I think all foreigners living in Japan know about HardOff, but if you are visiting Japan, it’s a very good place to find inexpensive souvenirs.

It’s a chain of stores which sells used stuff.  Its sister company is BookOff (which sells only books and video games.)

It is not a charity.  It’s a business.  However, Japan doesn’t have as good a system of charity as America.  You won’t find food drives and used clothing charities nearly as much here.

I went recently to give them some old clothes.  I received a pittance, but it is so much better than throwing the clothes into the trash can.   I definitely don’t donate there to get money (there’s not point to that because it is not profitable.)  I do it to help the environment.

Okay, let’s look at some of the stuff at my HardOff.  (Oooooh, just love saying that.)

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Dolly dolls.  4,980 yen.  Cheap, no.  But probably a rare find.

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Little miscellaneous Japanesey stuff

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Lots of kokeshi!

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Lots of kimono.  People who sew reuse the fabric.

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And regular stuff, too……….  HardOff seems to take almost anything.

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Nerdy guy stuff


Speaking of charity…….  (on a totally unrelated note)

This year I made up a box of stuff for Samaritan’s Purse which will send it on to an impoverished child in the Philippines.  The box is for a boy age 10 to 14.

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No food is allowed.  (I have read this is because rats have gotten into boxes in previous years.)

No war toys or violent toys, etc. are allowed.  I took this to mean a VERY violent toy.  However, at the post office I was reading the English brochure again, and Pokemon is included.  What??? Pokemon?  I have sat through at least ten Pokemon movies and it is not violent.   Not at all.

I looked at the Japanese brochure and it said Harry Potter is not allowed.  So I think it is not merely violent toys, but rather anything that is…How shall I say this?  Well, no Harry Potter is allowed.   Samaritan’s Purse must be VERY conservative.

Then I started worrying about the Captain Underpants book.  I had wanted to include a book, but can’t of course get a Tagalog book.  I don’t know whether the child will know English.  So I chose a book with fun pictures in case he can’t read it.  But now I am worried the book will make the “offensive” list and get taken out.

Also, I included underwear, but the package shows a man’s crotch.  Worried the undies will get taken out, too.

Nevertheless, I would like to do Samaritan’s Purse again next year.  I will just be more careful what I include so nothing gets taken out.