I'm on holiday in Tokyo, which means I've been doing a lot of shopping.
Today I toured Don Quijote, a general store that, in my mind, can only be compared to a much more cluttered, much crazier, much more enjoyable Big Lots. (There are 143 Don Quijote stores in Japan and four in Hawaii.)
Every corner of every floor has a different theme. There were eight floors in total--I was at the Roppongi location--and you can buy everything from costumes to imported cheese to fancy vibrators to luggage to jumpsuits. It's kind of insane.
But the top floor, the luxury floor, is what really blew me away.
There are two sections on the luxury floor stocked with handbags, a bit of jewelry, and watches from brands like Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga. One section contains "new" merchandise; the other is second-hand goods. And yes, it's almost all positively genuine stuff, given Japan's strict laws against counterfeiting and the fact that Don Quijote is a public company. Of course the brands aren't vocal about their presence there--it's much like finding Chanel and Louis Vuitton bags at Costco.
The "new" stuff is slightly discounted. Say, $100 to $200 off of the original price. And it's not super exciting. There was a yellow 2.55 bag from Chanel for about $2,900, a brown Hermes Birkin for $10,000 and Balenciagas in a rainbow of colors. (I put "new" in quotations because it's quite obviously outlet store-quality product.)
The cast-offs from the brands were just that--cast offs--but the second-hand items were more impressive. I found a black Hermes Kelly for $4,000, several Stephen Sprouse Louis Vuitton pieces and plenty of Epi leather Speedy bags.
I recently invested in a Chanel 2.25 bag, but if I was still on the lookout for the perfect piece, I might have splurged on that Kelly. So, if you find yourself in a Don Quijote, make sure to hit that top floor. Rising above all that weirdness are some luxe treasures.