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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Famima Experience...

So, I'm a Japanophile. I am a fan of just about all things Japanese. So upon a recent walk down Westwood Boulevard, south of Wilshire, I saw that an old "mom and pop" style pharmacy had finally been replaced after quite a while of being closed. I'm always sad to see a business close--especially so when it is a "mom and pop" style place. The catch is, the pharmacy was replaced by a corner store chain--from Japan.

It's a place called Famima--you can check out there American website at or their Japanese site at, if you happen to know how to read Japanese :)

I had been meaning to swing by to check it out but I haven't had the time or money to do so until just this past weekend. It was completely spur of the moment, too--myself, -TheWife- and -Jen- were out for a joy ride with -TimToon- in his new car--with the side interest of finding some food, we sped down Westwood Blvd and spotted Famima's bright green facade and decided then was a good time to check it out.

Here's what it looked like as we approached it:

Positively euro-trashy, huh? But in a good way, of course. Inside the place felt like a Pret-a-Mange on steroids, though because we were there so late in the day stocks did seem kind of low. Here's what it looked like from the window:


As we entered we were greeted by quite a few Japanese products--in fact, most of the products were from Japan. Sushi, onigiri, various beverages including some truly disgusting coffee:


Cute can, weak-ass coffee. Blech--with a name like "Black Coffee" on the can, you'd think it wouldn't taste like pee. All right, so it doesn't fully taste like urine--just the weakest damn coffee you've ever had--like water with a vague aftertaste of coffee.

I was disappointed with their selection of [|onigiri]--or as they're called in English, rice balls. No, rice don't have testicles--these are like meatballs, only they're made of rice but then, you probably knew that. :D

Anyway, so all they had left was onigiri with tuna and mayo--sounded kind of gross, but I LOVE onigiri they were priced at $1.20 per, so I figured I could afford the mistake if they were bad. Luckily, the one I tried was downright yummy--but I'd still like to go back when they have more salmon rice balls. LOVE the salmon...

The thing that struck me the most about this place was that it seemed to be like a classed-up 7-11. It had just as wide a selection of items, too--not just food, but stationary, DVDs, toys and more (hot, steamy buns!). The two things that made it classier than a 7-11 were design and quality. Like I said, the place looked like Pret-a-Mange--a chain of British health-fast-food shops. Very "euro". The food was very good, too. And the toy I bought was extremely high-quality for the price. I bought a tiny replica of Osaka Castle, also known as [|Himeji-jo]. Here's a pic:


Pretty amazing detail for just $2.77, wouldn't you say?

In the end, my first Famima experience was a positive one and I look forward to more. The place is about a thirty minute walk from my apartment and about ten minutes on my scooter, so I'm definitely going to check it out again soon. I'll be sure and blog again when I do.


  1. I put the little dinosaur I bought there on my desk at work. When you go again, I want to go too so I can buy more dinosaurs. =)

  2. You should take a pic and Flickr it, then post it here! :D

    But next time you're over for a bad movie night we should make a Famima run first :)

  3. Excellent suggestion! That would be a lot more fun than pizza. =)

  4. WAKARU!! <--Japanese for UNDERSTOOD!!