The 100-yen Shop

In Japan, there is a major chain called 100-yen shop. You can think of it as the Japanese counterpart of a dollar store. It started becoming popular about the time when I entered primary school.

The very first branch of 100-yen shop opened in my hometown when I was six. At the time, my family was still living near the city centre, and the new 100-yen shop was easily accessible from our place. When my father learned about this news, he got very excited. He suggested that we could all visit the store together to check out what it offered, but my mother rolled her eyes. “What it offers? Not a quality product for sure!” Since I was curious, I decided to join my father’s trip to the 100-yen shop.

My father and I rode our bikes to the city centre. After parking our bikes, we walked through the arcades searching for the address.

“There it is!”

My father pointed to a brightly lit shop in front of us. The shopfront was decorated with some fake flowers to celebrate its opening. But other than that, it looked like any other shop that I had seen before.

As we stepped inside, we were welcomed by shelves of different items.

“They are all 100 yen!”

My father’s elated voice explained to me. At that age, I didn’t have much relationship with money, and 100 yen or 1000 yen almost meant the same to me. But still, hearing the excitement in my father’s voice, I thought we must have stepped into a quite special place.

“You can choose something for yourself. I’ll go and have a look around.”

I went to the hair section and found a colourful hairband. I quite liked it, and when my father came back with a few more items in the basket, I placed the hairband inside. My father had bought a few stationary items, and among them were two pencil sharpeners with a dog illustration. After paying at the cashier, he gave one to me.

That was our very first visit to the 100-yen shop. We didn’t go anywhere else that day. After purchasing those items, we went straight back home, me wearing the new clourful hairband on my head.