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.)


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


Little miscellaneous Japanesey stuff


Lots of kokeshi!


Lots of kimono.  People who sew reuse the fabric.


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


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.


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.