When I am away from Japan, I always forget just how much everything is beautifully and carefully designed and packaged. I am back in Japan visiting family and friends, and am taking advantage of my time here to fully enjoy the simple beauty of everyday design. I am off to Kyoto in a few days for a little mini-vacation (and lots of shopping and "studying" things), but in the meantime, I'm accompanying my mom on various errands. We stopped by a department store for a few things yesterday, and spent almost an hour checking out the food area. The "depachika" (short for department chika, or basement) is one of the best kept secrets of Japan; the basement floors of all departments are usually filled with fancy food stalls. Everything you can imagine, from the smelliest pickles to the most exquisite cakes and cookies, share space amidst jostling crowds of customers.
I snuck this photo of a "karinto" (a kind of savory sweet cracker) stand. Each package is a different type of flavored karinto. I wanted to buy them all, just for the packaging.