The first time I went to Japan — about 10 years ago — a couple of friends asked me to get them eyedrops.
The minty ones.
I had no idea what they were talking about. Minty eyedrops? Sounded ridiculous.
Sounded so Japanese.
Sure enough, I browsed the shelves at Matsumoto Kiyoshi, a popular drug store in Tokyo, and found, among other strange items like skin lighteners and miraculous oil blotting sheets, these little diamond-shaped bottles of eyedrops. Minty ones.
Called Rohto Z!, these drops weren’t like anything we have in the United States. They’re super strong, burns your eyeballs and promises to wake you up instantly.
Japan has a lot of these strange chotskies — things you’ll never find anywhere else in the world, much less in Hawaii. Video games, flat irons, mechanical pencils, Kit Kat bars, even condoms — Japan products can be some of the most interesting you’ll come across on your world travels.
Melissa Chang (@Melissa808) will be my partner-in-shopping-crime in Fukuoka and we’re both wondering — she’s blogging about this, too — what kind of only-in-Japan products should we be on the lookout for? We’re making a list!
I wouldn’t know where to start, so many things. Just go to shopping areas and you will find choke stuff. My wife likes to bring back fuud stuff that you can’t get here.
one of my favorite items I got there was a stamp with my name (japanese last name) on it. only cost a couple of bucks and was available off the rack. Don Quijote is a gold mine for this kind of stuff. “Donkey’s” (in my Japan cousins’ parlance) is unlike their stores in Hawaii. even more over the top and packed to the gills with anything and everything you can think of.
other cool items I’ve brought back were a whole block of katsuoboshi (and a katsuo shaver), bottles of shochu and sake that are available only in Japan, some only in Japan cosmetics stuff (not sure what it was but it was requested by a friend so my wife and I hunted it down at the shiseido store), a thomas the tank engine pancake pan (that puts a thomas face on the pancake) and other assorted wtf items.
for big ticket items, their knives are awesome. there are a number of knife makers in the shops around tsukiji that sell hand made knives. awesome blades that can run into the hundreds of dollars but that will blow away any henkels or wusthoffs you will find here (the japanese blades have a more acute angle than the european blades so they’re sharper…or something like that). all I know is that the santoku I got from there is so sharp, I only have to point it in the direction of a tomato and I get paper thin slices.
of course, browsing a hyaku yen shop will yield countless tchotchkes that you “just can’t live without”.
just remembered: in the back of tsukiji there’s a small temple that was built for fishermen (the small one down by the docks, not the big one down the block by the train station). since i fish and have a lot of friends that fish, i was able to buy a number of fishing and water safety related charms and plaques. probably appropriate to watermen (and women) of all stripes.
Cat might have a hard time finding a “Toth” hanko (the stamp with kanji names), but that could be a nice gift for her friends with Japanese names. A lot of places sell hanko with common family names, including Yodobashi Camera.
Wasabi Kit Kats
Love the green tea kit kats!
Shu Uemura eyelash curlers and Yoko Moku cookies which are way cheaper than the
A friend of mine just got back from Tokyo. She got me a Starbucks travel mug with sakura print that you can only get in Japan.
love Rohto drops–now available here… try Target.
How are thing? I’m so excited for your adventure in Japan. Mike, Ron (another writer for the Ka La), and myself are going to Europe in Mid-May, so I’m totally understanding the whole getting unique omiyage.
Anyway, I would KILL to get green tea Kit Kats, so I would buy that in a heartbeat. Let’s be real, people has already hear about that. How about “around the world” kit kats?https://aboutfoodinjapan.weblogs.jp/blog/2012/03/kit-zutto-project-by-kit-kat-japan.html
Or my favorite manju called Hiyoko manji. It’s looks like a peep, but no marshmallow.
Anyway, I hope you two have fun!!!! Be safe and I can’t wait to read all about it!
CAT: Only in Japan? Maybe Mount Fuji shave ice!
look for strawberry mochi with cream inside i would love to eat another one ,but to bad it has a strawberry inside your can’t bring it back dept. of agriculture
my cousin just posted a pic on facebook from the starbucks at FUK airport. “Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappuccino…with Pudding…yummy”
you have to get one of those.