Culture Shock 101

“Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”
― Dorothy Day

As an American, I believe we are often brought to the idea that America is an outstanding, remarkable country, with a great capitalistic system, but after living in Japan for a short amount of time I have come to see a lot of the faults in said system. Granted, Japan has its own faults, but when I compare my first visit to the optometrist in Japan, to my last visit to one back in the States – I have to say that it’s sad to see the American equivalent so capital-driven and not people-driven. From what I can observe, Japan seems to have a system that isn’t only capitalistic, but also recognizes the need and desire to keep life affordable and beneficial on a socialistic level (I know there’s a better way to put it, but it’s not coming to mind at the moment).

When I was back in the States, I believe the last time I went to get new glasses was sometime in 2010/2011. I honestly wanted something stylish and different from what most people were wearing so I decided to get a brand new pair of my “retro” glasses (I bought my first pair of thick black-rimmed glasses while I was in the Marine Corps. Vintage: 2008) and I can vividly remember Pat and Robin’s reaction to them when I came back home for a visit and how they mentioned that had I worn those glasses back in the 60s, I would have been a laughing stock. Hahaha. It didn’t bother me, of course, as I’ve always been the type to break away from the pack, but little did I know those glasses were becoming the norm.


At any rate, I wanted the cheapest frames I could snag at the time, so I went to Wal-Mart. Yeah, yeah, spew your hate… But needless to say, I was a college student, and I wasn’t about to go out of my way to pay more than what I needed to for some new spectacles. Of course, they didn’t have the frames I wanted at Wal-Mart so I went to Binyon’s to buy the frames, then had Wal-Mart install the lenses for me. Overall, I believe my glasses cost me ~$175+, which included an eye exam, contact/eyeglass prescription, scratch-proof and anti-reflective lenses. I’m not a bargain shopper, so I’m sure there are people out there that would have been able to find a remarkable deal, but I didn’t want to compromise on the frames or the added benefits of the scratch-proof and anti-reflective lenses, so that was that.

010During my recent visit to JINs at AEON mall in Kashihara, however, I walked around and tried on a plethora of various glasses and interestingly, the most expensive pair was approximately 9,900 ¥ (~$82USD). I didn’t have much trouble finding the glasses I wanted, so I quickly found an employee who helped me out. Rather than undergo an eye exam (despite having multiple eye exams in the past, my prescription hasn’t changed since I was sixteen) they took my glasses and got my prescription from scanning them. They then asked me to return to their store in approximately 30 minutes when my lenses would be ready.

When I got back they fitted me for my glasses, and even custom-fit the temple tips (the part of the eyeglasses that goes over your ear) to my head/face. The man gave me the total price, which included the standard 8% sales tax, and it was just the advertised price + 8%. It was so cheap, I decided to get two pairs of glasses. Not only that, but the eyeglasses I purchased also came with interchangeable temples, so that I can change them from classy, to sporty, to standard. The lenses are also scratch-resistant, UV protected, and have minimal glare/reflection from bright objects. At the end, they even gave me a copy of my eye prescription.

Honestly, this has been the best and easiest experience of purchasing eyeglasses that I’ve ever had. Plus, there was no need for me to show proof of an eyeglass/contact prescription, either! I highly recommend people JINs to anyone that needs glasses in the area. Also, if you do-so before February 2015 – I can even give you a 20% off coupon they gave me that you can use towards your next purchase, as well!

Ah, I’m loving Japan.