In an effort to get back on the blog wagon (and also to get back to sharing more information with interested parties on the internet), I’ve put together a series of posts dealing not with grand topics and large adventures, but with the little things I’ve been noting more and more often as of recent.
These are designed to be mini-posts focusing on small details of life as I see it here in Tokyo – things that are different (for good or for bad) from my life in the states. I’ve planned out several weeks’ worth of material, and hope it’s at least a little interesting. This first entry, maybe not so much. But just a little something I’ve come to appreciate.
The magic of refills
That’s right, my first riveting topic is refills! Not the refills you get at your local burger joint or even the gas in the tank of your car, but a different sort of refill. While it’s true I grew up in smallish communities on the west coast, it wasn’t like I was lacking in access to basic consumer goods. One thing I’ve noticed about consumer products here in Japan is how much more re-use friendly certain things are. See Exhibit A:
Here we have soap. This is my soap. It is a girly, smelly, foamy soap, and I like it, so when I ran out of soapy goodness in the bottle pictured, I needed to replenish my stock. When one heads to the store for more soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc., one is faced with choices.
- Buy a new bottle of the same stuff?
- Buy a bottle of a new product?
- Buy a refilly bag? (refilly bag is a technical term)
- Forgo soap altogether and go au naturale?
- Steal your neighbor’s soap?
In case you couldn’t guess, I chose option 3. The “refill” bag for my soap was about 200 yen (about $2.50) cheaper than purchasing a new bottle, and I don’t have to worry about getting rid of the empty plastic container the stuff was originally in (garbage disposal is another post altogether). These refill bags are available in the same place you buy the product you’re looking for – usually located right next to the bottle itself. Open the bag of your choice, pour it into your bottle, and toss the bag. It’s cheaper, less garbage, and easier to store an extra if you’re the kind of person that keeps spare stuff handy for when you run out/Y2K/the zombie apocalypse hits.
While this concept (and likely, concepts in future posts) is very mundane, it’s still one small aspect of life here in Japan I’ve actually really come to appreciate. I hope this series of “Little Things” is interesting and informative!