Singaporeans love Don Don Donki. The Japanese discount store sells everything from groceries and ready cooked meals, to household goods and makeup; and what’s available here is a mere fraction of the entire range sold in Japan. So while in Tokyo earlier this month for a press trip, when we (the Singapore media) discovered that there was a 24-hour Don Quijote (what is called Don Don Donki in Singapore) just down the road from our hotel, we braved the cold winds and made our way there after dinner — and it’s every bit the discount wonderland I imagined it to be! Here are 10 items I found and bought during my short trip there:
1. PORTABLE HUMIDIFIER, ¥1,000 (SG$12.40)
When I Instagrammed this photo, I kept receiving messages from friends on how much it costs and where to get it. This is a portable humidifier that screws on to the top of PET bottles, powers up by a USB cable, and comes with a mesh fabric “straw” (plus 3 replacements) to suck up the water to make the mist. You probably won’t use this in Singapore, but it makes a big difference in places where the air is really dry (like Japan!). Why not make your throat and skin more comfortable, right?
2. LIGHTED EAR WAX REMOVER, ¥1,280 (SG$15.90)
I found this in the baby section hanging on a promotional rack. It’s a silicone ear bud that has a really sticky end (to stick and remove ear wax), and includes a bright LED light to see into the ear. I tried it the minute I got home and it’s extremely effective at removing ear wax from my kid’s ears; plus you get to see how gross it is inside (really gross! But interesting!). You do need to stock up on replacement tips though (¥598 for two), because the stickiness washes away each time you clean the tip.
3. SELF EAR PIERCER, ¥990 (SG$12.30)
I found these self-piercing earrings at Don Don Donki in Singapore when they first opened, and I did a video here:
Many of the comments were about whether this was safe and legal in Singapore (whether it passed our health inspection board); and since that very first batch the store brought in, I haven’t been able to find it since. So stock up in Japan if you want to try this. Also, this actually makes a great secret Santa gift for colleagues! You can offer to do it for them! 😄
4. PITTA MASKS, ¥398-498 (SG$5 to $6)
While in Tokyo, I saw Clarence Lee wearing one of these Pitta Masks and he told me that he bought it in several colours. These shown here are the kids versions, and the colours they come in are adorable! The masks are soft, breathable, and most importantly — quite comfortable. They just get a bit hot after worn for a while, so I wouldn’t recommend wearing them in Singapore; but they’d be great in airplanes and colder climates!
5. MUHI CREAM, ¥698 (SG$8.70)
A friend introduced this anti-itch cream to me. It’s for the delicate skin of babies and kids, but adults can use it too. The main ingredient is diphenhydramine hydrochloride, which is an antihistamine also used in Benadryl (not sold in Singapore, but widely available in the US). I like that it feels soothing (it doesn’t sting at all!), and it really does help itch and rash go down — and all without steroids. Fun fact: Muhi is the same company as Mopiko!
6. LYCÉE EYE DROPS ¥598 (SG$7.40)
I don’t use eye drops myself, but Japan apparently has the best eye drops in the world. There are many brands to buy, but the ones my friends like are from Lycée. The pink one above on the left is specifically for tired and red eyes; it (apparently) makes the white of the eyes whiter, alleviates inflammation, and relaxes the muscles around the eye to relieve tiredness.
7. TOTORO MERCHANDISE
As expected, Don Quijote has a HUGE toy section (I found an entire wall of Mell Chan accessories!). If you’re a Studio Ghibli fan, you don’t have to get tickets to the museum just to buy official merchandise; Don Quijote has a good selection of Totoro toys and collectibles. And yes, there’s also loads of Hello Kitty things.
The Japanese really do improve on our everyday things, like those self adhesive plastic hole protectors that we paste on punched holes in our papers to keep them from tearing. See that stamp puncher in the middle of the photo above… that’s a hole protector stamp tool! Place it over the hole and STAMP! A hole protector is stamped onto the paper. So convenient; so clever. I could stay at the stationery section for hours discovering all these nifty everyday things to better my life.
9. EVE PAINKILLERS, FROM ¥598 (SG$7.40)
I didn’t expect an ENTIRE pharmacy at Don Quijote; but it was a pleasant surprise. With such competitive pricing, it’s a great place to stock up on essentials — like Eve painkillers. There are five different types of Eve products — including ones for menstrual pain, and one that can be taken without water (it melts in the mouth) — all of them having Ibuprofen as the key pain-relieving ingredient.
10. SSP ANERON MOTION SICKNESS PILLS, ¥698 (SG$8.70) FOR BOX OF 6
If you forgot to bring Novomin — or if it makes you too drowsy — look for the box with the ship’s wheel on it. This medicine immediately helps with nausea, dizziness, and even headaches associated with travel sickness. I know friends who swear by and stock up on boxes of these whenever they’re in Japan!