Sunday, August 26, 2007

Walmart in Odawara?

Pictured: Park in Nagano, courtesy of Fuji Film Minami Ashigara Shi

Not quite, but it isn`t so far away.--Kevin

by Sandra Isaka

"The Seiyu in Gotemba has had a Walmart 'feel' to it for a couple of years ('rollback prices' signs, US Walmart clothing (in much smaller sizes), some food items,... I didn't find much that interested me, but it was better than Seiyu before Walmart. I haven't been there in a long time, so it might be even better. Isn't there a Seiyu in the Hadano/Nakai area as well?"--Sandra Isaka

Took a ride over to Numazu last weekend to check out the new Seiyu.
First, by Tomei from Matsuda, the ride took only 35 minutes (right to
the front doors). This, of course, depends on traffic. It was
raining, but there was no traffic at all, so this is probably the
fastest you can get there.

The store itself. When you pull in, the coloring is all Walmart.
Inside it is as if you have been transported back to the States, only
the ailes are even wider and the place is even more 'open'. There is
a small, but nicely done food court, serving a number of different
foods. Italian, Thai, Hawaiian, and some regular Japanese
selections. I didn't acually eat anything, however.

The grocery section reminded me of the new "MAXVALU" here in Kaisei.
In fact, I'd say there was almost no difference except for the fish
department. That area looked pretty fantastic (but you need to
actually know HOW to prepare all those fish). I saw only a handful
of Walmart brand food items (actually, only 3 or 4). So, don't go
there expecting foreign foods, there aren't any.

The clothing department was more promising. Some of the ladies
underwear was straight from Walmart, and some of the 'basic' items (t-
shirts, shorts,...) were also imported. I think the sizing is a
little different, but I didn't really get a close look. I bought 'L'
size underwear and they actually fit. Men's section looked decent,
as did the children's clothing department.

They had a nice ladies sunglasses display (all for 700 yen), plus
unbrellas, hats, purses,...

Cosmetics, medicine, toys, baby goods, electronics,... were all
Japanese products. Housewares was different. There was a lot of
the 'Martha Stewart' brand (that used to be carried by Kmart in the
States). There is no 'scandal' here for Martha, so it could be a
perfect place to build a brand following for her! Anyway, the
towels, sheets, kitchen goods,... were mostly Martha. Unfortunately
for me, the sheets were all 'adapted' for the Japanese market. Cool
sheets,... that fit futons, instead of the regular 'queen' and 'king'
sized sets you get back home.

Blankets and other types of bedding were all Japanese. Nothing

All in all, I only bought some underwear and a pair of sunglasses. I
probably won't go back, but I am glad I got to see it. I think
NITORI in Odawara (and Hadano) has just as good a selection (and
prices) on home goods, and MAXVALU is just as good for food. A
little out of the way for just a 'natsukashii' feeling.

On the other hand, if I lived in Numazu, things would be different.
I'd probably shop there every week.

As well if you can go to Yokohama or Tokyo check out the
Don Quixote Stores (written in katakana). They are Japan`s
version of Walmart and stocked literally full of cheap to
reasonably priced items. The range they carry is truly huge
and my only fear is that I will be buried by their merchandise
during an earthquake, the store is packed so chalk-full of items to buy.--Kevin

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