I am a girl—-so just for anyone who’s been wondering: here’s everything you want to know about the mall/Akita fashion.
The mall has been a main attraction for new students at AIU. The appeal is starting to wear off, as every mall shrinks as you get to know it, but still–who wouldn’t want to walk around a shiny Japanese mall?
One of the attractions is the differences in the clothes (these people are soo tiny!) –florals were very popular this summer, especially loose flowing tops. I’ve heard them described as “granny clothes” and some of them are, but on super-skinny Japanese women, they give impression of curves. Now that autumn is coming on, there is a lot of fur in the shops. I’ve seen fur added to boots, hoodies, shorts (I know, right?). All I can guess is that fur is Akita’s fashionable answer to being “so far north.” Painfully high shoes are also in fashion, along with dresses that belong to the ’40s and ’50s.
My favourite store in Aeon is the ¥100 store, called Daiso (dye-so). It surprised me the first time I walked in because of the variety of products and the quality. In America, dollar stores are full of junk. They’re good for party favors, amusing kids, and candy. In Japan, the 100 yen stores are very different. They have sections marked out: cooking, gardening, school, beauty and hygene, food, etc. I have bought pillows, useable notebooks, a laundry hanger , tissues, scrub brushes, etc. NOTHING has fallen apart! This amazes me! In the US, anything you bought from the dollar store is probably worth less than you paid for it–here it seems to be the other way around. While not all products are ¥100 (I’ve seen items up to ¥1200), most are, and everything is reasonable. Whenever I shop here, I always feel that I should be studying economics to learn how this is possible.
One of my other favorite stores–the pet shop. It always has a bunch of puppies every day, and usually a few kittens. You can walk around and look at them, though no petting. They also have a section with smaller animals and I think I saw a capybara there.
One end of the mall is taken up with Jusco–the Japanese Kmart (slightly better quality, but credentials are debatable). It has three floors of goods–one for men and juniors, one for women, and one with household goods and appliances, and in the basement is a grocery store. I haven’t bought much here, but it seems like a reasonable store. The prices aren’t as cheap as America, but they aren’t unbearable for a college student.
Another exciting section of the mall is the arcade on the second floor. It takes up probably a quarter of the floor space of this floor, and it’s crazy. It’s open to the mall, and as you walk inside you’re overtaken by noise. There are arcade games everywhere–racing, shooters, taiko drum(!), and UFO catchers (those claw-game things). It loud and shiny and usually full of people. This is also where the purikura is in the mall. (For anyone who wants to see what I was trying to describe earlier, please watch this, starting at about 1:30 in. The awesome guys at Happy Hour Japan strike again.)
International students are also excited to find an import store in mall. Nutella–absolutely! Tiny jar of Skippy Peanut Butter for ¥500?–No problem! …I haven’t bought anything here yet. I don’t plan on it, at least until I get really desperate. It’s just too expensive.
All in all, Aeon is just a mall–I wouldn’t even post this except that it’s the nearest source of entertainment we students have, and so it’s a little bit important.
Japanese word of the day : kaimono / かいもの (kai-mo-no) noun, shopping