Dec 202006

Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

Having gotten used to living in a country where everything is crammed into impossibly small spaces, the sight of Costco Japan’s enormous Amagasaki warehouse was nothing less than a total mind trip. For years I’ve been hearing tales of this legendary expatriate haven – a place where one can purchase all of the products they grow to miss while living thousands of miles from home. This Sunday I joined Dylan and Heather for my first visit. I had my fingers crossed for a $20 tub of protein powder.

And although they carried little more than the same $60 bag of “half protein, half sugary-flavoring” that Japanese supermarkets are somehow able to market as “good for weightlifting,” the rest was just what I’d been hoping for. They had everything from lean ground beef (I bought several pounds) to sharp cheddar cheese (I bought several pounds) to microwavable lasagna (I bought several pounds). They had some of the best-tasting pizza and hot dogs I’ve ever had (what a weekend…hamburgers one day, pizza and hot dogs the next!) They even had economy-sized bottles of umeboshi, twelve-packs of azuki beans, and cans of matcha powder that say “Let’s enjoy the relaxing time.”

OK, so Costco Japan isn’t exactly like Costco US. But at times it sure felt like I was right back at home – so much that I found myself repeatedly thinking about how I’d have to stick my car’s T-Top roof panels in the back seat to make room for the groceries in the trunk.

But then I remembered how I’d be carrying everything I bought home on an hour’s worth of trains and buses.

And I put back the 24-pack of Corona.

After finishing up our shopping spree at Costco and roaming around the nearby Carefour French supermarket (apparently Amagasaki really is Kansai’s gaijin-haven), we gathered up the posse and stepped outside for our daily taste of DarkFternoon.

DarkFternoon, a phrase coined by Dylan and Stuart, refers to the phenomenon in Japan whereby the sunny afternoon sky is replaced by a dark cloud layer making it feel more like evening than daytime. But not quite evening. More like DarkFternoon.

OK, so that (very brief) addition to yesterday’s post brings me up to date, with the exception of one daytrip to Kanazawa that I skipped over entirely. But I’ll deal with that later 🙂 And if all goes well, I should have the Internet hooked up on December 27th, which will make my life about a thousand times easier.

I’ll tell ya, it’s rough being a computer nerd and not having the net at home!

Before I close up though, I just want to mention one thing. Remember last year when I used to constantly pester everyone to click my banners? Well, apparently drawing readers’ attention towards the ads (using arrows, signs, etc) is against Google’s usage policy, so I was asked to take all such references down. And since I did, the clicks stopped coming. Completely. As did the ad-based income that I was using to pay for this web hosting.

I’m not trying to encourage you to click on the ads or anything – that would be against the rules!

I just felt like saying is all 😉

  7 Responses to “A Lovely DarkFternoon at Costco”

  1. Costco….heheh…..taking over the world

  2. I don’t think I was actually as scared of that giant chocolate bar as I look in the picture. I was mostly showing off for the Japanese women that were far too interested in what we were buying.

    It was a little scary, though.

  3. Great photo of the Christmas tree.

    Festive wishes coming to you from Okinawa. Have a great Christmas and all the best in 2007. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!


  4. Can you buy boats and helicopters at the Japanese Costco? What about time machines and personal teleporters?

  5. Haha funny you ask, because one of my first questions to Dylan after he went a couple of months back was “Do they have boats and helicopters and stuff like in the US?”

    No. No they don’t.

  6. One thing I’ve realised since I’ve been in Okinawa, and prior to that, a year in Maldives, is that I don’t really miss any special foods from the UK. I know a lot of my American friends and so excited when they get to go on US bases and do some shopping as they can buy things from back home. But I feel completely happy with things here and don’t really feel the need for a western supermarket. I’m sure I’m in the minority though (I definately am here in Oki).

    Give me a Jusco or a San-A and I’m happy 🙂

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