Fact: the batteries I got for my camera lasted a grand total of two minutes. Definitely from a dollar store.

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Poor thing. I was in a bit of a quandry. The original problem was that my recharger wouldn’t work with Japanese voltage (which is less than U.S. voltage). If I was in America, I knew exactly where I could go. But Japanese stores aren’t like American stores. Where could I go?

I asked around, and someone pointed me in the direction of an electronics store.

I walked about a mile and a half to find this absolutely enormous store. Its name was Midori – the Japanese word for green. I went in, and on the first floor there was basically nothing – a few counters, but that was it. I was getting worried that I was in the wrong place. I went up the escalators and found the actual store. Now, this store was big. It made Best Buy look wimpy. Anything electronic you can think of, they had it. Blenders, toasters, vaccuums, TVs, PSPs, cables, everything. It took me a while to locate the batteries, because my Japanese is really crappy, so I couldn’t ask the helpful people in green. A guy is yelling over the speakers in Japanese, and it was really hard to concentrate.

I took a look over the batteries, and did some thinking. I’m going to be in Japan for 9 months, and buying non-rechargeable batteries to last 9 months was going to rack up quite a cost. So I started looking at rechargers. They were pretty expensive, but for reusable batteries, a one-time cost didn’t seem so bad. Plus I could charge the batteries I already have, and I made sure to pick one out that has worldwide voltage capability, so I can use it at home. Yay! See, it’s below.

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Now, you have to understand. Very, very few Japanese stores have return policies. Once you buy it, you’re stuck with it, even if it’s a piece of clothing that doesn’t fit. Since this was a  significant (about $40) purchase, I had to, with limited Japanese, make sure I was getting the right product. Most of the packaging has kanji on it, which I don’t understand, so it looks something like this – ENELOOP blah blah blah 3 blah blah blah 1000 blah blah blah Worldwide Voltage! Well, I had to learn quick. I needed to make sure I was getting AA batteries and not AAA ones.

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So this is what I looked at. The big circle on the right circles the note about worldwide availability. The bit with the 4 in it, that means that there are four batteries included with the package. From examining all the different packages, I learned that the kanji has something to do with the sizes of batteries. I later found out that it means shape, form, or style. The Japanese use numbers plus this symbol to denote the sizes of batteries, i.e. 1 plus the character is a D-size battery, 2—is a C battery, 3—is a AA, and 4—is a AAA. I did it!

Here’s what the charger looks like:

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The other two batteries are in my camera.

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