Shopping in Japan

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laura
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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby laura » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:53 pm

Thank you for your kind replies! I was shocked to read them.. I didn't even check the whole forum, as I'm always thinking nobody's interested in my babbles and whatever, so embarrassing. :D I did write a longer vocab for Sonia's travel diary, but was too ashamed to post it, and wondered if it has any better use at my blog (who only my Mom reads lol).

Thankfully, I had saved it on my notepad, so here's some vocab I think you might find useful. Please note that I'm not well educated in speaking Japanese and my skill level is rather low. This has been typed in roumanji so the alphabet would be easy to understand. Please excuse me. My Japanese is quite poor, but as you might find phrases easily from dictionaries, beauty product words... are not so easy to come across. These are just some words I personally find useful:

fude, burashi = a brush, make up brush
chiiku = a blush.. burasshu is also meaning a blush, but people often confuse it with brushes when you try to pronounce it (and I've seen a brush also written this way) so plain chiiku is easiest to understand
sheidingu = contour, shading (color)
keshou sui = lotion or toner, not the nasty Western ones to strip off the remains of your make-up, but Japanese skincare ones from moisture to other benefits (you can use words toonaa or rooshon for toner and lotion)
shittori = moisturising
sappari = refreshing (for oily skin, I suppose)
kuriimu = cream
miruku = milk
masukara = mascara
aishadou = eyeshadow
beesu = base
beesu meiku = base makeup, foundations, usually concealers or other stuff to make prepare the canvas
pointo meiku = point make up, meaning usually color make up, like lipstick, eyeshadow
karaa meiku = color make up
make = make up
meiku = make-up
paretto = palet
shiito masuku = sheet mask, skincare mask
keshouhin = cosmetics
uriba = counter (ie. Sukku no uriba = Suqqu's counter)
genteina mono = limited edition product
atarashii = new
furui = old
yawarakai = soft
kira kira = glitter, sparkly
ichiban ninkina = most popular ('ichiban ninkina mono wa nan desu ka?' what's the most popular product?)

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laura
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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby laura » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:24 pm

I have no idea was it a waste of typing as there was no replies to my last post... but since I couldn't sleep, I was bored, I think I will just run with iiiit. :D These are some shopping tips/notes for clothes and cosmetics.

- Japan is a country of courtesy. Whatever you do, I hope you can respect that and if possible, put others before of yourself. You don't have to know Japanese (althought the "sumimasen" I posted earlier would be good to know) or be an expert in the culture, having a smile and giving space to others is enough.
- Usually the service in Japan is very good, so don't be surprised if the packaging is done with care, like on a rainy day your paper bag will get a plastic cover etc. If for some reason, you don't feel like you've gotten the best service, you can ask for advice, a bag, etc.

- When you try on clothes in shops, please note that many have only one size (labeled free, one size and sometimes M/L). If you want clothes with size option, big retailers like Muji or Uniqlo are good. Please note that often "t-shirts" can't be tried on. Sometimes it means tops in general, but sometimes blouses (long sleeves) can be tried on. I guess it's part of hygiene reasons, t-shirts could be labeled "underwear" in a way. In this case, ask if you can return the item if size isn't OK.
- When it comes to shoes, Japan has a beautiful selection of those! Many affordable and unique too. Keep in mind it's not common to wear sandals on public. The biggest women's size is usually L or LL, 24.5cm which is about 39 in EU size. 24~24.5 is usually quite well available. There are bigger too, but it's rare. Usually in big shops, the shoes are sorted size wise: S shelf, M shelf, L shelf etc. Usually there are more sizes and colors available though, so ask for assistance. If you're unsure about your shoe size, just measure your foot in cm and you'll get the Japanese size.
- Some clothing shops will have sales, such as buy one item, get the second -10~20% off or they will sell tops and bottoms in sets.
- As you try clothes on, please bring them to the shop assistant and s/he will unbutton the shirts, etc. as you wait at the booth. This is courtesy and also they check how many items you're going to try on. TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES. You can not wear shoes inside the booth (except if it's a normal floor and a mat you can push aside, but it's rare), leave them neatly outside. Don't be weirded by this, in Japan like in many EU countries, you take shoes inside houses too.

