooker in me excited!

Useful: Pads for shoes to cushion the balls of your feet.  The Japanese actually have a lot of cool  things for foot comfort. My plantar faciitis appreciates it!

Useful: Let me reiterate from a previous blog post - this is a symbol to place on a car driven by someone 70 years old or older. There is a different symbol to put on the car of someone who has been driving less than a year. I think this is something America should consider implementing. I'm mailing one to my grandma this week. ;)

Familiar: Scrapbookers pay several dollars for these to organize their stuff. I paid 105 yen for these and love them!

Cool, cushioned socks, perfect for use with my Skecher mary janes!

Familiar: Scrub brushes!

Familiar: Scotch tape!

Useful (also see below): customizable drawer dividers. I'm a huge fan!

Useful: Handheld scrubby with dishsoap.

Useful: Saving the nails with a Brillo pad on a handle. Love it!

Odd: Dried octopus snacks. Uh, yum...?
I should also mention that I enjoy the Diasos despite the fact that signs, fixtures and labels inside the stores are bright hot pink.  Those of you who know me know I am not particularly fond of the color pink. Pink is a popular color in Japan, even for men's wear. We have see a number of pink shirts, shoes and ties sported by men. Rodney and the boys are not yet sold on that fashion trend, however.


Anonymous said...

HiJessica. I liked that brillo holder. Pink is a GREAT color.I think Rodney and the boys should try it. Uncle Earl wears it!!! It's my feel good color. Glad all is going well. We are fine here. Might rain tomorrow. Hope we have the hay up by then. Marble is doing good and sends hugs and kisses to all. Talk to you later. Love to all, Uncle Earl and Aunt Vic

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