I had heard that the American branch of the Toys R Us chain was having financial difficulties. I decided to go see this beloved store (here in Fukushima City)—just in case it went out of business.
I know everybody shops on the internet nowadays, but come on. Do we really want to tell our kids, “Yes, when I was young, we used to actually GO to stores and browse and shop there instead logging on to a website and shopping from a screen.”
And our kids will say, “No, way. Did you have to walk around the store?”
“Yes, we did.”
“Didn’t that hurt your legs?”
“Well, back then we were just hardier. We were used to walking around stores.”
“Man! I’m glad I didn’t live in the old days!”
Japan is a country that economizes space. So this particular building has a grocery store on the first floor. The Toys R Us is up the escalator.
Entering the store…….
And traditional ornaments for the Japanese New Year, which is celebrated January first.
As the sign says, “Plush.”
Meru (Mell?) is a Japanese doll. Notice that they do NOT have black hair. Yes, it is a Japanese brand. No, I don’t want to discuss it.
Popo Chan, another Japanese doll. This one does have black hair.
Rika dolls (a Japanese doll similar to Barbie) Yes, again notice that she usually does not have black hair.
Having a non-doll loving boy, I never ever ever bought dolls except possibly as gifts for people in the U.S. (And then, rarely, as Japanese dolls are fairly expensive and it wasn’t something I could afford to do very often.)
Notice the price tag: thirty American dollars for a Rika doll.
(Fun Fukushima Fact: Rika dolls are originally from Fukushima Prefecture! You can visit the factory. I never did having a (shall I say it again?) non-doll loving boy. However, my friend had a doll-loving girl and they said the factory was boring. Nevertheless, I am intrigued. Being a doll-loving female*, I want to see exactly how they make them.)
This is the ONLY doll in the store with non-light skin. I have a feeling it is movie related and will be available for a short time.
Puzzles for little kids (toddlers and preschoolers)
Japanese people, in general, feel it is important for their children to learn English. (Although there is controversy over what age to begin.)
So one can buy products which teach English. Usually the English is very easy. But also, if it is made in Japan for Japanese people, it will virtually always have katakana next to the English word. This enables a child to not read the English at all, just the katakana. One major problem is that the katakana does not accurately represent the English word.
This overuse of katakana is why I have rarely bought these sorts of “Made for Japanese kids” products. I don’t think most Japanese people themselves care at all about this issue, but being a native speaker, I prefer for kids not to rely on katakana.
Some fun games. It’s fun to shop in Japan and buy unique Japanesque games like the sushi Jenga type game on the right. Well, I didn’t buy it, but I can dream.
*I admit it. I like dolls. I always felt a bit angry that Bo Peep was thrown out (literally and figuratively) of the movie “Toy Story.”