There’s definitely been a change in the retail environment here in Saijo since my last visit two winters ago. Just like in the U.S., the big stores are moving in and pushing out the Main Street shops. So far I’ve counted at least three new supermarkets and four or five new giant drugstores, most of which are part of a chain called “Mac” (coincidence?). That basically increases the city’s allocation of each by more than double.
A couple nights ago we went to the “evening shopping night”, where the shops in the downtown shopping arcade stay open late and some people set up stands offering food and games on the sidewalk. Nana had remembered it as a crowded, festive affair from her junior high school days, but when we got there the place was pretty empty and half the shops were closed. I guess that when there are a multitude of giant, well-lit, discount drugstores open until midnight a few blocks away in any given direction, people lose their motivation to get out at night and mingle.
On the way back we passed through Saijo’s red light district, which I hadn’t even known existed. Those places seemed to be doing pretty well even for a weekday. I’m going to have to do some investigation to find out whether any of these bars offer wi-fi.