(This post is for my friend Daisy, who wants to see pictures of what you can buy in Taiwan.) Hands Tailung is a bit like Japan’s answer to Target. I love Japanese pop culture and I love Target, so you can imagine how I feel about Hands Tailung. It is truly the answer to a question I did not even know that I was asking. There are three branches of the department store in Taipei–one in Breeze Center (which is closed for renovations and reopens on Sept. 27), one in Ximending at 88 Chunghua Rd. Sec. 1 and one in Mitsukoshi building A4 in the Xinyi shopping district.

The stores sell every kind of Japanese household item, toy, knick knack, stationary, storage device, travel, cosmetic and bath item that you could possibly imagine. Hands also has a really cool hobby section, featuring materials for crafts that are currently popular in Japan, including felting and beading [ETA: Breeze Center is now the only Hands Tailung to sell craft supplies]. I love Hands Tailung because shopping there not only gives me a glimpse into everyday life in Japan, but the merchandise is also reasonably priced and affordable for even a scholarship student like me. Ron and I bought two house plants for about NT$150 each (or about US$5) and both of them are still alive, so I can vouch for the quality of Hands’ products. And no, I do not work for them, though I sure wish I did.

Anyway, here is a sample of pictures that hardly capture the wonder of Hands Tailung.

Here is the front of the Xinyi district store in the Mitsukoshi A4 building.

This is a particularly awesome and quintessentially Japanese section–the bento box supplies. There is a trend for making elaborate bento lunch boxes using rice shapers, seaweed stencils, vegetable cutters… it’s pretty cool. Check out bento boxes from all over the world here. I’d make bento boxes, too, if it weren’t for the whole lazy thing.

An ENTIRE wall of body shapers and facial exercisers. Daisy, I can hear you salivating from an ocean away.

This lip gloss is guaranteed to give you the duck lip. You know, I thought Engrish was so funny until I started studying Mandarin and realized that this must be how I sound to most Mandarin speakers (including my parents, no doubt). Now seeing Engrish just fills me with terror.

A tiny part of the craft section, featuring kits and supplies to make little kawaii felt animals. Kawaii (cuteness) is a huge part of Japanese and Taiwanese pop culture. I used to resist it strongly, until I decided to fully embrace my Asianness. Now I am all about the kawaii.

I have to admit, the obsession with kewpies is one of the few aspects of Japanese pop culture I just don’t understand, but if you do, Hands Tailung has these figurines by the bucketful. Mmm… a bucket full of naked pointy-headed babies.

Bento box shaped erasers. See, I told you people bento boxes are all the rage in Japan! Bet you didn’t believe me!