We all love shopping. The 21st century has made us addicted to walking in a tall buildings and watching shinny things in glass windows. It’s an addiction for both women and men, the circle of money. And malls are a big part of this circle.
In China, shopping malls are mostly full of brand stores and expensive restaurants. The minimum you spend in a mall is between 200 and 600RMB (almost 100US$) which is a lot of money compared to the outdoor markets. The supermarkets in malls are usually expensive and with foreign brands (even for cheese and meat). The cheapest restaurants are fast food and the expensive ones are indoor barbecue restaurants. There are karaoke rooms and cinemas in almost every big mall. And the people that go there are usually nicely dressed and obsessed with taking pictures and posting them on social media. But most foreigners in China go to shopping mall in order to find better quality products and a small taste of the food from their home countries.
Japan has a way of being the opposite of China in many ways. In Japan, malls are used for convenience. You can find stores for everything in the big shopping malls, not only brands. A typical mall in Japan has 4 or 5 floors with stores like: clothing shops, socks and accessories, book stores, cosmetics, stationary, tech departments, household things, supermarkets and food courts (sometimes, many others). The food courts have restaurants of all type and the prices are not too high. The supermarkets have bento弁当food (a box-packed meal with Japanese food) which you can even heat up and eat at the food courts. Some malls even have the “hyakuen shoppu” 100円ショップ (100 Yen Shop – a store with everything at 100 yen=1 US$).
In China I was scared to enter a mall and in Japan I couldn’t get out of it. In Europe and other western countries a mall is just a place to spend time, meet friends, maybe do some shopping. In China and Japan it’s an entire culture created around it and if you don’t keep an open eye, you can end up spending a lot of money on nothing. Like me.