2016 Spring Gloria Huynh Temple Japan

Shop, shop till you drop

Or you know, until the next thing you know, you’re broke. But that is a scenario that I think most of us would like to avoid. Being in a whole other country, you want to buy souvenirs, clothes, etc. that you can bring back home to show off and say, “Hey, look where I’ve been! Here is the proof.” It doesn’t help that I am in Tokyo which is what people may consider a major fashion hub alongside cities like NYC, Paris, and London, and there are clothing boutiques all around.

Now if you have money to burn, maybe Ginza is right up your alley with its brand name luxury stores that will bring to mind Fifth Avenue in New York, but chances are that isn’t the case. For a more reasonable price, I took a look at Shibuya 109 with its nine floors packed with cosmetics, shoes, accessories, and clothing in every style from classy-chic to preppy-sports-y. However, like most department stores, it is not the cheapest option since these clothes are targeted towards those cultivating a specific sort of closet. There are bargains to be found of course, but the chances are not too likely that the nicer and more fashionable items are going to be discounted. Another alternative to the department store scene are the massive clothing stores found worldwide like H&M and Forever21, but if you’re in Japan, you might as well shop in their stores, right?

That being said, the cheapest option that is friendly on your wallet and also easy on the eyes is thrift-shopping! Now before anyone cringes at the thought of musty smelling items in a potentially dingy store, let it be known that I was not big on thrift shopping in the U.S. I can make an exception here. Clothes in the few thrift stores that I visited were for the most part in fantastic condition, and in some cases, never worn, although there is always that one rack where all the not so great stuff goes. Prices were also far more reasonable than back in the U.S. For example, one shop I went to on Wednesday, Don Don Down, has a ranking system of fruits and vegetables, each denoting a different price, the lowest being 100yen. I wound up finding a formal business blouse for only a 100 yen , which means I spent less than a dollar on it. No complaints there! Now, if you live by the girls’ dorm, there is a thrift store nearby where almost everything is under a 1000yen. The biggest catch, though, is finding one in your size.

Unusual name and mascot but definitely worth it

In general though, clothes store are abundant in Tokyo, and the upkeep of them, whether in a fancy designer store or a thrift shop, is clean and orderly. Usually, when it rains, they have little baggies to slip over your umbrella so water doesn’t leak everywhere, and this applies to many places actually. Another thing clothing stores do to manage their standard of quality is that they provide what appears to be a linen baggy. I had no idea at first what it was for when the salesgirl gave it to me. I found out later that it was to put over your face so when people tried on clothes, they wouldn’t smear make-up all over the clothes. The more you know!

I didn’t know what to do with it at the time so I ended up bringing it home

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