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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More adventures at the Japanese dollar store...

I know I just got done saying that I don't normally post pics of items that can't easily be found in most areas, but I know that a lot of you enjoy seeing what I purchase at my local Japanese dollar store (Diaso) and, since I purchased some LA Colors products (widely available at Dollar Tree and other places) at Daiso in addition to the harder-to-find items, I figured what the heck!

So last week the boyfriend and I went to Daiso and Marukai Living. Daiso is a dollar store (actually everything there is $1.98) and Marukai Living has a TON of Japanese makeup and skincare products (some are very expensive while some are quite reasonable).

So at Marukai Living, I finally broke down and bought one of the zillions of glitter polishes they have on display by a company called Dear Laura. Dear Laura has a nail polish line called "pa" and the bottles are tiny and ADORABLE (even the packaging is adorable). One of my lovely readers, jbrobeck, just let me know that there is a website where you can see all of the colors in the pa line (click here to see them). The color I purchased is AA32, and it is from the "Lamé Grande" collection (the glitters). AA32 is a clear base that is packed with round holographic glitter and also holographic microglitter. The price of this polish was $5.98 at Marukai Living.

At Daiso, I purchased two LA Colors metallic nail polishes: Metallic Pink and Metallic Green (retail: $1.89 each). These were my first LA Colors metallic polishes and I have to say that I love them so far. I've washed the dishes twice so far and not even one chip. They're wearing like iron! (Of course I used my holy grail combo of Orly Bonder base coat and Sally Hansen Mega Shine top coat.) The pics above were taken with just one coat of LA Colors Metallic Pink and Metallic Green (these are super opaque!) and one coat of AA32 on each of my ring fingers.

Another thing I love about these LA Colors metallic polishes is that they do not feel gritty to the touch. At first they seemed streaky, but everything leveled out once the polish dried and I applied my top coat. If you see these at your local beauty supply or dollar store, definitely check them out.

Also at Marukai Living, I purchased this long-wear automatic pencil eyeliner (my favorite kind of eyeliner ever!):

Koji-Honpo Spring Heart Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Dark Brown (retail: $6)

I could not resist getting this Koji-Honpo Spring Heart Eyeliner for a number of reasons. First of all, you know I love my long-wear automatic pencil liners. Second of all, look at this cute packaging! Third, and most importantly, look at the pencil! The end of the pencil has not only the exact same smudge tip that the new Cover Girl Liquiline Blast eyeliners have(!) but there is also a sharpener on the other end of the smudge tip! And the entire thing fits snugly into the end of the pencil. Japanese design is amazing in general, and cosmetics are certainly no exception (another example? The L'Oreal Scrublet is a knock-off of Japanese facial tools, and the Japanese versions have a far better design, in my humble opinion).

Lastly, I purchased an LA Colors eyeshadow single at Daiso ($1.98):

I absolutely LOVE all of the LA Colors Eyeshadow Palletes I've purchased from Dollar Tree, but this is the very first eyeshadow single I've ever tried. I will let you know how it goes--I'm really hoping the texture and quality are as good as the shadows in the palettes.

So after Mr. G so patiently waited while I purchased my beauty products, we headed over to Mitsuwa to eat lunch and do some shopping:

Ramen from Santouka. I got the regular size (on the right) and Mr. G got the large. We also got a side of rice with leeks and it came with a pickled egg (I don't eat the egg but Mr. G likes it).

If you're in San Diego, you must try the ramen at Santouka (located inside of Mitsuwa). There's a reason why it's got 171 ratings with an average of 4 stars on Yelp. It's authentic and it's deeeelish.

Then we went shopping and got in not one, but two minor arguments. The first was over which brand of nori to get (we like to make our own sushi). Looking at the variety of nori offered at Mitsuwa, you can understand why we argued. I'm not complaining, but there are just TOO many choices:

This pic shows only half the assortment of different brands of nori they sell!

Fight number two erupted when we tried to decide which green tea to buy. I am obsessed with finding the perfect genmaicha tea (green tea combined with roasted brown rice). I love the flavor of the roasted rice mixed with the green tea, but it's hit or miss with certain brands. So looking at the assortment of green tea available at Mitsuwa, I think you can understand why another small fight broke out:

Again, this is only half the selection that's available.

