5 Unique Japanese Products That Actually Work

The Land of the Rising Sun shines brightly on many things, including unusual and creative products. “Made in Japan” may be a staple on quality electronics, but it is also visible in limited-edition items. This is why people queued up during the opening of the first Japanese dollar store Daiso in Singapore. Moreover, people have been showing their Daiso hauls in YouTube and other social media platforms.

On that note, here are five unique Japanese products that actually work.


ReFa’s platinum rollers harness microcurrent technology that mimic the natural electric current circulating in your skin and the kneading motions of an esthetician. It is designed to relieve, brighten, and rejuvenate the skin as it helps to reduce fine lines and contours the face naturally. It is cordless and battery-free because it draws power from the indoor solar light.

ReFa was established in Japan in 2009 and has since expanded to Singapore and other Asian countries. One of their bestsellers is the ReFa 4 Carat, which costs around SGD420 on Sephora Singapore. It is said to replicate the “double kneading” action of a skilled masseur. Roll your aches and troubles away by checking out its product offerings.


I remember when I was a university student. I used to have different Pilot Frixion pens on my bag and used it to take down my notes. From the trusty pen brand Pilot come these erasable ballpoint pens that can be erased using friction. It uses special ink that turns invisible when heated. They are available in rainbow of colors, and come in packs of ink refills. Moreover, you can pair your Frixion pens with your Frixion highlighters. Since the ink disappears at high temperatures, do not use it for signing important documents.

A pack of colorful Frixion pens retail for about S$24.60 at Lazada.


How old were you when you had your first Tamagotchi? A Tamagotchi is a handheld digital pet that was created in Japan by Akihiro Yokoi and Aki Maita. Since its inception, it had different versions such as the Eevee Tamagotchi and the Tamagotchi x PAC-MAN edition. Nurture your Tamagotchi character with the help of PAC-MAN for as low as S$59.99 at toysrus.com.sg.

Image Credits: facebook.com/virtualpet


Daiso has a range of over 100,000 unique products and 40% of which are imported goods. Many of these products include household items and kitchenware. One product that caught my eye was the banana keeper. The S$2 banana keeper helps you to retain the shape and quality of your snack. You will never experience having a squished banana at the bottom of your bag ever again!


Have you ever felt like your matte or liquid lipsticks are sucking all the moisture out of your lips? Does your lips look chapped all the time? I have a solution for you. Unlike other face masks out there, there is a mask that is solely designed for your lips.

Image Credits: nymag.com

The Pure Smile Choosy Lip Gel Mask sheets allow you to have smoother lips with its ingredients like Vitamin E, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and jojoba oil. You can select the scent that you like most from the available flavors: peach, milk, fruit, herb and honey. Simply leave the mask on for 5 to 30 minutes and say hello to smoother, plumper lips. It is S$1.40 per sheet at Althea.


Daiso Just Opened An Online Store – All For S$2

Before the likes of Miniso graced Singapore, Daiso was known as the one-stop shop when it comes to ridiculously affordable deals for anything. It sold gadgets, utensils, bathroom supplies, stationary, and more. You name it, they have it for as low as S$2!

Daiso’s roots date back in 1972 when Hirotake Yano established a shop called Yano Shoten. It mostly sold household items for 100 Yen or S$1.28. It was not until December 1977 when the Daiso we recognize today was first discovered. Ten years later, it opened its first Taiwan store and the Korea store followed a month after. New stores opened almost every year since then.

Daiso has locations in 25 countries and regions worldwide including Japan, Vietnam, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and United States of America.

Interestingly, Daiso Japan is the king of batteries with over 147,500,000 batteries sold each year. Moreover, a fake eyelash pack is sold every 1.3 seconds. What’s more? It just opened its Singapore online shop last January 18, 2021. Many of the products they sell are imported from Japan, China, and Korea.

Daiso Singapore’s online shop has a range of over 400 products across 25 categories including cleaning supplies, kitchen tools, cosmetics, stationery, storage solutions, and more. This is a far cry from the 100,000 products offered by the store. However, we can expect to see more products popping in their online store in the future.

