What I miss about Japan is the Grannies' Heaven Shopping Street in Sugamo: or, indeed, any old-lady-store you care to name. Old Japanese ladies in my day didn't believe in central heating; I rather fancy they didn't believe in heating, period. (Story of a friend staying at her boyfriend's house, discovered by mother studying out on balcony in December. 'What on earth are you doing there?' 'It's warmer out here than inside.' Mother and sister, bemused, rousted out never-used electric heater for her but obviously didn't quite see the need.) No, old Japanese ladies believe in warm underwear and quilted jackets and woolly socks and kotatsu and boiling hot baths. Everything but the last two can be found at the old lady stores.
And. And. They believe in compression socks that go to mid-thigh. On them, I mean. On me they're knee high, and the only knee highs I've ever met that a) really do reach the knee and b) don't fall down. True, my Canadian compression socks are knee high and don't fall down either, but they cost $40 a pair. That gets you four Japanese knee highs. And I'm still wearing the pair I got in 1999, so they last.
But evidently stylish Korean ladies believe in thigh high stockings too, because there they were at $5 a pair. I bought only one, not trusting they'd fit anything but pipe cleaner Korean legs. But they do. So I am a happy camper.
And then I went for a walk and copped three oval dinner plates from the Front Lawn Dollar Store. Round dinner plates are too big for the kind of food I eat, dessert plates are too small. Clearly what I've always wanted was these medium-sized oval plates that will take a sandwich or a poached egg on toast plus a small salad or any condiments I care to add.