For as long as I have known him, my father loves shopping. Not of any kind, but specifically, small shopping. He loves to buy his daily necessities at a cheap price, such as stationary items and night snacks.
Back in Japan, one of his favourite stores is the 100-yen shop, the Japanese counterpart of a dollar store. I still remember my father’s delight when the first 100-yen shop opened in my hometown when I was six years old. He and I went there by bike on the very first day the store opened. At the time, my father bought two identical pencil sharpeners and gave me one. I don’t know what happened to his, but mine is still kept in my room at my parents’ house, and whenever I stay there, I use it to sharpen my pencils.
A few years ago, when my parents visited me in Ottawa, my father was eager to check out a Dollarama. So, I took them both to the one near my house. As soon as we got there, my father eagerly picked up a basket and started a thorough browsing of the store while my mother and I walked between the aisles, chatting.
My father rarely comes out of his small shopping emptyhanded. That day also, as we left the store, there was a bag of purchase in his hand. While walking back to my place, he showed me the content of his purchase, and among them was a package of three colourful rulers.
“This one has centimeters on one side and inches on the other. Useful, right?”
He then picked one out and handed it to me.
“Why don’t you keep one since it’s useful?”
Last year, when I visited my parents in my hometown, my father showed me one of his latest cool items from his stationary collection. It was an LCD writing tablet. My father has a habit of taking notes throughout the day for all kinds of things, so he was happy that he no longer needed to waste scrap paper to write down something that he wouldn’t be needing in a few hours.
My father had also bought one for my mother so that she could use it whenever she needed to leave a note for him, but my mother preferred scrap paper, saying that the LCD tablet was hard to read. Since her board was left unused, I started using it during my stay, and I grew fond of it.
“Well, then, why don’t you get one for yourself?” my father said to me one day. “I’ll buy one for you as a gift – this thing is cheap!”
Thus, I got another opportunity to accompany my father’s small shopping, this time to a second-hand computer store near the train station. Once at the store, he took me straight to the aisle with the LCD writing boards and picked one for me. The price was about $5. It felt quite special that he bothered to take me all the way to this second-hand computer store, which was about 30 min trip away from our house, specifically to buy me this LCD writing board.
I remembered this chain of memories as I wrote a note on my LCD writing board this morning. My father’s habit of small shopping has a special place in my heart – the way he is truly excited during the shopping and the way he often shares an interesting souvenir with me.