I have blogged before about how fabulous Daisos (think Japanese dollar stores, only WAY better than American dollar stores) are, but sometimes you see all the goodness under those bright florescent lights and you end up spending a lot of money for some stuff you have no idea what to do with. If you'd like to read about the various times I have used a Daiso, just type Daiso in to the white box in the upper left of this page. All the posts will pop up.
And then you find that you need solutions for Japanese-living problems you never knew you had. I call these house hacks. For example, how do you hang curtains? Curtains are especially important because, after all, this is the Land of the Rising Sun and I am a night owl. I have no interest in rising with the sun. But all there were in my mid-rise apartment were these loop things on a sliding track. Um... what? That was not working for the curtains I already own. Instead of forking out a few thousand yen on new curtains, you may want to try the hooked clothespin hack.
Or the actual Japanese curtain hooks hack:
These both can usually be found in the wooden crafts section of the store. You will need two to four packs, depending on which window/sliding glass door you are hanging curtains on. Still, 440 yen is much cheaper than buying new Japanese curtains. But, regardless of the hack you use, plan on your curtains to be about 6 inches too short... even the ones you buy in Japan. Clearly a man designed the midrises because it is nearly impossible to find affordable curtains that fit properly.
Of course, the Japanese shower curtain rods are hung about two inches too high, so the end of the shower curtain blows in to the bathroom when the shower is on, drenching the floor. By using o-rings to string your shower curtain, the curtain edge will catch on the tiled lip of the shower floor and your floors will remain dry. Well, at least drier.
The o-rings come in various sizes, but the orange pack, or 50mm, works best for this... these are found in the stationery section.
Who decided it was a good idea to put a frosted window in the door separating the master bedroom from the master bathroom? Every time the spouse had to get up for work and I was sleeping late, I got bombarded with a stream of bright light at o'dark thirty in the morning. Fantastic, since I don;t fall back to sleep easily. A couple of short tension rods (called tension poles at the Daiso), a scrap of dark fabric and a sewing kit (all of these are at the Daiso) and you have a blackout panel for that stupid window. Just be sure to measure the window height accurately and then add about four inches for the pocket for the pole to slip through.
Did you know that some of the moldings around your kitchen are metal? Probably a fire safety thing, but actually very useful for organization. Magnetic Color Life containers come in all sorts of colors. This one is near our landline phone.
I got tired of little MIO juice mix bottles being left all over my kitchen counters or falling off of the shelves in my pantry... magnetic canisters with windows help keep them out of my way... and hold up photos on my fridge... I love items that can multitask. ;)
These are usually found in the stationery section, near the o-rings.
In Iwakuni there are four Daisos that I know of, and then a Seria (same thing, just a different company), which is near Nafco. Below is a map of the Daiso locations... I just typed "daiso" in to Google maps. The top left is known as the Fresta (or Cazl Mall) Daiso; the top right is adjacent the Iwakuni train station; the red circle at the bottom is on the second floor of the Fuji shopping area (think Jan Jaka restaurant); and there is the pink Daiso across the street, which is the grey circle near the red circle on the map. Happy house hacking!