The best 5 things we bought in 2023


The year 2023 is nearly over, and I’ve had many discussions with Ray!

We are a minimalist family, and we rarely purchase products. However, here is our shopping list from this year that we are very pleased with! This blog might be suitable for expats living in Japan. You may face similar challenges as us, but hopefully, this can also help enhance your quality of life in Japan!

Starting next spring, I will be working again in Nagoya, so our proud little boy will be attending kindergarten. This means we’ll have less time to spend with him. Thus, our primary goal with our shopping was to ‘SAVE OUR TIME’ to ensure quality moments with him.

All the products mentioned are my honest reviews and come highly recommended by us. They can help you lead a stress-free life and save your precious time!

IRIS OHYAMA : Washing Machine with Dryer Function

This is a multifunctional washing & drying machine. Honestly, this perfect washing & drying machine has saved us so much time! I genuinely can’t imagine life without it now. I often wonder why we didn’t buy one years ago.

Previously, we would wash clothes and dry them outside in the morning. Drying clothes outside was the least favorite part of laundry, taking about 15 minutes daily. We’d have to wait for it to finish, which meant we couldn’t leave for shopping during that time, especially if there was poor weather. Now, we simply press a button to initiate the wash & dry cycle, whether it’s day or night, and let it run for 6 hours.

While we still wash our work outfits separately once or twice a week without the drying function, it has saved us a significant amount of time, and we’re completely satisfied with it. If you’re concerned about electricity costs, note that we only use the drying function twice a week.

If you decide to purchase one, ensure it fits in your apartment or house. In our rented flat, space was a concern, and most machines wouldn’t fit in our laundry area, except for this Iris Oyama brand.

The Iris Oyama brand offers straightforward functionality at a very reasonable price compared to other Japanese electrical brands. We also use many Iris Oyama kitchen items and highly recommend them!

SHARP: Multi functional Humidifier & Dehumidifier

Japan is very humid in summer, but also very dry in winter. I also have to mention that we have hay fever in autumn and spring! This multifunctional item is not only an air purifier but also has dehumidifying and humidifying functions, making it the perfect item for enhancing the quality of life in Japan.

Seriously, using a dehumidifier makes a significant difference in enhancing your sleep quality. I used to wake up in the middle of the night several times because of the humidity. Since we set up the dehumidifier in summer, our 1-year-old boy seems to sleep pleasantly every day without crying at night.

It’s good to use a humidifier for my dry skin issue in winter. Especially since Ray has hay fever, we can’t live without this amazing multifunctional air purifier/dehumidifier/humidifier.

The only minor detail is that while the machine has a sleeping mode to block the functional lights, it doesn’t work when only using the dehumidifier function. So, we put a light-blocking sticker on it to completely block the light while we sleep!

Adjustable Over Sink Dish Drainer Rack

I guess ‘limited space’ issues are very common for people who rent flats in Japan! Since we do not own a house, it has been one of my biggest stressors while cooking. However, since we bought this item, our cooking time has become more enjoyable!

The one I bought from Amazon is adjustable, allowing you to resize it for your kitchen sink, and it’s flexible enough to arrange the little baskets as needed!

HAIER: 3 Door Refrigerator

Normally, family-sized fridges from Japanese brands are expensive, but the type we purchased was under 100,000 yen. While Japanese appliances often come with a higher price tag for additional features, if you’re someone who prefers simplicity like us, I would highly recommend buying a HAIER fridge from a Chinese brand.

This fridge is slim, making it easy to fit into our small kitchen space. Since acquiring it, we can store numerous ingredients, allowing us to visit the grocery store only once a week, saving us a lot of time! The middle section slides out for vegetable storage, ensuring our veggies stay fresh.

IWAKI: Heat Resistant Glass Container

We used to use a plastic container, but I disliked how it easily retained odors and got scratched easily. The great thing about the Iwaki container, as shown in the picture above, is its compact size, making it easy to organize in the fridge. Additionally, you can microwave food directly in it and use it as a dish, which has helped me reduce the number of dishes to wash! Plus, if you remove the lid, it’s oven-safe too!

Japanese Blogger
A Japanese working mom based in Nagoya, Aichi. Studied International Tourism Management and worked in a 5 stars luxury hotel in Bangkok for total 8-ish years. Sharing our culture, lifestyle, local tips, and experiences in traveling, especially in Nagoya and Aichi 🇯🇵