I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while, but just forgot about it. I know I’ve talked in earlier posts about how helpful IKEA is when you move to another country: you always know what you’ll find there, regardless of the language being spoken at the register.
While it’s good to be able to buy the same things in just about every country around the globe, it might just be better to bring a few selected things with you when you move to a new country.
I was reminded of this today when, 2 years after having moved to Japan, I used my can opener, which I had to buy from IKEA.
When we first got here, we went shopping at the Japanese version if IKEA, Nitori. Nitori is excellent for furnishing your Japanese home with Japanese things (like the little stool and wash pan for the shower which we don’t use in other countries).
But it didn’t have a can opener that I liked. When I couldn’t find one that I thought would work well for me (they were all the basic ones without a turn-wheel) in my tiny hands, I decided to look around in other places. How hard could it be to find a can opener?
I had a similar experience with Mark’s French Press. We couldn’t find the basic, glass and plastic one we’d had in Germany (I guess we gave it away when we moved), so I went on a search to find a similar one for him. Although it was a truly basic model with about 5 parts, I had trouble finding one that was the right size. I bought 3 different ones, each about the same size but made of metal, or glass, or what have you, and none of them worked as well as that first one.
We eventually found it in a high-end home store, for more than we would have liked to spend (it cost us about 20-E in Germany, here it was about Y8,000: a HUGE markup). But we could have saved ourselves the trouble and time wasted if we had just brought it with us when we moved.
And that’s what I mean when I say it’s better to just take these things to the next place. I looked for MONTHS for a can opener, in all of the shops. I found either too-high-end, ridiculously overpriced ones, or the basic ones that I can’t use properly.
I’ve learned my lesson. The next time we move to another country, we will be shipping boxes to the next place. Yeah, there are shipping costs, but like shopping at Target instead of Wal-Mart, you’re paying for the convenience and time saved.