Today I bought some tampons and sanitary pads from a Japanese supermarket.
I certainly didn’t expect to be writing a blog post about this, but the whole process was amusing enough that I felt it would be worth sharing with the world.
When you’re a female living abroad, of course there comes a time when you’re going have to buy sanitary products. This could be a little bit of a task if you have literally no idea what anything on the packaging says.
Looking up and down at the rows of unfamiliar products with unfamiliar writing, I realised that I was in this situation.
All I had to go on was the friendly-looking packaging.
But really, that’s not where the interesting part of the story lies.
You see, with periods being a natural part of a woman’s daily life, across the globe, I never really anticipated how small things, like the process of buying sanitary products, could be different.
Much to the horror of the gentle, sweet-natured Japanese cashiers I plonked down my items without a care, not even covered slightly by a basket.
So of course, they hurriedly started to scan them and bag them up, before the person in front of me had even finished paying.
The bag, not one of the usual ones that you have to pay for, was a dark grey colour and it was completely opaque. You know, for discretion. This served not to display what I had purchased, but on reflection I wonder whether anyone has realised that in using the same unusual bag for every woman purchasing tampons or pads they are making it extremely obvious what women are purchasing.
Perhaps to the average Japanese person this practice makes complete sense and is just another daily (or monthly?) occurrence.
For me, however, I found the whole ordeal highly amusing, seeing as buying tampons in England would be much the same as buying potatoes.