Skip to main content

Sogo Department Store

The only department store you need to concern yourself with here in Japan is called Sogo.   Why?   Because I said so.   I love Sogo.  It is a food mecca.   What kind of people go to Sogo?   Average age range is between  40 to 70; Japanese housewives and women who aren't scared to eat by themselves in public.     What's the difference between this department store and any other in Japan, and what makes it any different from an American department store like JCPennys?


There is no difference, but I do think Sogo is the preferred department store for the occasional shopping expedition and "zeitaku" lunch jaunt here.    Zeitaku in English means luxurious.   Here in Japan Jukujo enjoy hanging out in packs and dining at fancy lunch spots that were either featured in  food magazines or television programs.    Japanese department stores do not play elevator music in their stores.   There are some rare occasions though, but most often the sound is drowned out by  cash registers and chatty grannies.    Thank goodness.    In Japan you can see elevator hostesses dressed up in pastel suits standing by with smiles ready to take you up or down.   American department stores are less warm and less attentive.


American department stores have food courts whereas Japanese department stores have three and sometimes four star restaurants on the top floor.   American department stores offer and advertise rebates, discounts, and blue light specials at competitive prices.   Here in Japan, you don't get  such adverts, instead you can pick up a free paper on the way in to the department.   In Japan items are already discounted so there're  no coupon clippings necessary.  

Here is the reason why I go:

Mt. Eggplants and vegetable packed full of shrimp, tomatoes and greens.


Imagawayaki - a custard or bean paste pie.   This treat is called different things depending on where you live.



Honey Melon cakes and tarts;  Tangerine tart in the back.

Tangerine and Honey fruit cocktail

Japanese confectionary at its finest.  Changes according to the seasons.  A true tangible cultural heritage.
Mackerel wrapped over Oregano paste and shiitake, baked.
Ginger Jelly


Sogo is not cheap.  Many food items are high quality and are made domestically.   The only reason I don't shop here everyday is because it's too far from my house, so often times I just settle for convenience store food, or eat out somewhere.  The Japanese create  and display their wares and foodstuffs so colorfully, and in such a way that you feel that you must buy it.


American food courts have some good offerings too, but not displayed in such a way.    And many of the choices are rather uninteresting.   In Japan it like a paradise of food, like something out of a Disney movie.    I love to come through here when I have free time on the weekends.  

Things to remember though:

When you buy food here it will usually be cold and you will not have anywhere to sit down to eat.  Everything is to go, so don't expect to just start eating most food right away.    Take it home and heat it up.    

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  





Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…