Going to the supermarket back in the United States was more of an inconvenience than it was difficult. Pushing your cart up and down the aisles grabbing what you need while grabbing a few items that you don’t need. Head to the checkout and the whole thing is over. While the weekly trip to the grocery store back home is a pain it is by no means a challenge. My first grocery store experience in Japan proved to be more of a challenge than an inconvenience.
Arriving in Japan only one month ago going to the grocery store became a whole new experience. Walking into my first grocery store in Japan had all my senses on overload. The huge variety of products, vendors inviting you to sample their products, bakers offering reduced prices on baked goods add all this to the fact that I can’t read any Japanese and you have sensory overload.
I pushed my cart up and down the aisles for a good 20 minutes just looking at all the different products. Since I can’t read Japanese I was reduced to my best context clues which comprised of studying the product, looking at the pictures on the wrapping paper or looking for a nearby product in English and assuming that the item I was looking at was the Japanese counterpart.
After about 2 hours I finished my first Japanese grocery store experience. I had enough food for 2 days and all went well with one minor exception. First I was looking for some candy and ended up buying cough drops instead. The package had a picture of a lemon and a guy smiling; Looked like candy to me! One thing is for sure I definitely couldn’t have completed my grocery store mission if it wasn’t for all the kind hearted people in the grocery store who took a few minutes out of their day to help this clueless guy from California.