I love how a lot of the small shops near my dorm (Nishikawaguchi) and in Warabi are family run. Like really, really small stores. On my walk home from the train station, I pass a variety of small restaurants. Most of them can probably hold no more than 20 people tops. And there are little hole-in-the-wall places that dry clean clothes and sell fruit, crafts, and other essentials. One street front location is sectioned off from a family's house. Their tatami room is right behind the candies and other items.
We we were walking to the government building in Warabi and it was pretty much the same as Nishikawaguchi. A lot of small stores selling women's clothing. Oh and a butsudan (Buddhist alter) store. It was really incredible. I believe they are all made in back of the store. Little table ones started at $350. Full sized ones were in the thousands. They were so nice though.
We went into a bakery where an older woman was working. She and her husband bake in the back. She was really cute and spoke to us in Japanese. They had little rolls shaped like Pikachu heads and decorated yellow with red cheeks. I wish I had my camera.
Its things like this that you miss when you are in the city. I really like the country in Japan. Although I am really a city girl, I think here it actually feels like you're in Japan when you go out from Tokyo. Small shops, friendly people. It kind of reminds me a little of my home town. I like it better here though.