Two Japanese Dollar Stores: Minso and Yokoyaya
Hello! I’m Feather and this is my first review here! I’m just a weird little fledgling comic artist, creator of Prompt Execution and Perfection, a Mary Sue story. I am not the most well versed in art in terms of all the different mediums but I do enjoy trying them. With that out of the way, let’s get into things.
Just a little about this post, if you love Japanese Dollar Stores, then this is the post for you. I’m going to drop two store rundowns, one I found in Hong Kong and then revisited again in my local area, and the other one is pretty much a Daiso store with another name.
NOTE! I am just focusing on the stationary sections of the stores, these are general stores with other cool items and things to explore. Another thing is I am not a professional, so I do recommend everyone to give everything a fair go due to probably knowing more about the materials than I do. I just like to have an excuse to buy stationery and art supplies.
Yokoyaya is the store which I mentioned being the Daiso store with another name. Daiso is another Japanese Dollar Store, with products usually in the $2 CAD (I live in Canada) range. Everything I see in the aisles of Yokoyaya, I have seen at the Daiso. Even the packaging had Daiso’s branding on it. It also seems to have shorter shelving than my local Daiso, meaning you had to slightly crouch to look at things. At least the flags telling you what the items in the area are really did help. It is also slight smaller than Daiso as well, with Daiso being on two floors and Yokoyaya being only one floor but slightly wider.
Since I really didn’t need anything from this shop, I went and grabbed three things actually. Well, the last one is just a bag of candy because I enjoy some hard soda flavoured candies but two actual things from the Stationery section.
First thing I picked up were these postcards, made of pretty sturdy cardstock. I needed a bunch of them for Christmas cards so this was my main pick up. I will be testing all the pens from my other purchase on this paper. I also realized taking pictures of bright white paper on my white desk was stupid so I put a bit of grey newsprint underneath to show off the sheets. They are four inches wide and a bit bigger than five and a half inches long. Like… 5.75 inches? There are 55 of them and I think they are a really good deal at two dollars a pack.
|The packaging for stickers is beyond necessary|
|Yokoyaya Happy, seriously|
The second thing I bought happened to be this really overly packaged bundle of sticky notes. It has a good spread of different sticky notes I would totally use everyday like the ‘Don’t forget’ and ‘To Do list’, except for the weird Happy Sticky note. Like I have no idea why I would ever need a Happy Sticky note and it still boggles me why they pick Happy as their final word choice. I didn’t open up this one and try it because I have tried this product in another general amount and all I can say is it sticks, you can write on it, that’s all. Stick time is decent, just don’t play with it too much. Also I’m gifting it to a friend who doesn’t have a Daiso, Yokoyaya, or a Minso near them. Tragic.
Would I recommend either product? I do recommend the postcards, they are really nice and has a good snap to them. The Sticky notes book set? I prefer normal ones but if you really want to go all out on decorating, go for it.
Since it took me around 45 minutes to get to the Yokoyaya, instead of the 10 minutes it would take me to go to the closer Daiso near me, I would not go back to Yokoyaya again unless I’m in the area to begin with.
Wrap up Thoughts:
- Price - Everything is around $2, which is great.
- If you don’t have a Daiso in your area, you might have a Yokoyaya.
- Better signs than Daiso to tell you where things are.
- Not as crowded as a Daiso.
- (Personal) Location, I’m near a Daiso, I don’t need to go to a Yokoyaya.
- Smaller space, less selection.
- The lower shelving might be hard for some people’s backs.
- (Personal) I also somehow hurt myself on the metal spinners trying to get into the shop for some reason. Don’t be like Feather, enter shops carefully.
Silly Yokoyaya, that isn’t from Daiso…
First note about their stationary section is they have a lot more sets to sell than their loose items. They are a $2.99 CAD store, which is literally three dollars okay we don’t even have the penny anymore! It ranges up of course, seeing up to eight dollars and I think some items around the store are even more. I noticed they have a bunch of oil pastels and coloured pencils. I didn’t pick up any of those because they are not mediums I’m familiar with or use frequently.
There was a good selection of notebooks to pick from, which I picked one up as well as a tester. Funny enough, it was the most expensive thing in comparison out of everything else I bought. They had a lot of assorted options, I didn’t have time to check them all which is a shame.
