The Japanese Shopping Ritual

Posted at November 11th, 2005 by cosmo

6 great iPhotos

Originally uploaded by Monatopia.

You’re looking around a shop in Japan. Any shop, big or small, souvenier or department store, and you find some little treasure that you like. You take it to the cash register. So begins the Japanese Shopping Ritual.

First, you are reprimanded for taking something from the display instead of simply telling them which item you wanted.

Then, no matter how big a hurry you are in, the wrapping begins. The item you have purchased, wether it be a 100 yen dangle for your phone, or a 50,000 yen tea set, is wrapped. If you bought several small items, or are in a hurry, this can be a mind boggling exercise in patience. Trying to explain that you don’t need the items wrapped will simply result in shy embarrassed smiles while the cashier tries desperately to understand what you are saying. In the end, you will only have delayed the inevitable wrapping and made yourself even later. Some stores may cheat and simply drop it in a pretty bag, fold it down tight, and tape it. The end result is that you have a pretty little package that makes shopping feel special.

The Japanese shopping ritual doesn’t end until you get home and start to unpack. That’s when you realize you have 40 or so pretty little packages and no idea what is in any of them. Being that we were gone for three weeks, many had been in the bottom of the suitcases long enough to have been nearly forgotten in the excitement of travel.

In other words, after taking all the dirty smelly clothes and the 45 CDs and the dozen or so DVDs out of the suitcases, we settled down to finish the Japanese Shopping Ritual which is pretty much like having a little Christmas, as you open each package. It was also a really interesting way to relive our vacation… “Oh Yeah! Where did we get that again?”

Yah! Kaimono (shopping)! I can’t wait to do it again!

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