With the rapid approach of the opening of the Tsukuba Express in August, all sorts of new construction projects have been going on in central Tsukuba. In addition to the newly opened shopping mall next to the Tsukuba Station, another new complex of stores has recently opened for business. This one, however, is not in a new building, but is the result of a refurbishing of the old "Daiei" building in Takezono, across the bicycle path from Capio.
Daiei, a major department store chain in Japan, first opened its Tsukuba store in 1985, in conjunction with the Expo World Science Fair. Along with Seibu and Jusco, it provided a convenient and relatively inexpensive option for people to shop in. With the financial crisis that Daiei faced a few years ago, however, they decided to close the Tsukuba store along with numerous other outlets around the nation.
The building sat more or less empty for about 3 years until "Dayz Town" was opened this Spring. For the first couple of months, only the first floor was open, but on June 2, the basement complex had its opening day. The upper floor consists of a fairly large grocery store with quite competitive prices. The quality of the vegetables, meats, etc. is not quite as good as Kasumi, but on average, the prices are considerably cheaper. It is definitely worth shopping at if it is a convenient location for you. And with 3 floors of parking spaces, it is easy to get there by car.
Also on the upper floor, there is a small shoe store, a bakery, a pharmacy, a dry cleaners, a hair salon, and other such enterprises. The newly opened basement includes a game center and a very large "100 yen store", with a nice selection. Not everything is a hundred yen, however, but whatever is over that is clearly marked (with the most expensive I saw being 500 yen). It is the best "100 yen store" I've seen so far, and so it is a great place to stock up on the little items one needs around the house. If you are here on a temporary basis and need to have the basics, this should be your first stop. For a few thousand yen, you can get most everything you need to set up house, and then you can shop around for the more expensive items elsewhere. It is really pretty amazing how inexpensive some of the items are. One wonders how on earth they can sell them that cheap (and likewise one wonders if workers were exploited to keep the price so low!)
There is also an interesting looking restaurant/bar off the lower entrance that is open from 5 pm to 5 am. It's called "Uotami", which literally means "Fish People", but that is not referring to mermaids, just fishermen. Needless to say, the menu features various seafood dishes at quite reasonable prices. Obviously, they plan to make most of their money on the drinks and not the food. Any of our Alien Times readers want to pay them a visit and write up a review? Such reviews of restaurants and other such establishments are always appreciated.
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