As the virus continues to spread globally, more people are advised to self-isolate – and for good reason. Before self-isolating, we recommend making a trip to your local supermarket and getting your hands on a few items that could be useful to have during your quarantine at home.
Nowadays, going to the store can be very overwhelming and perhaps even frightening. However, knowing what to buy before going out can decrease the amount of time and overall stress that one may have when going out to collect supplies.
Below are 10 items (with Japanese translations) that may be useful to consider purchasing when going on your next shopping trip.
1. Hand Sanitizer – 手指消毒剤
Though washing your hands should be your number one priority, using hand sanitizers that have a 60% alcohol percentage or higher can help decrease the probability of carrying or spreading the virus. Though most stores in Japan usually sell hand sanitizers in larger amounts, it is always handy to keep some portable hand sanitizer with you for when you leave the house. The two most common hand sanitizer brands are 手ピカジェル and アルボナース手指消毒
2. Disinfectant Wipes – 除菌できるアルコールタオル
Similarly to hand sanitizers, it has become relatively difficult to spot disinfectant wipes in stores due to the overall increase in demand for them. However, once found, they can be of great use when wiping down surfaces that are regularly being touched.
3. Bleach/ All Purpose Cleaner – 漂白剤 /マイペット
When shopping, it is almost instinctual to head directly to the aisle with the alcohol wipes. Though this makes sense, it has caused those materials to go out of stock very quickly. Next time you go to a store, head to the aisle with the bleach and all-purpose cleaners, as these items act as great disinfectant alternatives when used correctly.
4. Rubber Gloves – ゴム手袋
Rubber gloves can be useful for those who are regularly in close contact with people by decreasing the amount of skin to skin contact. Though it does not completely diminish the potential of transferring the virus, it can be used to help lower the risk. That being said, it is important to avoid touching your face even when wearing gloves.
5. Foods With a Long Shelf Life – 保存食
Though it is not necessary to stock an entire pantry full of foods with a longer shelf life, it is recommended to have a few cans or packs of curries on hand. These items can come in handy when there aren’t any fresh foods left in the fridge or freezer.
6. Water Filter – 水フィルター
While many people are taking home large bulks of single-use plastic water bottles, it is not the most affordable or effective way to go about getting drinkable water. In the long run, investing in a water filter is much more effective since it utilizes easily accessible tap water and can be used more than once.
7. Toys/ Games – おもちゃ・かるた
Though most of us probably would have been delighted to work from home a few months ago, the reality of being stuck indoors all day every day has probably driven us a little crazy. There are a few ways we can combat the boredom or stress most of us may be experiencing, and that is to either pick up a new hobby, read a book, or even play some games.
One game I particularly recommend is one called Karuta (かるた). Karuta is a Japanese game that requires one person to recite a phrase written on a card, while the other players try to grab the card the matches the reader’s card first. Though the game is in Japanese, it has a very simple concept that can be easily learned and is a great way to improve your Japanese reading, hearing, and speaking skills! It is also a very engaging game that can be played with two or more people which makes it the perfect group home activity!
8. Medicine/ Vitamins – 薬用品/ ビタミン
It may be clever to have a few over-the-counter medicines such as cough drops, cold medicines, sore throat relief, just in case you might need it. Vitamins can also be of great use since they help boost the immune system altogether, increasing the likelihood of fighting off illnesses.
9. Paper towels/ Toilet Paper/ Tissue Paper – ペーパータオル / トイレットペーパー / ティッシュ
Recently, paper towels, toilet paper, and tissue paper have become harder to find due to people panicking and buying them in bulk. That being said, there is no need to have more than two weeks worth of supplies. Toilet paper, for example, usually lasts a few weeks depending on how many members are in your household, and overbuying the supplies is unnecessary and can potentially deprive those who may not have any.
10. Face Masks – マスク
Though some people are willing to go through extreme measures to get their hands on a pack of face masks, it is recommended not to bulk buy them. Face masks are most effective when used by people who are already sick to help prevent spreading the virus. However, if you happen to spot some left at the store and don’t have any, it wouldn’t hurt to purchase a few just in case.
Patricia is a Chinese American freelance writer who grew up in central Tokyo. She works part-time as an English teacher and the remainder of her time taking classes, journaling, and looking for cool new cafes and restaurants around the city. If there is one thing she cannot resist, it's authentic Chinese food.