• Shona McCarthy

Daiso-Mega-Don Quijote in Bentencho, Osaka

One of the things I like doing when I visit Japan is to visit Daiso. Yes, Daiso locations are plentiful around the world these days. But I still take pleasure in going since it means I get to see how Daiso locations in Japan compare with Daiso locations back home. But also, they can be a great place to pick up supplies cheaply and quickly. So, when I was trying to decide on a Daiso to visit during my last trip, and a search told me that there was something called a "MEGA Daiso Don Quijote Bentencho" I was naturally very curious. For the uninitiated, Don Quijote is a chain of variety stores in Japan not entirely dissimilar to what you would get if you spliced The Reject Shop with Target and also, sometimes, a joke store and a sex store. It means that you can go there and often purchase many strange items you wouldn't find in most stores, often at heavily discounted prices. Think Dimmy's but better quality.

(In the distance I could see the Building as I walked to it from Bentencho Station. It includes a McDonalds and even other businesses and services. It was an 8 minute walk.)

I wanted to buy some el-cheapo false eyelashes since I was taking a lot of photos on my trip and wanted to look fantastic in all of them. In one of the Melbourne Daisos, I had been able to buy whole trays of false eyelashes for $2.80. And since I tend to cut them in half and just glue them to the outer edge of my eyes, these usually last me ages before I need more.

(The lurid chaos that is MEGA Don Qujote, Bentencho. March, 2019.)

To my surprise, even though Don Quijote in Bentencho is massive, with multiple floors absolutely stuffed with almost every household item you could think of, and even a dedicated cosmetics area close to the front door, I couldn't find such a budget option as the one I knew back home. I now realize that it's because the "MEGA Daiso Don Quijote" is actually two separate businesses. In fact, to find the minuscule Daiso that was there, I had to go up to the top floor of the building, and there it was all weeny and tiny and tucked away in one corner. And it had no trays of eyelashes.

(You can see, the tiny Daiso at the top floor was much neater than the Don Quijote. 2019.) I think the reason Don Quijote is so chaotic to look it is that it is intended for a different kind of buyer. It's not intended for the therapeutic buyer such as myself, who would go to a Daiso wanting to carefully think their purchase through and bag a reassuring bargain in a relaxed setting. Don Quijote is intended for the adrenaline shopper! Those sorts of people who would attend a Black Friday Blowout where people sometimes end up with broken bones in a hospital! People who want to grab a bargain off the shelf and run away with it, screaming into the night! So, while I might be saying quite confidently that I'm unlikely to return to MEGA Don Quijote myself on future sojourns into Japan, I'm not telling you, the reader, not to go. Absolutely go! Just don't go in the middle of the night when you're tired and catching a cold like did. Go when you're feeling spry and hopped up on vending machine coffee and wanting to be able to buy a mankini, a rice cooker, a pair of sneakers, a bag of strange snacks and a discounted eye shadow pack under the same roof.

(Bentencho, 2019.) But, in case you do find yourself needing it, there is a dental clinic in the same building. I didn't go in, but they seemed sufficient for their purpose from what I could see.

(Bentencho, 2019.) This final picture is what I saw while I was lined up at the checkouts. As I stood there, feeling my cold worsen, I heard "Swan Song" by Dua Lipa come over the PA system.

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