It’s the Simple Things in Life

Today was a good day.

I’m going to come off as the lamest expat in history, but I was excited today to discover a new store in Tokyo. It seems that in Japan 7-11 (yes, the convenience store chain) operates large department stores in Japan called Ito Yokado. I went to the branch in Omori today, which is just 4 train stops away (and less than 30 minutes door-to-door).

I wasn’t expecting much so I was surprised to find a 5 story building with three floors of shopping larger than the Macy’s flagship store in Downtown Crossing in Boston. Unlike all of the tiny shops that sell necessities in the heart of the city, this place had everything. Benetton shoes? Check. Luggage? Check. Pharmacy, clothing, travel agent? Check, check, check.

Plus a food court!

What I anticipated would be a quick browse ended up being a few hours of feeling like home. There were large signs indicating departments in English and the aisles were wide enough for multiple people with grocery carts to walk by. Oh, did I mention it’s also a grocery store? The food court even had a crepe shop where I splurged on a banana, custard, and chocolate crepe (with whipped cream and a brownie inside).

I had hoped to buy some clothes, but figured I’d be better of having Randy join me to give me a second opinion. I could see us doing some serious financial damage here.

But how pathetic am I that I’m living in Japan, one of the most homogenous countries in the world where over 98.5% of the population is Japanese and cultural traditions remain strong, and the highlight of my day was finding a western-style department store?

Oh, and with the heat/humidity of summer finally gone, we can see Mount Fuji from our apartment more frequently and as of last Friday morning, it’s snow covered!

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