This weekend we went to the local CostCo to stock up on some supplies. You’re probably thinking: “Wow! CostCo in Japan? It must be so different.” Well, that’s what I was thinking when I snapped this picture. This, however was the only picture I took. Why? Because CostCo in Japan is EXACTLY like CostCo back home. I was looking forward to seeing what the strangest thing they changed was, but honestly, the strangest thing about the experience was how normal it was. Seriously, if you woke up in this CostCo, you would have no idea that you were in a different country until you stepped outside. You might have some clues that not everything was as quite right, however.
Perhaps the first thing you would notice is that the place was populated by an unusually high number of Japanese people. But they behave exactly as you’d expect, they all mob the free food stands, they all saunter slowly between the isles with their over-sized carts making it impossible to just run in and grab something quickly, and they pack the food court eating the familiar hot dogs, pizza, and lemon ice drinks. Next, you would notice that all the signs had Japanese translations under them, but the larger part of the sign is still in familiar English, so it might not really register. You’d eventually notice that some of the bulk products were not the same as you’re used to, the liquor section has more sake and South African wines, the fruit section is small and really expensive, and the fish section has an unusually large variety. And even though the catchup has Japanese text on the label, it is still sold in five gallon units, as is the cereal, milk, pancake mix, and juice.
Of course, the one thing they don’t have is my favorite style of Kirkland socks. I’m glad that I brought a stock pile of them with me, and that I don’t feel foolish now for doing so. At least I know where to go when I feel homesick.