about supermarkets and recreation

I love supermarket shopping in Japan. For over a year now it has been my major recreational activity. Supermarkets hold many secrets about a nation's culture and about the lifestyle of individuals. If this weren't the case, why else would we feel guilty when we realize we've been staring into someone's shopping trolley? And then there's the kanji. Walking into the supermarket is like walking into a 3D, full colour, bigger than life size lexicon of words, symbols and products whose meanings you can't help but want to discover.

Each supermarket has its own tokubaibi (special sale day) when it's advisable to do the bulk of your shopping, especially fresh vegetables and meat. Every supermarket also has a day off but this isn't necessarily every week so you have to look out for this. Prices on fish, sushi, sandwhiches, etc., are increasingly reduced by up to 50% after 7.00pm. Those who don't mind a limited selection and those on a tight budget should keep this in mind. The bakeries in the supermarket area also reduce the prices on their goods as closing time approaches. Often they will put about 4 or 5 buns, cakes, etc., in a bag for about 250 Yen. (Baker & Chef at Nafco News does).

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early in the morning

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loads of bikes around

There is also a very characteristic open air market in the area behind the Aoi Hall building. You'll find it on the days where the date end with a 4 or 9 digit. That is the 4th, the 9th, the 14th, etc. It has cheap, fresh produce which is sold in larger quantities so it's better to go with a friend and share.

This is a condensed list with the information I feel is most important. For example, closing hours are of more relevance to us students than opening times as most of us are in class. Those who aren't are probably in bed recovering from late night practice of Japanese in the izakaya. Check Sabine's pages for the exhaustive listing.

name:Yamanaka closing time: 9.00 pm toku bai bi: Wednesday most convenient for students in:all accommodation comments: Many students have their lunch in the Food Court. Some even bring their own........

name: Seiyu closing time: 8.00pm toku bai bi: Tuesday most convenient for students in: all accommodation comments: Well frequented by students so no comments necessary.

name: Jusco closing time: 9.00pm toku bai bi: Tuesday most convenient for students in: Villas and Student Village comments: There are lots of specials and food samplings on Sundays. Jusco's home brand "Top Value" products are just that. Their 500 gr. plain yoghurt is the cheapest on the market at 138 Yen. They also sell the cheapest 1 litre 100% orange / apple juice at 148 Yen.

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the stretch of counters at Domy

name: Domy Super Center closing time: 8.00pm toku bai bi: Thursday most convenient for students in: Residence U comments: There are lots of specials on Sundays when this huge place is a hub of activity. A visit to Domy is must - 15 checkouts at widely spaced intervals. I've never seen anything quite this big. There is a good 100 Yen shop as well as shoe shop, sports store, music store, etc., etc.

name: Nafco News closing time: 9.oopm toku bai bi: Sunday most convenient for students in: the residences and the Student Village comments: Nafco has particularly fresh fruit and vegetables. There's a very reasonably priced bottle shop in the basement. Try to resist the Baker & Chef bakery. They give you coupons which you should save and redeem for bread rolls when you've collected enough.