If you, like me, love the Japanese aesthetic and dedication to usefulness, the no fuss attitude to basics and, especially important for me as I live in the hills, the excellent use of very warming materials at a realistic price, shopping at Japanese shops can be very satisfying. There is a plethora of these shops dotted all around the suburbs now, and Melbourne city and Chadstone have the best selection of them in a relatively contained area.
My favourite Japanese shopping destinations in Melbourne are Uniqlo, Daiso and Muji.
Uniqlo is a clothing store, very popular in Japan, and excellent for things like thermals and puffer jackets. Uniqlo’s thermals are HEAT-TECH. (Japanese technology). Super lightweight and comfortable, these thermals come in many different styles and colours. Men, women and kids are catered for, and Uniqlo has an annual t-shirt contest, with a different theme each year. The upcoming theme is Nintendo, and previous themes include Disney Pixar, Star Wars, Coca-Cola and music icons. Uniqlo’s kids clothes are great, especially their pajamas.
Daiso, in Japan, is (or was) a ¥100 store. A bit like a $2 shop. Everything now is ¥108 and they have a huge range of everyday essentials, clever little Japanese time or space saver inventions, and great bargains of all kinds. In Australia everything is $2.80, except in the franchised stores, where there are some things that cost $3.80. Daiso sells imported food and drink items, as well, and often they are cheaper at Daiso than in Asian grocers. A wonderful array of “kawaii”stickers, stationery, toys and lunch boxes and some very practical, and sometimes funny, kitchen accessories. Daiso sells everything you could possibly need to make the cutest ever bento school lunches. And, an ever changing collection of origami paper.
Muji is a totally different type of store than Daiso and Uniqlo. The aesthetic here is very “unadorned”. Natural colour palettes, natural materials and good quality products that are very adaptable into many different styles. Muji say their product aesthetic is “empty vessels” that are Universal due to their simplicity and emptiness. The reason this shop appeals to me so much is that it has a very distinct feeling about it and when you walk in, it’s order and lack of competing colours makes it a very serene environment. The natural fibres entice you to feel everything and the spacious and uncluttered-ness of the store add to the relaxing vibe.