Little Joys

I know how this must sound, coming from the woman who has just spent 5 months hunting for the perfect washing machine…, but I am really not that particular a person! These days I try to buy Japanese products and patronise small local shops, because I think that if I expect to make a living in Japan among, from, and with the Japanese people, it’s just fair to give back to the local economy and not some international corporation that manages to not pay any taxes anywhere…

Beyond that, however, most of the things I buy I choose from a strictly functional point of view. Every electrical appliance I have bought, both for my office and the household in general, is from a different manufacturer. I don’t mind that my kitchen is not all of a piece, with a fridge that has a Swarovski-stone encrusted front with pink flowers, as seen in Korea, for example (yes, I am serious!)

The same with clothing: I don’t care for brand names at all. It is difficult enough to find clothes that I like, that fit, and that come at a reasonable price. The second criterion is even more difficult to fulfill here in Asia for somebody who is somewhat more… what’s the word again? … ah: voluptuous… than the average. Besides, as long as all those high fashion designers measure their clothing on 14-year-old stick figures, they obviously don’t want me as their customer anyway.

Similar with hygiene products: I buy whatever is cheapest whenever I need new toilet paper, tooth paste, shampoo, hand soap, dish detergent… If you’re not allergic to any ingredients, you can get away with that, and I don’t see the point in buying toilet paper with flowery print and lemon smell if the one without does the same trick at half the price…

my favourite type of tooth brushThere are only a few things I am extremely particular about, food for example. I buy Nutella, not any of those local chocolate spread imitations. Years of experience and unsuccessful tryouts have proved me right. I also buy European wine and cheese, and not the American versions, even if that means that my food bill is three times as high; I don’t drink that much wine anyway – not since I have discovered sparkling sake…

One other thing I am extremely picky about is: tooth brushes. For more than 20 years now, I have been buying only a particular brand of tooth brushes, one that is only available in Austria. Whenever I visit Austria, I buy a year’s supply of them, which usually makes the cashier look at me in a peculiar way… Unfortunately, I haven’t been in Austria for a long time now, so I was reduced to buying local, but I did not like them at all…

Somehow, I came to talk about the subject with an Austrian friend of mine – who promptly said he would go out and go shopping for me. And lo and behold: A package with a six month’s supply of my favourite tooth brushes arrived in the mail yesterday… Thank you so much! You’ve made my day! Oh, those little joys…

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