Sunday, September 1, 2013

Japanese Grocery Stores - The Basics Part 1

Hmmm.....I probably should have written this one before I started writing the one on sauces. Anyone who knows me though, knows that my brain is all over the place and doesn't function the way normal brains do (what is "normal" anyway???), so I'm sure my friends are not surprised by this at all. Ha!

So, you've moved to Iwakuni (Welcome to Iwakuni!!) and you've checked out the commissary. Hey. It's not as bad as it used to be. I think our commissary does very well with the limited amount of space they have. With that being said, I do buy almost all of my fruits and veggies out in town. I also definitely buy all of my chicken and eggs out in town. I prefer fresh chicken and have had issues with freezer burn in the past. I also love ground chicken and I can get fresh ground chicken out in town too. As for the eggs..... I think once you try it you will see why I only buy Japanese eggs.

One thing you should definitely know before venturing out to the Japanese grocery stores. Carry cash with you just in case. Some of them (especially little stands and smaller stores you might happen upon as you explore the area) do not accept credit cards. I've also heard from some people that they had problems when using their credit card so I try to make sure I have some cash on me when I go.

Be sure to take a shopping bag with you too. Almost every grocery I have been in does not offer free plastic bags anymore. You will have to ask for one and you will have to pay for it. It's usually 5yen or less, but if you take your own you won't have to ask for one AND you'll be helping the environment. Not the end of the world if you do forget though. I'll be the first to admit that I have a lot of shopping bags that never seem to make it back into my purse or back into my car. If you're like me and forget to bring one, just ask for a "fukuro" (bag) when you are checking out.

Do you want to buy some fresh fish, but don't want to cut the head off and gut it? Yuk. Me neither. Many grocery stores offer these services for free.

I took a picture of this sign that is posted in Fresta. You can just point at what you would like them to do for you and they'll take care of it. For free!

I know there are quite a few lactose intolerant people out there who drink soy milk so I checked out the soy milk section at Fresta and I was impressed by the many different flavors! They have banana soy milk!!
Some of the flavors in this photo are grape, yuzu (a Japanese citrus that is delicious), mango, and vanilla ice cream.

They also have organic soy milk -

If you're in a pinch and need some cottage cheese, you can find it out in town. It is pretty pricey though. This one in the picture was 378yen and it was a pretty small container of it.

I hope that this helps you feel more comfortable as you navigate your way around the grocery stores off base. In part 2 of my grocery store series I'll talk about point cards, sale days, and more! Let me know if there is something in particular that you want more information about.