- Department stores are often crowded when it comes to cosmetics, if you are in central city and you have a lot of places to choose from, a department store with beauty floor not in the 1st but 5th or 6th floor is a peaceful place. Other places to shop beauty are PLAZA, drug stores (like Matsumoto Kiyoshi), Tokyu Hands, Loft (has a lot of natural and import beauty), Isetan Mirror (my fave), Donkihote (a department store of eeeeverything and cheap!), stand alone beauty shops (mixed or brand) and small gift or beauty ranking shops, usually near stations. Cheap beauty items lake razors etc. you can buy at 100y shop (like a dollar store).
- When visiting a makeup booth, in department stores the clerk will ask if you need help and if it's busy (like Mac, RMK) they will give you a waiting number, and serve you when the number is called. If you cannot speak Japanese, keep the number visible.
- Note that it's very common that people do their make up with testers, especially in drug stores and it doesn't mean only teenagers. So be aware the lipstick, mascara etc. could have been anywhere, and often if the shop clerk urges you to try something - they will not disinfect the product or brushes for you. In higher end shops there's disposable brushes, they will cut the lipsticks etc, but don't expect it always happening.
- However, the clerks are very eager to give you makeup removers to clean your hand swatches. If the clerk is busy, you can help with yourself and use the cotton pads and removers that are offered. If you can't see a litter bin, please give the dirty tissues and whatever to the clerk. "Sumimasen, gomibako arimasen ga.." (excuse me, there's no dust bin?)
- In department stores, they are very eager to put foundation or blush on you. If you have the time, go for it! If you don't want to, please say something now you're a bit busy or you're just looking around (more polite than just "NO, I don't want to!"). Please note they might swipe off quite a lot of your base makeup too and put on extra stuff like primer, foundation, concealer, even if you signed up only just try a blush - well, it's their job: selling products.
- The clerks are super polite and give you ton of compliments. It's part of their job, and you can take it genuine if you feel like it, but don't let it get into your head. Usually a thank you or denying is a polite way to answer - more polite if you compliment the clerk back. If you feel nervous when they check you a foundation color etc and can't think of anything to say - compliment! "Oh, you have so beautiful eyemakeup/skin/hair/the Japanese are so stylish!"
- On some shops you might get a small sample, but usually samples are not as super common as in Korea. If you want to try an expensive product, you can ask the sample of yourself. They might have only 1 foundation shade though and not samples of all sold products. Samples you can get in drug stores too, and some lines sell affordable sets where are mini sizes of ~5 of their products to try at home.
- Good, light and affordable mini souvenirs or just to enjoy yourself are lotion mask packs and blotting papers, which are a part of Japanese beauty culture too.

- Japan loves limited edition products and there's always a) something limited b) something new coming up. It's a marketing trick, a well working one, but also a way to enjoy seasonal Japanese products (such as food and desserts) that are only available during that time (like sakura flavour is only at spring time).
- Best sale season is New Year when the shops sell fukubukuro or lucky bags, which contain selected or limited edition - usually secret - items for a lucky, cheap price. The bag could be a taped paper bag or a fabric cloth bag with the zipper closed. Some brands will announce in advance which sort of items the bag will have and also the size of clothes. The rest is surprise (like item number, style, color etc), but usually money wise wort it. You often need to queue these items as they are sold out quick. The best sales will last 1st-3rd of Jan, and usually will end by 7th. Other sale season is in the Summer, like July-August.

Let me hear if this was any use or if there's anything else to know~ (oh and please don't copy/repost this text online :oops: thanks). As always, have fun shopping in Japan"

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jilliciouscosmetics
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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby jilliciouscosmetics » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:29 pm

Laura, thank you so much! This is so helpful and makes me even more excited about (at some point) visiting Japan.

Buggsiebee
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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby Buggsiebee » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:54 am

Wow, Laura!! Very interesting! Thank you!!
I was surprised to read that wearing sandals in public is uncommon? Why is that?
And that tops/ T-shirts may be listed as underwear because of hygenic reasons!
I could never buy a t-shirt/top without being allowed to try it on first.
The fukubukuro sound like such fun!
The online store Ichibankao was just a meaningless name for me till now, but perhaps the name comes from this...ichiban ninkina = most popular??
I also love 'kira kira' for glitter / sparkle! It just sounds so descriptive.

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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby SoniaG_Admin » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:14 am

Hi Laura!
thank you so much for sharing all these tips! so so helpful! I have many things to share about my trip and my experience shopping so that'll be likely in a dedicated post but I can already share just that :
I have size 40 in shoes and I needed shoes to walk with, I could not find anything my size, that's right, all stops at 39!! I had to check at the men's section but it wasn't that great... finally I found something in a big department store in Ginza, I told them "show me what you have in size 40" and that worked :lol: but I could only find them in that department store, they had quite a few and that saved me!