For instance, the only missing category is food. While, the most well-stocked category is cleaning supplies. This is understandable given our current situation. If you cannot find what you need or want online, you can go to one of its brick-and-mortar stores in Singapore including their branches in Marina Square and Canberra Plaza.

Image Credits: facebook.com/DAISO-Singapore

Just like the physical stores, the online shop sells all items at S$2 each. Do note that the delivery fee of about S$5 applies. This is just the basic fee. The delivery fee may differ depending on the weight of the items purchased. Moreover, customers are required to make a minimum purchase of five items. So, make the most out of your delivery fee by purchasing five or more items in one receipt!

Sources: 1, 2, & 3


How Do Dollar Stores Make Money?

From ValuDollar to Daiso, how do these budget stores make profits from their extremely low prices? Is it by selling volumes over pricing? Or is it because they offer knockoffs?

Here are several reasons why budget stores can still survive!


The shockingly low prices offered by the budget store might be due to the expiration dates of its products. While S$1 for a liter of soda sounds too good to be true, you must be vigilant when it comes to its lifespan.

You get to purchase a product for an insanely low price and the budget store gets rid of a stock that they would otherwise throw away. It is a win-win situation. This strategy is not limited to budget stores alone. Many supermarkets and bakeries slash their prices as they close for the day.

Minor defects in the packaging may also contribute to the low prices. A small dent on a soap bar or a small tear on a box can contribute to its lower cost. Do not judge the item by its cover! Sometimes, the savings outweigh the appearance.


There is truth to the saying that size matters. Interestingly, retailers can mask the true cost of their products by changing its sizes. Some dollar store items are small samples sold for a dollar or less. This way, the retailer makes more money with each dollar you spend.


Have you ever tried the Tim Tam chocolates biscuits from ValuDollar and noticed the significant difference in taste and packaging? I have! Well, this occurs because it is not from the original company itself! You see, dollar stores typically import items from other countries to get cheaper alternatives.

For instance, they may import Tim Tam biscuits made from Indonesia instead of importing it from the root source – Arnott’s Australia. This does not mean that the alternative is fake or inedible. It could just mean that the ingredients used for the off-brand biscuit varies and are typically of lower quality. Do a taste test and compare it to the supermarket’s Tim Tam to see for yourself!


What are Grey Market products? For starters, Grey Market products are sold outside the authorized distribution channels by retailers which may have no relationship with the manufacturer of the products. Let us simplify things with an illustration!

Say that a laundry detergent distributor in Singapore sold its stocks to supermarkets such as FairPrice and Cold Storage. However, this distributor has extra stocks. How can it maximize its profits? It reached out to Grey Market dealers to offer its goods at heavily discounted prices. This is why dollar stores can get a hold of the same products and sell it cheaper than the rest!

Image Credits: Flickr Creative Commons via Random Retail

Be a smart shopper! Just because a store has the word “budget” or “dollar” in its name does not mean that you are getting a good deal. In fact, it is likely that you are paying more at a dollar store for certain products that you can find at supermarkets. On the other hand, you must discern whether a product (such as a toothbrush) can be better acquired in a budget store. Keep these in mind the next time you shop!

Sources: 1 & 2



Everything You Need To Know About Daiso

Most of us have shopped in Yano Shoten without even knowing. You read right! Daiso, our go-to budget store, was once called Yano Shoten. It was named after its founder – Mr. Hirotake Yano.


From humble beginnings to a myriad of setbacks, Hirotake Yano’s path to success is not a straightforward route. He and his wife survived the economic downturn of the past decade and become one of Japan’s inspiring stories.

He has failed many times in past and thought that nothing he will ever try would succeed. He said: “During the inflation era, I thought many times about quitting. It seemed absurd to sell things at a fixed price. I kept going because I thought there was nothing else I could do.”

His willingness to move forward led him to multiple jobs and a chance encounter with a mobile merchandiser. He started working for him. Years later, he established his own store called Yano Shoten where goods were displayed on a wooden stand.

