I'm pretty sure life in Kansai is similar to anywhere else in Japan, but since this blog is supposed to be dedicated to Kansai-ness, I thought I'd throw that in(*^ｰﾟ)ﾉ ぃょぅ
Now it would seem obvious to some; you go to the grocery store for food, get hand-me-downs from Sayonara Sales, and have your company get your utilities for youヽ(°▽、°）ノ. But wouldn't you love more in-depth information about things like that?? Well, maybe you wouldn't, but in case you do, I'll share what I've learned here～(´ー｀～)
There are tons of places to go for food in Kansai (and Japan), and I mean that most literally. From my apartment to the train station, I can go to 4+ stores for groceries, and it's only a 10-minute walk（・∀・）ｲｲ!!. Of course, out in the countryside, it's much more sparse(´＿｀｡)ｸﾞｽﾝ So I'll name some of the most common places for shopping.
AEON イオン (formerly known as JUSCO) - You can find AEON shopping centers anywhere. And they're huuuuge. They sell everything (they remind me of Target where as JUSCO was more like WAL-MART). Along with groceries and furniture, most will have a 100 Yen shop lurking around (usually on the upper floors), but don't go too crazy. You can find some better quality (and cheaper things) at other stores. They have great deals on fruits and veggies, and they usually have discount days once a week where all the groceries get really cheap..!★
Don Quixote ドン・キホーテ - People usually give me an odd face when I tell them about grocery shopping at Donki, but they usually beat out AEON on things like shampoo, frozen foods, instant foods, and dry foods (like mixes or cereal). But beware! If the milk is on sale for really cheap (like 98 yen or so), it's probably going to spoil in less than 3 days(・＿・。)ｸﾞｽﾝ That's a horrible way to wake up one morning before work..
Super Tamade スーパー玉出 - Now this one I found out from my husbands family. Its a really grimy looking store (at least the one in Nippombashi, but every thing's a little grimy there（*´ー｀*)) but they're pretty reasonable. You can actually get entire loaves of bread here (instead of the 4/5/6/8 slices they sell in other stores（ ´'Ａ'｀） WTH am I supposed to do with 5 slices!?). They also have 1 yen sales, which can vary from things like toilet brushes to warabimochi! OSAKA AREA ONLY
Okuwa オークワ - This is a market I went to often with my mother-in-law(*´∀｀*). You can most definitely find it in the countryside. They usually have two floors, one for groceries and small apparel/jewelry businesses, while the second floor is clothes, some furniture, and usually a 100 Yen shop (I think they only have Daiso 100 Yen shops. At least thats all I've seen). The prices are pretty much the same as AEON, though they all have their own non-brand items. They also feature special days for sales. KANSAI/CHUUBU AREA ONLY
Life ライフ - This market I actually only went to once(*ﾉ∀ﾉ)ｲﾔﾝ . The one near my house was pretty tiny, only one floor and much more expensive than the other stores I've been too. I think it gives off the vibe of being a more upscale version of Okuwa, but they have to the same parent company so I'm sure the products are essentially the same. I've seen larger ones while riding on the train to Nara, but I've yet to go to another one. If I ever get a better impression at another store, I'll update this description( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ. KINKI/SHUTOU AREA ONLY
If you're like me, you love IKEA. Getting down on the floor with an allen wrench and putting together some furniture that might break down in a year, or could last for years on end, may even be the highlight of your week Well lucky for you, Japanese like doing that too, but they also have the option for people to come to your house and put it together for you(*´∀人) Ohhh Japan, so full of options..!
Nissen ニッセン - Nissen is a 1kg catalog you can find at the 100 yen shop, convenience store, even your local Sushi-Ro. They remind me of the huge Nordstrom's books my mom used to get when I was little, except cheaper（●´－｀●）. They're filled with clothes, furniture, message tools, shoes, accessories, school uniforms, judo uniforms, baseball gear, underwear, bedding, desks, laundry equipment, basically anything you need in your house or on your family. And of course they have the order form in the book in case you're old school and like mailing in your order via JP Post(;´▽`)y-~~ For the younger, hip crowds, they have internet and mobile sites you can order with (my husband chose the phone method(´＿｀｡)). What I really like about Nissen is the variety of furniture they have. A great selection of styles and sizes, though the colors are limited. I've only ordered from them once, and my experience was.. so-so. Their building crew was behind on calling us with the delivery date, so we couldn't get the day we wanted, but all the furniture arrived put together and only took 20 minutes for them to get it in the house and set-up. Fast and easyヽ(´▽`)ノ. They also have an international store in English here.
