5 Things Nearly Impossible to Find in Japan

I usually am not nostalgic about such things, but for some reason, there are just some items that you wonder why they just do not exist in Japan.  They don’t hurt anyway by existing, why do they not sell them?  I guess, people just don’t like them?  I really couldn’t tell ya’.  Anyway, here is my collective list, of 5 items that are nearly impossible to find in Japan.

1. Crayons

I don’t know what it is about crayons, but they ain’t here.  I guess, people are just afraid of the wax or something?  Candles are hard to come by as well, but at least you can locate them.  I have yet to locate crayons of any origin or brand.  Perhaps the wax texture just makes people gag. 

2. Cereal

This one I knew coming in that it would be hard to find, I just didn’t expect it to be THIS hard to find.   Japanese don’t usually eat cereal for breakfast, or breakfast at all for that matter.  If they do have cereal, they tend to mix it with yogurt and not so much with milk.  That being said, you typically only find corn flakes, and other variations of said corn flakes.  Even the imported cereals involve corn flakes.  They just love to sneak corn into everything don’t they.

3. Pencils

They have plenty of pens, and I mean plenty.  They also have lots and lots of mechanical pencils, but finding a plain wooden pencil is just not something people use anymore.  They are all into this mechanical pencil stuff.  Even for little children, they only wooden pencils are these HB types, which make it easier for kids to write kanji (Chinese characters), because the lead is mixed with charcoal so it is softer.  Even at my school, it took someone an hour to find a pencil for me.  They finally located a box of them, hidden in some storage room they totally forgot they even had.

4. Plain or lined loose paper

Normally, I wouldn’t have noticed this.  However, with book binding being one of my hobbies, I kind of need this loose paper in order to continue making things.  I went to so many stores and even craft stores looking for sketch books even to no avail.  I ended up just buying an actual notebook of lined paper, only to find out that they don’t line both sides, and that the paper is super thin.  So I went in to folding over 100 sheets of paper in half, thinking that I was only going to fold 50.  That was long afternoon!  Thankfully it was cat day on Animal Planet with Japanese subtitles.  Woo! English!

5. Normal sized spoons

Japan has two sizes of spoons: sauce spoons, and tea spoons.  I went to have cereal my first day, only finding wide sauce spoons.  I go to the store looking for some spoons but could only find either really tiny spoons, or wide spoons.  There is no in between.  Unless I want to buy baby spoons with rubber coatings.  Plastic spoons, on the other hand, are normal sized.  So why can’t reusable spoons be normal sized???


That is it for this post.  If you have a suggestion or question about Japan, please leave it in the guest book section.  I look forward to hearing from you!