Japanese Stores in Houston
Okay, everybody who wants Uwajimaya to open a Japanese supermarket in Houston stand up and say Hai! Yeah, me too, and people somewhere want ice water, or something like that. It's not happening so we have to look at what we do have.
The kind of Japanese stuff I usually go shopping for falls into two categories; groceries and everything else. The groceries category is pretty self explanatory. If you want to cook Japanese food at home, you will need to buy ingredients that are either
- Shipped from Japan, or
- Prepared and packaged in such a way as to be suitable for Japanese cooking.
Then there's the whole snack thing but let's move on.
The everything else category includes; toothpaste, kitchen utensils, shampoo, herbal supplements, magazines, comics, general weird and cute stuff, etc., etc. I personally have little need for these things but my wife finds them essential. Sure, you can buy toothpaste and shampoo at Randal's, but there is something about familiar products from the homeland that she prefers.
You can probably make a similar statement about anyone from another country living here and wanting familiar products but I have observed there is something fundamentally different about this among the Japanese. The quality and reputation of brands justifies paying a premium price for these little comforts. And the willingness to pay more for these things incentivizes others to capture a piece of the action.
Back on topic - In Houston there are many stores which sell food and products from Japan. There are also many stores which sell substitutes and knockoffs. In this section I have included reviews of the very few places we find worth mentioning.