100-yen store: Weirdly useful kitchen goods at Daiso!

100-yen store: Weirdly useful kitchen goods at Daiso!

by Katie Clayton
Live Japan

100-yen shopping in Japan means weird and wacky gadgets, and weird and wacky gadgets on a budget means Daiso! Daiso is one of Japan’s most famous 100-yen stores (think dollar store, but cooler), and it offers a huge number of items at a range of price points, but with a focus on 100-yen steals. There are 3,376 Daiso stores in Japan, and a grand total of 5,542 worldwide (as of 2019), and they’re popular for a reason; everything is super cool and super cheap! Daiso has been around since 1977, so they know what they’re doing.

Daiso has a wide selection of other items available, but with Japan having such a rich culture around food and cooking, we couldn’t resist checking out their kitchen supplies! We found plenty of options to brighten up your kitchen. These top six gadgets are unlike anything we’ve ever seen back home, and incredibly they’re all at the classic Daiso price of 100 yen! Nothing is too bulky, so you can carry all your cool new toys with you as you trek across the country, and then stuff them into your suitcase to take back home. Spice up your cooking and snack in style with these quirky yet super useful kitchen supplies!


Maki Roller: Impress your Friends and Family with Homemade Sushi Rolls!

Many of us have been excited by the idea of making sushi, but worry it will take too long and not turn out right… First, you need a specially-designed mat for rolling sushi. Second, even with said mat available, it’s no easy feat. It takes practice and talent, and not everybody has the time or patience. This easy-to-use sushi roller takes the mat and the frustration out of the equation.

Fun for the whole family, it’s so easy a child could do it, and they totally should! This simple tool makes it easy and fun to make rice rolls, which can be cut into bite-sized maki (roll) sushi or eaten as is, like a long sushi burrito. Either way, rice rolls make a perfect light lunch or snack, and are portable enough to replace sandwiches.

How to use it
The instructions are written in English on the packaging, and it’s easy to use once you get the hang of it. Put some cooked rice into the roller, filling up the bottom of it until you reach the top of the rough pattern. Then, add fillings in a line up the middle, leaving space on either side. Add more rice on top, encasing the fillings in rice. Then, close it and shake it around twenty to thirty times. Feed your sheet of nori seaweed into the slit on the clear part of the roller, and shake again until your roll is complete! You’ll be left with a tube of rice, your fillings in the center, and the sheet of seaweed wrapped around it to keep everything together.

Get creative with the fillings! Things like cucumber, sweet egg, and fish are all pretty standard, but why not play with some local Japanese ingredients like shiso, or some more western tastes like cheese? Perfect for a creative and unusual date night, a family night in, or just making yourself some lunch, you’ve got to try this neat little tool.

(Results may vary, but it sure is fun!)


Fresh Soda Stopper Pump: Never Let Your Fizzy Drinks Go Flat Again

When you’re traveling and trying as many different foods and drinks as possible in Japan, you’ve definitely got to check out some of the literally millions of vending machines and convenience stores around the country. Japanese summers are particularly hot, humid, and thirst-inducing. Sadly, we all know how it goes: buy a refreshing soda, forget about it for ten minutes, and it’s gone completely flat. Gross.

This is one of those inventions that will have you wondering why you didn’t know it existed until now. How have you lived without it? This handy, portable little pump is used to add fizz back into your drink. It fits 500ml and 1.5l bottles, so you never have to go thirsty for want of a decently carbonated beverage again.

How to use it
Instructions are available on the packaging in English. All you have to do is replace the cap of your drink with the included one. Once you've attached it to the mouth of your bottle, put the pump into position. Give your drink a few quick pumps, stopping once the bottle starts to swell with pressure. Now it should stay fizzy and refreshing for much longer. The stopper also doubles as a replacement cap, so you can just leave it in before sticking your drink in the fridge! Maximum ease and convenience.

Because it’s simple and hand-operated, there are no batteries or power sources required, and it can be used time and time again.


Mandarin Peeler: Easy Peasy Lemon...Peeler?

Nail biters of the world, rejoice! No more struggling to peel citrus fruits thanks to this genius invention. Whether your nails are too long or too short, finally there’s a tool to let you enjoy your favorite fruits without resorting to using a knife or your teeth. This useful little gadget is also great for people with coordination issues and for kids, as the fact that it’s made of plastic makes it much safer than the various alternatives. It's a safer option than a knife if you just want some lemon or lime juice for your cooking, too.

How to use it
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but all you have to do is put your finger through the hoop for grip, pierce the skin of your target fruit with the little nub facing away from you, and peel away. Be careful not to hurt yourself, and enjoy all your favourite fruits that unfortunately require peeling. If you’re in Japan around New Year, you’ve got to eat a satsuma or two; it’s tradition!

