It was the summer of 2002, I had traveled to Sasebo, Japan, with my Japanese mother. It was my first trip there since 1990 so it had been 12 long years since I have been “home”. Japan’s economy was struggling during this time, deflation was a problem. I remember the Japanese Yen was trading roughly at 100 Yen for $1 US dollar. That was a big shocker since I remembered as a kid that we once could get 360 Yen for $1 US doller.
Japan was expensive. Thank God there were these things called the 100 (Hyaku) Yen stores. Everything was literally $1 US and under. Yes, most of the products were made in China but still, I was able to find some good Japanese products to bring back as gifts to the US.