If anyone has any suggestions as to their favorite brands of nori or genmaicha for me to try, I am all ears!

Thanks for reading about my latest adventure at the Japanese stores in San Diego. Do you like to shop at Japanese markets in your town? What are your favorite goodies to purchase?


  1. I love Diaso too! My friends and I always go crazy whenever we go there :)

  2. actually, those pa polishes are quite expensive, i wish i could find some!

  3. I love Daiso too! But everything at mine is $1.50 (unless otherwise marked) but the majority of the items are that price. Some are $1.

  4. So weird, me n hubby went to one of the Daiso stores near us yesterday [this particular one is HUGE, but it's neither of ours fave - that sentence don't look right?!?], I found a scrublet thingy there and planned on mentioning it to you, but totally forgot about it till I saw this post. What are the chances? LOL!
    I have several eyeshadows I got at Daiso [the one closest to us], and yesterday I got an Everbilena stick foundation in the darkest shade they had available [I'm a SE Asian w/a medium complexion, very golden/yellow/sallow, whatever you wanna call it], and while the color is fine I found that the formulation is preeetty, um, greasy? It would be SOOO much better for someone with dry to very dry skin. It felt really nice going on, smooth and creamy, but with my super greasy snout it fairly slid off as I was applying it, lol! Oh well, it was just $2, so it's no biggie, 'specially since hubby didn't make any fuss whatsoever when I added it to our teeny pile of stuff, yay! As far as the eyeshadows go I like them, and it's always great to be able to grab a big handful cuz they're sooo cheap! Hubs usually heads to Marukai Market next door for yummies while I peruse the pretties at Daiso, then when he gets back we have fun poking around Daiso together:-)

  5. I'm gonna have to find all these places when we get sent back to California. I'm going to DIE not being able to buy and eat Japanese things!!!

  6. Ooooh, something I can contribute to!! (I live in Japan)

    Daiso is great! My favorite mascara primer is from Daiso. It's 1/20 the cost of the Shiseido one and works just as well!

    What sort of genmaicha are you looking for? What was good about the "hit" ones and what was bad about the "miss" ones?

  7. I always enjoy your post about the Japanese stores, so keep'em coming! I wish there was one near me. Those nail polishes are pretty, especially the metallic pink, I'll be on the look out.

  8. I live an hour away from any of the Bay Area locations of Mitsuwa/Daiso/Marukai and everytime I'm in that area I have to go to those stores, as well as Kinokuniya. I was just in Marukai and Daiso over the weekend and I couldn't decide which genmaicha and furikake (rice seasoning)to buy either. Depending on price, I go with what has less on the shelf and figure that seems to be the popular one that people like. =) At Daiso I finally scored on some eyelashes. For $2 they work just as well as the $4-6 brands at the drugstores.

  9. Been meaning to get to the japanese dollar store, but haven't made it yet. Maybe tonight....

  10. Victoria: Yay! It's waaaaay too easy to go crazy in Daiso, isn't it? :)

    jbrobeck: WOW, thank you so much for this link! First of all, I totally read the packaging incorrectly on my bottle. So even though the company is Dear Laura, the name "pa" doesn't necessarily apply specifically to the glitter polishes, I see! The store where I bought these only had the glitters (there are soooo many!) but I didn't know they also made regular polishes under the "pa" name. So I'm totally going to update my post--thanks so much! Also, the price on that site is much better than what I paid! I paid almost $6 and they're only $4.90 on that site, right? You should order some! :D

    kali: OK, you are probably the 5th person to tell me that their Daiso sells things for $1.50 (unless otherwise specified). I wonder why the San Diego Daiso charges so much more?? Bummer. But lucky you! :D

    Charmaine: I've got so many questions for you! lol. First, thank you for the info about the Diaso eyeshadows. Are these the duos that I often see at my Daiso? I have been soooo curious about those! And thanks for the info about the foundation stick. I always wondered if that would be greasy, so thanks for confirming (sorry it didn't work for you, btw). And did you buy that scrublet? If so, what did you think of it? And lastly: Can you tell me if you purchased a membership to the Marukai grocery store? I noticed that you have to be a member to purchase groceries at the location in San Diego and I've been tempted to do it but I don't know how much it costs to join (or if it'd be worth it since I do most of my shopping at Mitsuwa anyway...). Thanks SO much!

