Food Shopping in Japan, Week 9: What We Bought, What We Spent

Can you guess what these are?

This week’s food shopping was a little different in that Brett and I did it yesterday (Sunday) instead of today (Monday). We’ll be over at our son’s all day tomorrow helping out with the grandkids, and knew we weren’t going to feel like shopping afterward, so decided to stop and do it on our way home from a day out visiting temples. Of course, what we didn’t count on was being exhausted as we were following our outing! A big difference we noticed was how crowded the store was on Sunday compared to Monday. Also, the shelves are still empty of all paper goods, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.

The total for our Tokyu shop this week was ¥6350/$59.72. We also stopped in at Kaldi for a couple of things and spent an additional ¥1238/$11.64, for a total of ¥7588/$71.36 bit. Everything we bought fit into two shopping bags this week, and my hero, Brett, carried everything home. The dollar has improved slightly against the yen compared to last week, so what we paid in U.S. dollars was a little less.

Here’s what we bought yesterday:

Dairy: Just the usual: Nonfat milk, nonfat yogurt, and a 10-pack of store brand Yakult. There were no changes in their prices from when we first bought them. Brand-name Yakult was back in stock, but a 5-pack cost more than the 10-pack of the store brand (¥200 vs ¥148).

Meat: A package of sliced pork for stir fry (¥256/$2.41), ground beef for tacos (¥399/$3.75)), and three chicken tenders (¥273/$2.57) for chicken and vegetable soup with dumplings were our meat purchases this week. 

Produce: Lots of produce again this week! We got a giant stalk of celery (¥178/$1.67), cherry tomatoes (¥322/$3.03), two cucumbers (¥57/54¢ each), five bananas (back to ¥198/$1.86), two kiwi fruit (still ¥198 each), a head of broccoli (¥158/$1.49), two boxes of strawberries (expensive – ¥498/$4.68 each – but they have been missed), four tiny green peppers (¥98/92¢), and red (¥178 also ) and yellow (¥198/$1.86) peppers for the stir fry, and an avocado (¥158 also).

Pantry items: We needed rice, and Tokyu had these small bags that were less expensive than the rice we bought at Seiyu when we arrived. The bags came in four varieties grown in four different places in Japan with four different prices,. We chose the least expensive (¥590/$5.47) since we know absolutely nothing about Japanese rice. The other pantry item was CookDo sauce for stirfried pork and peppers.

Beverages: I got three bottles of 16 Tea (still ¥88/82¢ each), and Brett got himself a bottle of ginger ale (also ¥88). If the ginger ale and one of the tea bottles look like their missing something, it’s because we were so parched when we got home we both opened up our bottles before we even entered the apartment!

Miscellaneous: Band-aids (¥318/$2.99) and dishwashing soap (¥128/$1.20) – we were almost out of both.

Kaldi Coffee Farm: We enjoyed the sakura mochi ice cream so much that we bought four more (still ¥150/$1.39 each), and I also grabbed a bag of frozen blueberries (¥590/$5.55). The entire bag was only slightly more than a tiny box of fresh blueberries at Tokyu (¥547/$5.15) that had only around 30 blueberries in it and contain at least five times as many berries. We also meant to pick up a bottle of maple syrup but forgot so we’ll get that next week.

We didn’t even look at prepared foods this week as a) we have a ton of leftovers right now in the refrigerator that have to be eaten, and b) we are going to have sushi later this week from one of the sushi stores down the street from us. They both have an amazing selection, so we plan to get a nice variety and will also count it as our dining out for the week.

This week I have a mystery for you! Can you guess what the three items at the top of the post are? Here’s a clue (maybe unhelpful): although one is pink, one is white, and one has a grilled top they are all the same. 

Only four more weeks of food shopping left in Japan – the time is flying by.


28 thoughts on “Food Shopping in Japan, Week 9: What We Bought, What We Spent

  1. Looks like a very well executed shopping trip! Best you only got 2 bags so the trip home was easily done —with Brett carrying the load.

    The visits to temples are very interesting along with the photos in prior posts.Thank you.

    We are, in our area, starting to see the effects of the concern over Covid-19. More events are cancelled, most of the court system is shut down, school spring breaks are extended and churches, along with other gatherings for faith are curtailed, if not shut down. This is how to stop the spread of this virus. Of concern is the long lasting health effects of this virus if one gets it and recovers, and that is, diminished breathing abilities, with shortness of breath, etc.

    This is all part of our lives globally now, and how we choose to make it work is important just like you two are making your travel work in light of this pandemic. I look forward to reading more of your adventures and where you go next. Thank you for taking us along.


    1. Thanks, Sonja! We are well set now for food; in fact, we are currently overstocked – we are going to have leftovers tonight because there is so much food on hand, and being at our son’s all day means it’s not getting eaten at lunch as it was before.

