Daiso Back To School Essentials

The month of August is officially coming to an end which means that “Back To School” season is right around the corner! Unlike most countries, Japan actually begins its school year in April,  meaning that September is when most Japanese students are beginning their second semester. It might seem like going back to school for your second semester is a lot less stressful than starting your first, but that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, some might say that it’s even more stressful because Japanese schools typically require students to complete hefty homework assignments during summer break. Like any typical student on vacation, most just want to take advantage of their newfound freedom to relax and forget about anything school related. The downside is that this often turns into a summer-long procrastination spree, resulting in an intense last week where everyone rushes to try to finish up their summer homework on time. If this is the case for you, please rest assured knowing that you’re definitely not alone!

Whether you’re getting ready for your first or second semester of school in Japan, here is a list of Back to School essentials from Daiso (100 yen shop = dollar store) that are sure to help you get back in the flow of things without breaking the bank.

1. Flash Cards

Lots of students in Japan use flashcards to memorize new terminology, or to review notes before a big test. It might seem like an outdated way of studying but it’s known for being pretty effective, not least of all because you need to write the terminology on the flashcards by hand. It’s a way more fun and practical alternative to the boring “flip-through-your-old-notes” method. Plus, it will only set you back 100 yen for a pack of two!

2. Electric Erasers

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Who needs electric erasers when I already have a perfectly normal one that works fine?”. That might be true, however, I personally have come to realise that electric erasers really are the erasers of the future. As a student who is constantly taking notes by hand, I often find myself making mistakes and having to spend my precious note-taking time erasing them, only to end up rubbing a hole through the page and needing to start all over again. These erasers will save you that anguish and allow you to spend more time note-taking and finishing your work up on time.

3. A4 Zipper File

The more classes you have, the more your papers start to pile up. As a busy student, these loose papers can become a major obstacle that prevents you from getting organized and attaining better grades. With these A4 Zipper files that you can pick up for just 100 yen a pop, you’ll be able to keep all your notes organized and can even colour coordinate them according to your different classes!

4. Notebooks with Vinyl Covers

There is nothing worse than trying to study for a test as you suddenly you realise that you have no idea where you notes are. The best way to avoid this problem is color-coordinated notebooks, and what better place to get them than Daiso. Not only can you find them in a range of nice hues, but you can also be guaranteed that they’re going to last you throughout the entire school year due to their protective vinyl covers!

 

There are so many other items that I could add to this list but hopefully you found it helpful as a starting point! Weather you’re starting school in Japan or somewhere else, make sure to stop by your local dollar store and see what you can find for cheap!

From Tokyo to Seoul: A Guide to Your Weekend Getaway

Though Tokyo is a wonderful city with endless fun-filled activities on hand, cafes to visit, and delicious foods to eat, it is also located close to other exciting Asian cities. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is only a two-hour plane ride away from Tokyo, making it a convenient and easy city to explore from here! Like Tokyo, there are so many awesome things to enjoy in Seoul! It is the hub of k-pop, k-beauty, and cheap spicy Korean food. Speaking of which, I have just come back from a summer exchange there. In my opinion, the list that follows is a rundown of the top things to do in this lively city.

Try “bingsu”, Korean-style shaved ice dessert

Do you enjoy shaved ice, or “kakigori” as it’s known in Japan? If so, this is the treat for you. “Bingsu” is the Korean version of this style of dessert, and unlike the Japanese kakigori, it is much creamier and often more extravagant in terms of toppings, covered with everything from summer melon to oreos and red beans. Although they are a little pricey, it can actually end up being pretty cheap if you share with your friends! “Korean Dessert Cafe” is a popular dessert chain scattered throughout Seoul that offers seasonally varied bingsu flavors that might be fun to check out.
Visit the “mural village”

There is so much history and culture that you can easily access throughout Seoul. More recently, a group of artists has come together to revamp a little village area located near Hyehwa Station on Line 4, painting beautiful murals across the walls in this part of the city. Although there’s a bit of a hilly walk there, it’s definitely worth it to get some iconic photos and breathtaking views of Seoul. Just be aware that these murals are located in residential areas, so try to keep your voice down and be respectful of the local residents.
Go to animal-themed cafes

Sheep cafes, raccoon cafes, and dog cafes are just some of the fun themed cafes popping up around Seoul at the moment. Although Tokyo has thematic cafes of its own, Seoul has lots of rather unique animal-themed spaces that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. It definitely recommend checking some of them out!
Visit the DMZ

This suggestion might sound rather educational and for those with a special interest, but I found the DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone, to be really a fascinating and historically insightful place. Located just outside of Seoul, there are daily tours that depart from various locations within Seoul. It is the most heavily guarded border in the world, but here you can learn all about the history and tensions between North and South Korea, while also getting the chance to glimpse across the border. If you’re interested in learning more about the country, this would be the ideal tour to sign up for while you are there.
Eat traditional Korean food

Probably the most obvious suggestion to make, but I seriously recommend trying traditional Korean food while in Seoul! Insadong is a popular street located near the Gyeongbokgung Palace that is well known for its traditional Korean shops and restaurants. Here you can try classic Korean street food, teas, and wander about all kinds of shops. It is worth keeping in mind that Korean food in Korea is extremely spicy! Especially compared to the Korean food you typically get in Japan.
Good luck and enjoy!