Ichiban Living Markham
Ichiban Living is a small, semi-hidden store located in the basement of Pacific Mall that sells everyday household objects from Japan. The best part? Everything in the store costs $2 (taxes excluded).
Though it's spread out over two floors, the low ceilings on the lower floor make the store feel slightly cramped, but that just adds to the sense that it stocks everything under the sun.
But of course, the major highlight is that each item sold here only costs TWO BUCKS. That's quite something when you consider that the store is absolutely full of cute and practical houseware solutions that you didn't know you needed. Oh Japan, you've done it again.
The first floor stocks kitchen utensils, cosmetics, and snacks. I am immediately taken in by the multitude of cute bowls and chopsticks (even chopstick rests!) available. And hey, this is stuff that you can actually use.
There is also a small, but nice selection of mugs and cups here. If you're looking for something colourful, cheap, and whimsical but are tired of IKEA designs, you could do worse than heading here.
And what's this? A selection of cutely designed letterheads and stationary? This ode to the quickly-vanishing art of letter-writing resonates with my inner writer, so obviously I had to grab a few.
Perhaps one of the more unusual but fabulous finds is a foldable coffee filter that transforms any mug into an instant coffee brewing machine.
The lower level is basically for everything else. For example, a large selection of storage solutions are available here. From big to small, foldable to collapsible, and practical to nonsensical (there's an amusingly phallic-looking banana holder, for example), Ichiban Living's really got it all.
The only real disappointing part is the toy section, which looks a bit forlorn and half-hearted (though I did spot a disturbingly realistic-looking plastic grenade). This is more than made up, however, by the large collection of practical yet cute office supplies available, ranging from file organizers to business card holders.
If you're looking to add some Japanese flair to your household objects, make sure to put this place on your list. Did I mention that everything is just $2?