My husband and I have traveled a lot of the world together, Australia, India, Mexico, Ecuador, all through Europe and the U.S. By far the most exhilarating trip we ever took together was a quick few days in Tokyo.
It was the last stop on a tour that started from Germany, to Western Australia and on to California for our second wedding ceremony. Besides booking hotel and grabbing a travel guide at the airport in Singapore, we didn't plan for it at all.
We were both surprised by the backslapping openness of the people. We loved the food. We went to the fish market at 5 a.m. and ate the most incredible sashimi I have ever tasted (up until that point I thought I didn't like it). We strolled through breath-taking parks, stumbled through Electronic Town (which inspired the cityscapes for the movie Blade Runner) dazed and staring agog at the manga stores, video arcades and girls standing around in french maid costumes.
We both had never experienced anything like it. We hope to go back one day.
This was before the washi tape craze went global. I guess I did actually plan one thing; I scouted out a stationery store where I could buy washi tape and practically bought a suitcase full.
While walking through Harajuku, gaping at all the Tokyo youths in full Cosplay regalia, I noticed a shop full of knick knacks: DAISO. "Let's just pop in here real quick" I headed in before waiting for a response.
It was full of Japanese bric a brac; colorful striped paper clips, mini neon tupperware-type containers, digital watches, dishes, coin purses, you name it.
What was this magical place?
I spotted, well, a white lady and quickly cruised over to her.
"Do you speak English?" I asked in a hushed tone
"Yeah" she answered in a North American accent
"What is this store?"
"It's a dollar store, everything is a 100 Yen"
Time stopped. Joy, joy, joy. Pure unadulterated joy.
"I'll just wait outside" Armin said. He knew it was gonna be awhile.
I couldn't get much now that I had almost a suitcase full of washi tape. But I perused the store and agonized over which few not too large items I could buy. I still have some of the striped paper clips I bought.
Several years later, on an annual trip back to California, I was minding my own business whistling down Market Street in San Francisco only to come upon...a DAISO! Again, time stopped, ecstatic joy ensued. This time we had room in our suitcases and if we didn't I could buy another one!
Among my booty were a simple white digital watch which I wore until the arm band disintigrated (it was, after all, only a dollar) and a series of fun little packet envelopes.
I've been irrationally hoarding these envelopes. I get a little surge of pleasure when I open my work drawer and see them lying there. 'These are so cute' I think. I pick them up, lovingly fondle them in their packages, put them back down and shut the drawer again.
I'm still not ready to use them, but I can at least share their images with you. They are by far my favorite dollar store purchase ever.