    Dominique: If you'll be in Southern CA, then you should have no problem at all finding these particular stores. :D I hope you love them as much as I do--they are SO much fun. :)

    K: YAY!!!!! Thank you so so much for offering me your expert advice! This is AWESOME! :D OK, first of all, several of the genmaicha teas I've purchased lately are either too weak (I like a rich flavor) or I can barely taste the roasted rice in the tea (mostly just the green tea). And the tea I purchased last week during this shopping trip was the worst of all. It tastes like a skunk! lol. I'm not joking! When it was steeping, I could smell a strong skunk scent to it, and then when I drank it I could taste a weird skunk flavor (like how when a skunk sprays near you and it's so strong you can actually taste it in your mouth?). That's what it was like drinking this tea. :( Thank you for any advice you can give! And also, which mascara primer did you get at Daiso? :)

    Dianna: I'm SO glad you enjoy these posts! And yes, definitely try to find that LA Colors shade if you can. It's gorgeous in person. :)

    jeaniebeanie: OMG, we are exactly the same! I swear to you, whenever I go to Mitsuwa my boyfriend laughs because I *always* end up buying the brand that has the least amount of product left on the shelf! Seriously, I always say, "Well this seems to be the most popular so it's probably the best!" LOL!! I am SO glad I'm not alone! So tell me, which genmaicha and furikake are you currently using? Are you happy with them? :D

    HereBeDragons: Definitely get over there when you can! You won't be disappointed, I promise! :D

  11. Ah, posts like this make me so excited to get back to Southern California for the summer! Mitsuwa is usually too much of a drive (as is the Marukai superstore), but we have tons of independent Japanese markets where I live, as well as a mini Marukai discount market right by my house.

  12. Recessionista...I haven't tried the genmaicha yet, but it's by Yamamotoyama. The furikake is by Mishima and it's the Aji Nori one. It's ok, but I've had better. It has a bit of sweetness to it that I don't care for.

  13. Lindsey: Well all of these wonderful stores will be here waiting for you! Have fun! :D

    jeaniebeanie: OOOMMMMGGG!!! Girl, we are sharing the same brain. I just ran down to look at the box of genmaicha that I bought last week and it's YAMAMOTOYAMA! I am NOT joking! It's a light green box with a darker green border, and there's a picture of a tea cup on the front with a tea bag floating inside of it. LOL!! So I guess it was popular (and cheap) at BOTH of our locations! Hahahaha! OK, let me tell you, I've made two cups of tea with this brand so far, and I hate it. :( To me, when it steeps, it smells like a skunk. And then when I drink it, I can still taste that skunk flavor in the tea. I would LOVE to know if you have the same experience. I've been looking forever for the genmaicha they serve at a lot of restaurants that has that delicious, rich, toasty rice note to it. Why can I not find this in stores?? And about that furikake, thank you for the heads-up. i don't care for an overly-sweet flavor either, so I guess it's on to the next one, right? :(

  14. that's too bad about the skunky tea! =( i'm going to try the one i have tonite. mine is in different packaging. it's a cellophane bag that's clear in the middle to show off the tea w/reddish brown bands at the top and bottom with a tea pot and tea cup. i really hope it's good. i'll keep you posted on other stuff i try in the future.=)

  15. Okay just saw this. But I'm obsessed with the Yamamotoyama Sweetened Iced Green Tea On the Go. It is so yum! I actually crave it like crack. Got it at a korean market. To my dismay when I sent hubby to the Marukai in SD they said they don't have it. Let me tell you I got a raspberry one of the same brand at a Ralph's and it tasted soooo nasty. But I'm loving the On the Go one! Just my random two cents.


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