Sunday, June 28, 2009

Japan Day 26 & 27 - Shopping

This weekends goal was to check out all of the shopping in Kyoto and buy all of my souvenirs and gifts for family. Next week we are headed Tokyo and its going to be a full schedule through the very end.

Japan Day 26

On Saturday I went to the main shopping area here in Kyoto on street named Shijo. There are shops everywhere! There are three big department stores on the street and I took a quick peek inside each one. they were all very similar. They were all huge with 7 or 8 stories and sold everything from clothing to toys, housewares and food. All of them sold a very diverse array of goods. I saw lots of imported goods for sale but I also saw floors dedicated to selling traditional kimonos and the like. I saw all of the big labels back home sold here. One cool thing for me was actually finding a pair of Levi jeans in a size that would fit me. The Japanese are a lot skinnier than Americans. The sizing was interesting- they listed the US size in bold and in small print had the conversion to centimeters. It was the first time I've ever seen sizes like 28x32 and 30x34 actually out on shelves. I thought about buying a pair until I saw the price 12,000 yen ($120), yea that's not in the budget. The department stories had a crazy amount of staff. The place had 4 or 5 times the staff of an American store. Walking through the Men's section, I was amazed to see two or three dedicated sales people for each label's space (like Ralph Lauren 10m x 5m space) just standing around waiting to help.

I also stopped by the 5 story GAP Store (ok so it was very small on each floor) and saw similarly crazy prices for jeans. They had one style on sale for 6,000yen but that was still a bit much. I need to find out if they have Outlets like we have back in the States. I walked around Shijo for good part of the day over there but didn't find anything to buy.

Japan Day 26

On the way out I walked through the food market. The street was only about 2.5m wide and it was jammed packed full of people. There was quite alot of strange food for sale. all sorts of seafood, fruits, dried stuff and whole lot of stuff I put in the category of "Mystery" and "is that really edible?"

Today I went to the Kyoto Handicraft Center which the guidebook recommended. I found a lot of the stuff I was looking for at prices as good as or better than I had seen elsewhere. It was tough trying to pick stuff out There was way too much to choose from. I walk through the whole place a couple of times just surveying it and then once I decided on what type of things I thought I could bring home in one piece, I had to decide on colors, sizes and materials. I started one rack for half an hour trying decided what color someone would like the best. The good part is I have almost everyone crossed off my list now.

The weekend's photos

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