      It is sort of unreal what’s going on in the U.S. versus what happened here and how it’s been handled. We are having to change our travel plans once again – Brett and I are getting everything finalized now. Stay tuned for an update next week.


  2. My guess mini angel food cakes. Stores in Arizona sold out of toilet paper, baby wipes, diapers, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes. Prices on Offer Up for 6 pk toilet paper $65, 10 canisters Clorox wipes $200, Purell 4 oz $35. Shelves in stores empty, Walmart, Costco and Sam’s club. We buy in bulk so ok for now depending on how long this lasts.


    1. These are cakes of a sort, but not angel food.

      It’s been just as bad here, although no price gouging, so I can only imagine what it’s like in the U.S. right now. Our son and DIL just put in a big order with Costco – they had plenty of toilet paper but no other disinfecting supplies and no hand sanitizer either.


  3. Mochi cakes?

    Here things are ramping up. The prime minister has closed our borders to all but Canadians, permanent residents of Canada…and Americans. Yeah, the last part really makes no sense, given that some of the bordering states, such as Washington state, are in a state of emergency. Border traffic is down a bit, but there are still lots of Vancouverites driving across the border for cheap gas and American candy without a thought in the world.

    That said, aside from hoarding toilet paper — which makes NO sense, because ours is manufactured locally, so there’s plenty for everyone — I am grateful to report that people here have been patient and friendly, despite the line-ups and (temporary) shortages. What with social distancing, we still chat to each other (probably more than ever) about the weirdness of it all and where the best places to shop for supplies are, as we fret about friends and family across the country and across the globe.

    As always, I love reading about your day-to-day life 🙂


    1. No, not mochi, although that’s a pretty good guess.

      I think people will eventually get used to a “new normal” but it’s going to take time. I am horrified though by the pictures of crowds on the beach, or at Disneyworld, or other places – get with the program people!

      I sort of get the toilet paper hoarding – I will try to write more about that in Sunday’s post. It’s a unique product though that we give little thought to unless it looks like supplies might run out.

      Our day-to-day life right now seems pretty boring – we’re just getting through and trying to help our son and the grandkids get through a change in their routine. I’m so glad we were here though and able to help.


    1. I can definitely say what’s in those packages is not candy, but it is edible. I’ll have the answer in Sunday’s post. The link you sent looks interesting though – I wouldn’t mind trying it.


  4. I’m going to guess some kind of noodles?

    Our grocery stores are nuts lately, but we are stocked up with the exception of fresh fruits and veggies, which don’t seem to be in short supply. I have yeast and flour, so I will bake bread if that becomes an issue, but we don’t eat much of it so I’m not worried. Eggs have been cleaned out on my last two visits, but there is a farmer on our local online group offering them at a really reasonable rate, as I’m sure they’re overrun with them with everyone isolating.

    Pretty much everything is shutting down around us. Bars (thank god!), restaurants, libraries, gyms, churches. I have books backed up, so I’ll never run out of things to read and I’ve finally caught up on my New Yorkers! Ha!

    Hang in there. I think of you doing care support for your grands. We can see from a distance how challenging it is to keep two young kids (our grands) occupied indoors. Luckily, the weather is nice off and on, but it’s a big challenge for young parents right now.


    1. Nope, not noodles.

      I have to admit it’s strange seeing these runs on food in the U.S. because people here were asked to isolate for a few weeks (although not as severely as in the U.S.), and yet the shelves have always been full of food and supplies except for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc. Just a different mindset here. Also, people here tend to shop more frequently, and many homes and apartments have little to no room to overshop or stock up on items. I think supplies of rice ran out on one day, but that was all – one day – and then it was back on the shelves.

      We are in limbo right now. Can’t fix our airline ticket. Can’t cancel our Airbnb reservation if we wanted to. Etc., etc. I have a feeling our last few days here are going to be crazy as we pack, fix things, and/or possibly have to make changes to our itinerary.

      Watching the grandkids is exhausting. We love them to pieces, but we come home drained at the end of the day – our granddaughter is go, go, go the entire time I’m there.


      1. I can only imagine how tired you are. Just visiting our 3 yo grandson is tiring, and we’re not in charge. 🙂

        The reality here is that there is no food shortage – the stores just can’t stock the shelves as fast as people are buying. I went out early this morning and I saw no empty shelves in our local grocery (a large local chain). Stock people were wheeling out a ton of product. But I did see a woman pushing a cart with six packages of TP. That does seem to be the thing that panics people the most. 🤷‍♀️


      2. K is go-go-go all day. I really have to pace myself with her too. And she’s no longer taking naps either. But, she is good about picking up when asked, and helps me with other things as well so it’s not all bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Just remember too that you don’t want to be run down if you do get sick, no matter the illness.

        Also, spread the word(seriously), do not let anyone refer to COVID 19 as the China virus! #notmypresident


  5. Sorry I’m late posting. Been too busy obsessing over where to get toilet paper! My guess is those packages contain the swiss roll cakes (not sure what they’re called).


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