A good way to know if it's raining outside : if the SA wraps your shopping bag with a plastic cover (so amazing!!) you're right Laura, they serve really well and make sure to treat you with respect, I loved it.
Isetan Mirror (and similar type of counters where you can swatch more freely without having the SA always giving you tissue ...) well the issue with those counters is that they don't have the whole range of items, I was browsing a lot in huge departments stores and that is the thing with me, I want to see all that is available and for that, the big dept stores are better.. I'll have to deal with the kind SA always making sure I am ok but at least I see all the range and I don't miss on something (most of the items I bought were novelties I think... that I could not see in smaller counters). In Hiroshima there are great department stores where you can freely swatch high end brands like CdP or Cosme D. but again, they don't have the full range. If you are there just on a trip and want to see ALL at once then it's better to go to big dept stores... (and if you can also to the smaller ones... hahaha)

My bf and I enjoyed shopping there (He usually hates shopping) but there he felt great, sometimes blushing because the SA was a bit over polite but he liked it a lot! I did not feel stressed and did not feel any pressure at all, if I did not want something I just smiled and said thank you. I think a lot of tourists feel pressure but as long as you are polite and respectful it will go super well. Same when I visited the companies, I don't know about the whole "business etiquette" but I make sure I am super polite and respectful and smile when I feel nervous (which I did a LOT) and it went ok...

yep sandals... I had taken a pair with me (and those were insanely expensive ones I bought in London) but I didn't feel comfortable wearing them... so maybe that's why!! I saw some people wearing them but most were wearing super high heals and little "ballerines"...

Thank you Laura, please if you feel bored, come here and speak to us, we love it :ty:
---------------------------
Sonia - SMT admin - An obsession for make up brushes not exactly under control

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laura
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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby laura » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:15 pm

Thanks for being so nice <3

Buggsiebee wrote:I was surprised to read that wearing sandals in public is uncommon? Why is that?
And that tops/ T-shirts may be listed as underwear because of hygenic reasons!
I could never buy a t-shirt/top without being allowed to try it on first.
The fukubukuro sound like such fun!
The online store Ichibankao was just a meaningless name for me till now, but perhaps the name comes from this...ichiban ninkina = most popular??
I also love 'kira kira' for glitter / sparkle! It just sounds so descriptive.

Sandals, shorts (for men), tank tops.. etc are very casual wear. Sure you can see someone wear them, but in Tokyo area where I live people are very stylish and being too dressed down in public is not a good idea. Except if you want to look like a tourist. The Summer is very hot and humid, but people still dress up, long pants, cardigans etc. If you're working in a company, you'll wear a suit or blazer of course. Even if you're soaking in sweat, it's better not to look like it. Of course, wearing crocs is quite common... which I find weird, but sometimes trends just go like that.

I often don't buy the clothes I can't try on, but.. a lot of people are very petite and short, I don't know, I think it's sort of ignorance that everyone would look good in the same size. I guess people get used to eyeballing the clothes. But it's the same in Korea etc.

I haven't used Ichibankao or know how it's written in Japanese, but kao is also meaning a face I think. What it means for the store, no idea! Japanese language is full of "onomatopoeia" words, ie words that depict sounds and feelings. Like saku saku is for a crunchy things like a cookie, fuwa fuwa for a fluffy things, mochi mochi plump and nice smooth things (like mochi, used for ideal healthy skin too, haha). It's very addictive yet difficult part of learning the language, haha.

Sonia_Admin wrote:Hi Laura!
thank you so much for sharing all these tips! so so helpful! I have many things to share about my trip and my experience shopping so that'll be likely in a dedicated post but I can already share just that :
I have size 40 in shoes and I needed shoes to walk with, I could not find anything my size, that's right, all stops at 39!! I had to check at the men's section but it wasn't that great... finally I found something in a big department store in Ginza, I told them "show me what you have in size 40" and that worked :lol: but I could only find them in that department store, they had quite a few and that saved me!

A good way to know if it's raining outside : if the SA wraps your shopping bag with a plastic cover (so amazing!!) you're right Laura, they serve really well and make sure to treat you with respect, I loved it.
Isetan Mirror (and similar type of counters where you can swatch more freely without having the SA always giving you tissue ...) well the issue with those counters is that they don't have the whole range of items, I was browsing a lot in huge departments stores and that is the thing with me, I want to see all that is available and for that, the big dept stores are better.. I'll have to deal with the kind SA always making sure I am ok but at least I see all the range and I don't miss on something (most of the items I bought were novelties I think... that I could not see in smaller counters). In Hiroshima there are great department stores where you can freely swatch high end brands like CdP or Cosme D. but again, they don't have the full range. If you are there just on a trip and want to see ALL at once then it's better to go to big dept stores... (and if you can also to the smaller ones... hahaha)

Thank you Laura, please if you feel bored, come here and speak to us, we love it :ty:

I read about your shoe pain! :( I like shoes in department stores as I hate the "pressed plastic Chinese shoes".. Next time you look for shoes, maybe import ones are a good idea or if they have shoes in EU sizes: common shops I know are Oriental Traffic, I think Diana has size 40 too - if in stock... Next time you need a life saviour shoe pair.. try crocks :D They seem to be in fashion, as are Fjällräven back bags (which I wore 15 years ago to school hahaha).

