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How to physically buy things in Japan?

KuromiiKuromii10 months agoAsk MFC
This is going to sound silly, I know it is. It's something that should be very straightforward and obvious, but I am still sat here actually worrying about it!

I'm going to Japan in 17 days and will be residing in Akiba for the duration of my trip. While there I'll obviously be buying a lot of stuff. But what I'm worrying about is HOW do you do it in the physical shops?

Do they have baskets you can put goods in as you shop? Do you just hold everything in your arms? With stores with multiple floors, do you pay for your things at every floor or do you have to pay for it all together at the last floor you visit? When at the till do you put everything on the counter at once and let them bag it up for you? Is it acceptable to take your own bag to put things in (this is now very common in the UK)? What do you say? is "arigatou" the right thing to say when they give you your stuff, or do you say "domo"? And items in the glass cases - how the hell do you go about buying those?

I never thought I'd be stressed about actually buying things in a shop ;____;

Thank you for any help you can give!
2,244 hits • 24 comments

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18pt
Kuromii Haikyuu nerdlord
SageGuy (10 months ago) #17447965
Shimakaze69 (10 months ago) #17449426
Hi, thanks for completely misunderstanding why I am asking these questions! I'm from England and our culture is entirely different from Japan's. Here its normal to put money in the cashier's hand with one hand and not bother to say thanks. Despite what people from other countries think of us, its common and acceptable to be indifferent or rude to cashiers. I don't want to be "that dumb tourist" when in a country that has entirely different customs to my own.

Also thanks for reminding me that my anxiety disorder is stupid! Considering I can't even get around my own city's shops without a map, I think its quite sensible to ask about how a different country does things.

I also speak the language very well, but funnily enough just speaking it doesn't mean I know every detail of normal life there.

As an example of me being "that dumb tourist" abroad, when I was shopping in Spain last year I didn't know the supermarket I was in didn't bag your things for you or indeed provide you with bags, so I stood there like a moron waiting for the bags to arrive. I was very embarrassed and I don't want to do anything like that when in Japan.

Its frightening going halfway across the world to somewhere you don't know. Hell, I can barely even leave my city, so this is going to be testing me to the extreme.

Hope you both feel great about yourselves. Have a nice day.
10 months ago
12pt
Shimakaze69 (10 months ago) #17449426

What OP is asking is advice for how to shop in another country, not how to go to a local grocery store to buy food. Things and customs are different everywhere. Going into another country where you don't know the language can be very daunting and scary, so I think what OP is asking is smart. Better to go into a shop and know how things are done beforehand and how to be respectful to the people who work there, like the putting the money on the tray. I'm awkward about asking for help even in stores that speak english, it would be even more awkward for me to ask for help in another country.
10 months ago
Recent Comments
0pt
glass cased item - grab staff's attention, they will get it for you and walk you to the checkout. gesture is fine, no Japanese is needed.
if you are looking for many items, then you will grab the paper sheet they have and write the item code and hand it to the staff.
some places have baskets but many you just grab them in your hand.

at checkout, you pay by either credit card or cash.
cash is straightforward, place it in the tray at the checkout counter.
but If you pay by credit card, most places will ask you if you want the transaction to be split. you can just say ikkai. (no split)

after a few transactions, you'll get used to it.
10 months ago
0pt
I noticed one part on the Glass Cases that might have been missed. This is specifically for Rental Boxes

If you come across something similar to Rental Boxes with each box being labeled a certain number (B10, A16)etc. All you need to do is find a piece of paper and pencil from the surrounding vicinity (Provided by the store and are all over the place).

On the sheet it will say which box, which item, and how many. There are slips that are in English so you won't get confused.

After you browsed through all the boxes simply bring what you have written down to the clerk at the cashiers desk and they will help you take the items out / check them out. Make sure you que up behind other people and line up on the proper side which will be marked on the ground.

Speaking of residing in Japan I don't suppose you would be there during Winter WonderFes 2017.
10 months ago
0pt
Pay for things separately on every floor, unless it's somewhere like Don Quixote where there is only one floor that does duty free (fifth floor iirc in the akiba one).
I don't know if anyones mentioned but make sure you put your money in the little trays, don't hand it directly to the cashier. You don't need to say anything during the entire exchange, watch Japanese people if you're unsure. Basically, if you're ever unsure, always watch and observe. I would say 'arigato gozaimasu' at when I got my stuff but you don't need to and you won't be seen as rude if you're just silent. Which is so weird!
I'm from the UK and I visited Japan in November/December and found the whole no interaction with cashiers weird at first but got used to it. Don't be afraid to slip up, people working at these places are used to it, just make sure to try not to get in the way of people or be too loud. Follow by example and you'll be fine and have a great time!
10 months ago
0pt
Pretty much everything that you need to know has been covered below :) Japan is a really chilled friendly place you have nothing to worry about just have fun. If you have any questions feel free to ask currently in Japan from the UK and my second trip in a year, I pretty much live in Akihabara :P Have a great time!
10 months ago
0pt
If you happen to be holding onto a few things without a basket, don't be surprised if you're approached by a very smiley clerk and a basket! This happened to me on more than one occasion while I'm awkwardly just zoning out in a section of Yuri on Ice merch or something. It doesn't happen all the time but just so you're aware! Japan prides itself on customer service so they go the whole 9 yards. Not that I'm saying I purposely stood there waiting for a basket either but they're just that helpful! That or I always look like a lost lamb despite being close to 30. Anyway, have fun!
10 months ago
7pt
Kuromii (10 months ago) #17456676

https://media.giphy.com/media/26gYUCS9AcDCgmnKM/source.gif

Beautifully said! Don't let these people get you down! ^_^ I know I would be doing the same thing and asking tons of questions if I were going to a place I was unfamiliar with. Getting as much info as you can never hurts!! :3
10 months ago
0pt
Chidoru Selling some figures!
Not sure if people have mentioned this already, but almost every store I shopped at had a little tray on the counter for you to place your money in, rather than directly handing it to the cashier.
10 months ago
0pt
Japan isn't a third world country where you shop by flagging down the nearest UN convoy or find an NGO aid drop. I can't wrap my head around someone asking such a common sense question....

Unless things changed from 14 years ago when I went, you walk in, grab the stuff you want, pay, and leave. Besides the obvious requirement of telling your bank or credit card company you'll be out of the country, it's literally the same as anywhere else. They're obviously going to know you're a tourist, so I don't think they're going to make you commit seppuku for not bowing or saying the right thing. They actually bend over backwards for customers, so take advantage of that.
10 months ago
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