In 1977, he changed the company’s name to the brand we know and love – the Daiso Industries. Daiso introduced the universal price of ¥100. Why would he sell everything for ¥100? Well, he simply does not want to tag a number of products with different prices! Tagging was a time consuming task for him and his wife. Thanks to his effort to save time, we were able to save our money!

Daiso, which translates to “big warehouse, is far from ordinary. The company Yano founded has no business plan, no budget, and no quarterly results. Through it all, Yano believes that he is just an ordinary man.


In Singapore, everything Daiso sells go for two dollars. Whether you are purchasing a bag of chips or a bulk of cotton buds, you can expect to pay the same price. This enables the shoppers to anticipate their total costs. Furthermore, your eyes will be spoiled with choices!

On the other hand, our neighboring country Malaysia has to pay RM5.90 (about S$1.93) per item. Imagine if the exchange rate is in our favor! This means that we can get cheaper Daiso items in Malaysia instead.


Daiso has a wealth of outlets scattered throughout the globe and a wealth of goods scattered throughout the aisles. With over 100,000 goods offered, you can expect that a good portion comes from overseas. Although majority of the goods are made from Japan, approximately forty percent of goods are outsourced.

To save the cost of production, can you guess where most of the items come from? You are right! Many of which hail from China.


Did you know that not every Daiso product is priced the same? Lucky for us, anything we pick up inside a Daiso costs S$2. However, overseas outlets experience dynamic pricing.

For instance, majority of the products in Daiso Australia are set at a standard price of AU$2.80. While, other items cost more. The same goes for Daiso Philippines. Consumers get to enjoy products from PHP88 and up.

Use the steady price of two dollars to your advantage by tracking the amount of items you fling inside your basket!


Mr. Yano attributes his success to his ability to source out a variety of products. From quality essentials to quirky must-haves, everything sells for S$2! Moreover, people’s desire for deals remains to be the driving force of Daiso.

Image Credits: Flickr Creative Commons via Kai Hendry

Let me close this article with a nugget of wisdom from the man himself.

“Business is like climbing a mountain. The lesson of climbing a mountain is that there are always struggles and hard times. When you reach the top you get a sense of gratitude towards the mountain.”

Sources: 1, 2 & 3


Smart Ways To Spend Your S$2 At Daiso


All of us want to maintain the freshness of food. Personally, I do not want to eat chips that lost its crunchiness. To protect your leftover food, you may seal them with Daiso’s Kitchen Clips.


When was the last time you asked someone for help to open a stubborn jar or water bottle? This experience happens frequently to me. To make my life easier, I considered buying a lid opener. Daiso houses a specific brand for its jar openers – the Magtools. This tool does not require having powerful muscles!

Image Credits: amazon.com


Nothing screams value for your money louder than Daiso’s compressed heat packs for S$2. From adjusting your temperature in cold countries to aiding in your sick child’s fever, heat packs have many uses. It works in a matter of minutes!


My fondness for Japanese candies started last Christmas. I was gifted a bag filled with Japanese candies including the brand Hi-Chew. Popular locally and internationally, Hi-Chew is a soft fruity candy that you can eat during your commute. Parents may also use it as a reward for a well-behaved child.Paying S$2 is not a huge price to pay for its multiple uses.

Image Credits: hi-chew.com


For students who reside in dormitories, you put laundry hooks inside your bathroom to save some space. You can hung your delicate (or costly) items inside your house without having to worry about it. Besides, it only costs S$2!


As soon as my beloved co-worker arrives, she sets her alarm to six minutes and boils her two eggs. It takes 6 minutes to reach the consistency that she desires. I am planning to purchase Daiso’s adorable egg timer to help her eat perfect hard-boiled in the mornings.

Image Credits: imgur.com


I noticed that Japanese erasers are well-made. In Daiso, look for the Mono and Matomaru erasers and skip on the adorable shapes (e.g., sushi and dog erasers). The latter may look cute but, it does not provide the best performance.

Sources: 1, & 3