Monday, September 28, 2009

Answer me this of the day

I've decided to launch a new feature where hopefully one of my readers (who, by all accounts, are highly intelligent and quite informed) will be able to answer something I don't know and can't seem to figure out. I have two such questions today:

1. When did the convenience store chain Spar disappear from South Korea?

I remember a few shops here and there in Yongsan-gu, including one not far from Yongsan Ward Office.

2. Is Daiso (Korea's ubiquitous version of a 99¢ store or 100-yen shop) indigenous to South Korea or did it come from Japan (or somewhere else)?

I always thought it was from South Korea, with its name derived from 다 있어 ("everything's here"), but in Hiroshima this past July, I happened to see one. But just one.

It wouldn't be unheard of for a South Korean chain to end up with a few locations in Japan or elsewhere (Red Mango, anyone?), but it's possible that Daiso is like Family Mart, a Japanese chain so common in South Korea that people assume it's Korean.

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6 comments:

  1. I have some Japanese classmates who say Daiso is a) from Japan and b) a Japanese word. When it came over I don't know.

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  2. I lived in japan for two years, I'm pretty sure Daiso is a Japanese company. In japan its pernounced "DAI-SO", Like "Dye-so". Like dae in korean, dai means big in japanese. Not sure what that the "so" means. If you look at a lot of the stuff in daisos in korea, the korean sticker has just been placed over the original japanese sticker.
    I love Korea, but I really miss the Daiso's in Japan. They were much bigger.

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  3. Yeah, I have to second that. I would believe that Daiso is Japanese from the name.

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  4. Ah, it would seem it is originally from Japan. It seems the successful hyakkin started expanding overseas in the summer of 2001 with full-scale ventures into Taiwan and South Korea.

    It's just odd, though, that it seems easier to find them in South Korean than in Japan. And since the name "Daiso" really could work out to be 다 있어, it made sense that it was originally Korean. Clever, though, how the name can be reverse-meaningified like that in Korean. :)

    Now tell me about Spar!

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  5. I hate them (Koreans) b/c they got no brain & copy stuffs from other countries as if they were saying "sue me sue me"

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  6. dokebi wrote:
    I hate them (Koreans) b/c they got no brain & copy stuffs from other countries as if they were saying "sue me sue me"

    Huh? What dark place did that come from?

    If Daiso is Japanese, Daiso Korea almost certainly is paying royalties or making some other business arrangement for the benefits of being a part of the main company.

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