You get two in each pack, so one for you and one for a friend! Or keep all the fruit to yourself; we’re not judging.


Easy Chip Bag Sealer: Stale Snacks Begone!

Many bags of candy or chips in Japan are re-sealable, but alas, not all. This makes it difficult to bring back all the awesome Japanese snacks you’ll want to stuff in your suitcase. Back home, basically no bags are re-sealable, and it’s up to you to find a Ziploc and begin the awkward process of transferring your food. That’s where this fancy little device comes in. You won’t have to worry about stale or soft chips or cookies ever again thanks to this super innovative bag sealer! This is one that will really have you asking, “how is this only 100 yen!?”

How to use it
The almost pocket-sized gadget uses heat to bind the edges of your bag of chips together. The instructions are written on the back in English, and it’s very simple to use. It takes two AA batteries, sold separately, which go into the middle of the sealer. The shape is reminiscent of a stapler, and the business end is exactly where you’d therefore expect it to be: the small bronze button-like grids on the inside will heat up, so make sure to flip up the little green plastic safety cover when not in use. Press the bag closed for three seconds, and drag the device parallel to the opening of the bag to seal. Quick warning: it may not work on very thick material. However, you can adjust the length of time you hold it in place for and how firmly you hold it closed based on the thickness of the bag. Of course, for safety reasons, you have to take the batteries out after each use.

Now you can enjoy your snacks on the move without worrying about gross, stale food or crumbs in your stuff. Whether you’re adventuring in the great outdoors or just nibbling something in a hotel room, there will be no more struggling with clips, rubber bands, or trying to fold your snack bags away origami-style. Literally just press, drag, (remove batteries), and go!


Peeler Glove: Designed for the Clumsy Potato Lover

Vegetable peelers can be unwieldy, unsafe, and a pain to clean. Surely there has to be a better way. Of course there is; why else would we have brought it up? You will fumble no more with the dangerous vegetable peelers of the past thanks to this unusual but brilliant glove! Yes, you read that correctly: one glove. These large gloves are sold individually, and come in orange for your left hand or pink for your right hand, marked in English on the packaging so you don’t get confused. Buy one based on which of your hands is dominant, or get one of each and really go to town on your veggies.

How to use it
The rough texture helps to remove the skin from a vegetable by simply rubbing it! That’s right: you can wash and peel your veggies at the same time, saving time and effort. Of course potatoes come to mind first, but these gloves also work on things like burdock and fish scales.

Since there are no sharp objects involved, this unusual glove is perfect for getting kids involved in the cooking process at a relatively young age. In that vein, this is another a fantastic tool for helping those with coordination issues have more independence in the kitchen. It also reduces food waste, as we all know that using knives and peelers to shave potatoes into perfect squares is hardly the most efficient way to cook.

Save time, energy, food, and fingers with this awesome glove!


Folding Cup: Refreshing drinks on the go!

As pointed out on the packaging, this collapsible cup won’t just make it easy to enjoy a drink as you wander through Japan, but to do any activity that requires a cup: brush your teeth, gargle, take medicine, or of course, take part in the much-loved hanami flower viewing parties in spring! Hanami events are essentially boozy picnics held under the guise of gazing at the many gorgeous cherry blossom trees, so grab your new cup and enjoy spring the way the locals do! The cup also reduces waste, as you won’t need to use single-use disposable cups anymore. Pair it with your handy soda stopper pump and you’re all set to enjoy delicious Japanese drinks on the go.

How to use it
The instructions are written clearly in English on the back, but it would be pretty easy to use even without them! Start by giving the knob on the side a pull, and the cup very easily pops out and back to flat again. It even comes with a lid to keep it clean even when stored in your backpack; they’ve thought of everything! It’s available in yellow or green, so it’s always easy to find among your stuff.

This snazzy cup isn’t just useful when you’re traveling, either. It’s a total lifesaver to have long after your trip to Japan comes to an end. You could take it to school, work, the gym, on long car journeys; wherever and whenever you need it, it’ll be conveniently stashed in your bag or (large) pocket.

The cute and futuristic cup is another great gift, because you could buy a bunch and still have more than enough space left in your bag!

Japan is equally famous for weird and whimsical devices and for amazing cooking, and they sure deliver on both fronts. Here at Daiso, you can get your hands on some of the wackiest kitchen gadgets for just 100 yen each! How could you resist? Buy as many cool new toys as you want and still have cash left over to get the ingredients and snacks you’ll need to test them out. It’s a win-win.

Whether you want to grab a bunch of fun gifts or keep them all to yourself, you’ll easily find uses for all these unique tools both as you trot around the globe and once you get back home. From solving problems that you didn’t know you had to making cooking easier for everyone, there’s 100% something here that’s perfect for you and your loved ones.


Via Live Japan.

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