Stole this from Elizabeth's witty blog, since I found it interesting to compare the contents purses. Some people carry interesting things in their purses (I read socks?!..), others just carry A LOT of stuff (nothing wrong with being prepared!). Back home in America, I tended to fluctuate in purse size, often changing the amount of stuff I felt I needed to carry. It was often an endless cycle of collecting too much then downsizing. Here in Japan, I've tried to carry a larger purse, but often they are too troublesome, heavy, or bulky for traveling around. I've packed my small bag pretty full though:
A few notes about the things I carry:
Kids in Japan go to school required to carry a packet of tissues and a handkerchief (mine is not pictured... was in the wash). It's very handy, since kids tend to be messy. Also, in the Winter you'll see many people wearing the white "surgical" masks to protect themselves from germs, or protect others from their germs. Masks are a common sight in schools. This is a small, crowded island nation of 127 million people.
Many adults carry tissues and handkerchiefs too, because many public bathrooms do not have towels or ways to dry your hands. Thus, handkerchiefs are not for blowing your nose here.
Adults also tend to carry reusable bags (I spelled it incorrectly in the photo, sorry!) for grocery shopping, since most stores make you pay for plastic bags.
I carry around my bank book also, because I can use it as my ATM card. At ATMs, I can have my account activity printed into my bank book for easy balancing.
I know many children have pencil cases, but in Japan most adults do also. For me, it's better to not have to dig around in my purse for a pen.
One thing I wish I didn't have to carry around is my electronic dictionary. I hope to get a smart phone in the future that can serve as my dictionary. It's very bulky and I only tend to use it while studying Japanese out of a book, but you never know when you might need it while out. Plus it's got a touchscreen that you can write and input the kanji (Chinese characters) directly.
One thing I do have to say is: I have no shame in saying I love all the American beauty products I get from my best friend back home. I can't find Burt's Bees hand care products or delicious smelling Yankee Candle hand sanitizer here.
So that's what's in my purse. How about yours?