Here is the pen area, it was just one side of the shelves and one tiny display. They were buy three for three dollars, pretty much a dollar each which was a great deal. I grabbed a bunch here.
NOTE! Here was a mistake I did, I just grabbed and didn’t check. A few of my pens had a plastic seal over them to keep them fresh, and I didn’t check all of them, meaning I accidently grabbed either their testers which were unmarked or someone already opened them to test out. It was some bad luck but remember to check your pens always!
So what was my actual Minso haul? Well first I want to note I have been to this store before when I was visiting family in Hong Kong, so I already had some Minso brush pens, and I bought doubles for testing and for a friend.
I bought the Hong Kong set awhile ago, HK Pens at Work
The bottom two were my duplicates, which you will see tested later. And here is that postcard paper doing it’s work, showing it can handle the mediums quite well. It was really nice to use these brush markers, having a nice brush tip and a bullet nib I can use to write notes with.
The three there are the ones I picked up from this store, with their smaller colour selection. Definitely something I have to mark them down for, their lack of colour choices limits what you can do greatly. The writing flow is smooth with no hiccups, and the tips can take pressure and abuse well due to my heavy hand when I write. I will always buy these again when I use up my current ones.
These were some alcohol based markers, I am not very well versed in this category either. I tried them out and they didn’t smell as heavy as other brand of alcohol based markers so I give that a plus since the smell is what puts me away from them in the first place. I say they are slightly streaky from when I tested them, but it could be me putting uneven pressure on it.
Fun little thing, I found a Minso brand Fine Tec and then I remembered I had something similar so behold my Dong-A pen which is the exact freaking pen. Just the branding was different and some of the labels. They wrote the same way, and had the same colour. But the fun fact is they cost me differently. It was a sad discovery.
This acrylic paint marker was one of the ones I think I grabbed the tester of, the nib was already saturated with the liquid, and had a chip in it. It was one of those shake and press to get it to work type of pens and I’m never good with those markers so I will definitely never use this much and probably never buy anything of that same vein. I didn’t like the flow of it and I found it really spotty. It kinda also just went everywhere when I tried to do the nib pressing thing.
The blue marker of the two watercolour pens was another of the already opened and used ones. The metallic marker was fresh though, and I love how bright it is and how metal it looks. Flows nicely, both of them actually, but I am not sure what I would use them for other than maybe an accent on some line art. Nib press with control, because my heavy hand just makes it puddle everywhere. But the puddle was smaller than the previous pen.
Test all the markers, That’s metal
Here is the compiled look of all the supplies, tested on that postcard paper. Cool note is the alcohol based marker didn’t bleed through to the other side, just barely started to. Might be good for all those people who use a lot of alcohol based markers.
Here is that book I talked about. I didn’t own a lot of sketchbooks with rings on the short end, so I picked it up. Had really nice cream tone paper, but it was kinda thin. Probably good for landscape sketching. Had a somewhat hard cover, basic enough to keep the book a book.
Of course I tested my more frequently used mediums on it, and that alcohol based marker a try as well. Well the paper is super thin so I don’t think I will be using the backside of it if I do drop a few strokes of colour on it.
I definitely recommend the water based brush pens, and specifically the metallic watercolour pen with the shake and press nib. The Fine Tec is decent but I had a few Fine Tecs before and sometimes they jam up really badly due to ink drying and I have to get a new one. Everything else is things I don’t frequently use, so I can’t give a strong recommendation to them.
Wrap up Thoughts:
- Price - Everything is around $3, a little bit more expensive than Daiso but you can still get the deals
- Good quality for what they are selling
- Good place to find some brush pens for cheap, even could be a cheaper alternative to the same thing
- Limited colour selection, and general limited selection when comparing locations
- Be careful of people who uncapped the pens already, or accidentally picking up a tester since they are unmarked
- (Personal) Got assaulted by their perfume section right at the front of the store when walking in. Had to exit to breathe and cough.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found some supplies you would like to try or look around for these two stores! Thanks to Becca for being an amazing person. Have a great day everyone and keep looking for those dollar stores!
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