Shopping
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Posted 6/9/08
In Japan, shops tend to open and close late (10am-7pm or later) so that people can shop after work. Many people shop frequently rather than stocking up for the whole week as shops are everywhere! Some shops are closed on Monday or Tuesday (rather than weekends) but most supermarkets are open seven days. All shops used to close for the New Year's Day and until January 3, but now many shops start a NewYear's sale without any holidays! High competition brings the price down, especially electrical goods, including computers that are up-dated so quickly.

For shopping, you have a choice of department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, 100 yen shops or small speciality shops. Department stores have a wide range of goods including top-quality, expensive items. The food floor in department stores is usually in the basement. You can pick up some bargains if you go there just before closing time. Supermarkets, convenience stores, 100 yen shops sell mainly food and other daily necessities.

Besides department stores and supermarkets, there are many small shops specializing in a particular line of goods. You can buy fresh fish from sakanaya (fishmonger's) and fresh vegetables from yaoya (greengrocer's). You can also buy side dishes from those small shops, so you don't have to cook dinner.

Conbini (convenience stories) are almost in every block. They do not just sell groceries but are becoming "convenient" in every sense - you can pay bills, send parcels, book trips and buy a stock! Also, vending machines (jido-hanbaiki) are also everywhere, selling drinks, hot noodles, T-shirts, batteries, rice, magazines and of course drinks, including alcohol (till 11pm).

There is no bargaining in Japan. Prices are almost always fixed.

You may use credit cards at department stores and major supermarkets, but at convenience stores, 100 yen shops and other speciality shops, cash is usually common.


Feature season: summer

June, July and August is summer in Japan. June and July are the months of rainy season. August is the month of Obon (festival for the dead). On 15 August, people pay a special visit to their ancestors' grave with offerings. Bon odori and summer festivals, fireworks are held everywhere in Japan around mid-August.



Shopping language

Irrashaimase

Literally means "Welcome to my shop", but it is the same as "Hello, how are you?"\

Sumimasen

Excuse me

Kore wa Ikura desuka?

How much is this?

Sore wa ikura desuka?

How much is that?

Are wa ikura desuka?

How much is that over there?

Kore o kudasai.

Can I have this?

Sore o kudasai.

Can I have that?

Are o kudasai.

Can I have that over there?

Kurejitto kaado o tsukaemasu ka?

Can I use a credit card?

Domo arigatoo gozaimasu

Thank you very much

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