Nitori ニトリ - Now this shop I heard about from my co-workers. There wasn't a Nitori near my mother-in-laws house so I didn't get to check it out until we moved to Osaka, but I fell in love(*´∀｀*). I wanted to buy EVERYTHING. I would say that Nitori is the Japanese version of IKEA. They have little showrooms set up in the store so you can see different ways to arrange the furniture, but I don't remember there really being much a variety. I felt most of the stuff was too big for my tiny apartment (so I ended up at Nissen), but I do plan on buying rugs, curtains, bedding and more kitchen supplies from Nitori. Their home furnishings did seem made for a younger crowd, more colors and modern styles. Prices were great too( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ! They also have an English site that explains all the symbols on their products and warnings.
IKEA - You can't mention IKEA in an article as many times as I did without at least giving a link to the site. I haven't been to the one in Osaka, but I've heard nice things. I looked through the Japanese site though, and wasn't really impressed. And they're a bit more expensive than Nitori and Nissen, so I don't know if I'll check them out anytime soon. They were definitely the best deal back home though(*^-^*).
I don't know if you know, but there are a lot of electronics companies in Japanese (and I thought Mitsubishi only made cars...) so you have a lot of choices when it comes to getting a new TV, computer, refrigerator, etc～(´ー｀～) .
Joshin - I think they usually go by Joshin Outlet, but they're not really outlet prices (at least the things I was looking for weren't（ ´_・｀）). They were similar in price range to K's and Yamada Denki, but seemed to have a smaller selection. Even the Joshin in Osaka is quite small (crammed in a building in Nippombashi). I think their computer supplies were pretty cheap, but they were also on sale when I bought them, so that might not be a normal thing. Joshin kind of reminds me of Circuit City, a little out-dated and like it's on its last leg. But it's got lots of character so I hope it won't close down（●´－｀●）. Joshins seemed to be located largely on Honshu (Kansai and Chuubu), with a 3 shops in Hokkaido and 2 in Tokushima (Shikoku). They get as far north as Chiba though.
K's Denki ケーズデンキ - Another large electronics shop. I've not seen once in Osaka City, but there was a shiny new one in the old city we lived in (countryside( ´ⅴ｀)). I've only been inside once, but their website is really clean and easy to navigate. They also seem well-stocked, but maybe a little expensive.
Yamada Denki ヤマダ電機 - This company also has some shopping malls opening up, but I've only ever been to the electronics store. The stores are all really clean and huuuge. Lots of space to walk around and check out the products. I ordered a tablet, which wasn't in stock when I ordered it, but they shipped it over from another store and I was able to pick it up a couple days later. Also, when we purchased a TV, they offered to take away out old TV (an offer we didn't take, that I'm now regretting(・＿・。)ｸﾞｽﾝ). We'll probably end up back at Yamada when it's time upgrade something else（●´－｀●）
Bic Camera ビックカメラ - Now this is where I usually go if I want to get some serious electronics shopping done. If you're visiting Japan for a short time, take advantage of their tax-free floors!! Lots of things to buy (electronics, glasses, brand goods, cosmetics, jewelry) and really nice prices. We got our refrigerator, washing machine and lights from here all for a very decent price. We probably ended up saved about $500. You can find Bic Camera's in most metropolitan areas, but I don't think they're out in the countryside（ ´；д；）
Yodobashi Camera - I've only looked around Yodobashi but I think it's pretty similar to Bic Camera (Though I'm not sure which came firstヽ( ´ｰ｀)丿). We didn't end up buying anything since it was more expensive that Bic Camera at the time, but I think they run some really great sales. You just have to catch them(´д｀). I think they only have 21 stores, so if you're outside of metropolitan cities, you probably won't find one.
HOSPITALS & CLINICS
A video blog post about clinics and hospitals in Japan.