Issetan Mirror is a select shop indeed, having not the whole range. I have an itch only online and the flagship stores carry the whole range. Today I visited the MAC booth and they said they have depot single shadows only in Omotesando. Also RMK has their creamy foundation also limited in Omotesando etc etc. It's sort of annoying. The SAs are nice, but usually soooooo clueless about the whole range if it's not available at their shop, next launch date, etc. If something is sold out, they treat you nice but make no effort to check on a computer if other nearby shop still haves your wanted item. I don't know if the checking is possible, but in cases like bags I think it is. They also have no idea about the items of the same brand sold overseas. :roll: :snooty:

I forgot to mention one important thing: in Japan, you usually don't need to do "searching for the best price". Usually, the shops have the exact same price range as many cosmetic items etc have a list price. If you check the package and there's a price printed on it the plastic package instead of just a sticker, it's going to be the same in next, next and next store too. This is excluding some drug store items in special sales (like eyeliners and mascaras). To look for the cheapest drugstore prices although the collection is limited: I suggest Don Quixote (pronounced as donki hoote).

However, when you look for street fashion, a lot of brands get the clothes from same factories, thus you can find the same print shirt or cheap necklace from the same shopping centre 1000¥ less. So in Harajuku, eyeball everything first - buy after. When you're looking for things such as clothes, bags, etc, and you ask a recommendation, the SAs are more likely to give you suggestions to look from store X and Y. Of course, these are just my personal experience..

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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby gatos » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:10 pm

Oh Laura, I hope you continue to get a bit bored on occasion so we get treated to such interesting posts from you :) This was fascinating! I really really want to go to Japan, and there is actually a possibility that it may happen in the next couple of years *crossing all limbs* so if that is the case, I will need all the advice I can get!

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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby Buggsiebee » Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:56 pm

The Nguni languages of Southern Africa are also full of words which sound like the object they describe.
35 years after having learnt Zulu at school, I still remember the very descriptive words like, Gandaganda which means tractor ...or Isitututu which means scooter :)

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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby 212kiki » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:43 pm

Laura thats awesome ! Sometimes its weird to hear what is not common in another country or culture. I know there are things different in japan or asian culture but no sandals in public urgs so glad i don't life there i love to go to work with my flip flops :laughing-rolling:
I love this country for a lot of reasons but i must say that some things would be too hard to work with when i would live there. My boss told me his daughter studied in japan (Tokyo) she realized she don't want to live there anymore when she came back to germany.
With some things it was to hard to work with for her (peoples lifestyle and whatever). Sure every person is different so what is for one good is for the other one bad...

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laura
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Re: Shopping in Japan

Postby laura » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:07 pm

I wouldn't be too shocked about the sandals. Of course if you wear very fashionable pair or heeled ones, it'll be okay. But flip flops or beach sandals.. it's more rare to see such at school etc (except crocs as they seem to be quite in now :mrgreen: ). Of course, it's your fashion and you may dress as you please and feel the best. ;) And outside Tokyo dress a lot more casual. Keep in mind Tokyo isn't equal to all Japan, it's the biggest, busiest etc. city. What tokyoites do, isn't what people everywhere do.

I don't think anybody minds about your shoe choices, but again - I forgot to mention - showing your boobies is a big no no. If girls buy a spaghetti strap dress with cleavage in here, they'll wear a t-shirt underneath. So low cut tops - leave them home. Showing your leg isn't the same though, a very minimal skirts, shorts etc. are quite acceptable, same with knee or tight high stockings or socks.

It's fun to see people's reactions to the cultural comments. Mind you, it's just my personal experience and quite generalized. :angelic-blueglow: I found out these things aren't too weird or so.. I own maybe 1 pair of sandals I bought 7 years ago and never wear. In my Nordic home country, people dress more down, but shoes and souvenirs etc way of thinking is pretty similar in many ways. To me, it was somewhat easy to settle in with these customs, as I'm quite open minded and feel like finding out about things. The difficult customs is a whole different topic, these are more just.. observations. The difficult customs, politeness and some kanji are weird and difficult even for locals. And then there's a few quirkiness I never get used to, like people not sneezing but loudly "sniffing in" their snot or what ever (I hope you'll know what I mean). I think it's important to be polite, kind and considerate (if it's about words, how you dress to impress or just giving a seat in a train), with that you can leave the best impression about yourself. ^-^ <3 If you are mistaken, the Japanese will often be helpful or either give you the "foreigner pass", and don't expect you to do all right.

Even if you don't know Japanese, Japan is a very easy place to get around and all. But please don't expect people to know English all the time. In the metropolitan area, departments, electronic stores etc. there's of people who do know English, but still, don't expect or feel angry or weirded why people can't speak it.


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