Mindful of the threat of a devastating earthquake that experts say could hit the Kanto area within the next thirty years, my husband and I have already taken precautions and put together everything we could possibly need. Last year, I wrote an entire blog about why we should take this threat seriously and all the preparations we’ve made. Presently, we have two emergency ‘go-bags’ plus a portable power supply that we could also grab should there be a need to evacuate.
This sort of preparation is nothing new for Japanese people. The country is notorious for the number of earthquakes that occur in a year – some of which are severely powerful with an added danger of a tsunami sweeping over the coastal areas. But imagine this, your little family is out for a day of shopping when suddenly an earthquake hits… or you are in the office busy with paperwork when the building, all of a sudden, quakes followed by the ringing of tsunami warnings. Those well-equipped bags and impressive portable power carefully stashed away at home will not really do you any good, will it?
Enter MUJI’s Itsumo Moshimo Disaster Preparedness Sets.
THE SELLING POINT
The idea behind this series of products is that disaster preparation should not be a matter of ‘what if’ and ‘just in case’ but something that should be incorporated into your daily life. The contents of each kit have been carefully selected so that:
- they can be used not only as emergency supplies when the unexpected occurs but also as everyday goods
- they are the minimum number of items necessary so duplications and waste can be avoided even if everybody is equipped with one kit.
The Itsumo Moshimo comes in a ‘Portable Kit’, a ‘Go Kit” and a ‘Home Kit’.
Priced at 1,690JPY, the smallest set contains:
- a pouch
- 2 reusable masks
- adhesive plasters
- disinfectant sheets
- a handkerchief
- an emergency contact guide
The pouch can hold all of the contents and even then, it would still be a very thin and small package. So, you can easily slip it into your work bag or your child’s schoolbag, for example – and then use them for your daily needs. Just be sure to replace anything that runs out, of course – you don’t want to be ironically empty-handed in case an emergency does strike. The fact that it comes with disinfectant sheets is also very fitting in this new COVID19-plagued society.
This one will cost you 3,990JPY and carries:
- everything that the ‘Portable Kit’ does plus…
- a small waterproof sidebag
- an emergency blanket (protects agains heavy wind and cold)
- a compact headlight
- a pair of earplugs with case
- a large ‘body sheet’ which is like your wet wipes but large enough to clean your body up in case there is no working shower
Outside of its obviously practical use during an emergency, MUJI put this set together as something that you can carry when you are traveling or when you go camping.
The largest among the three, the Home Kit comes with a 5,490JPY price tag. For that, you get:
- everything that comes in the ‘Go Kit’ plus…
- a portable toilet (can be used for 3 days)
- work gloves
- a long towel
Though it packs a lot, the kit comes in a small box which you can easily stash somewhere it’s easy to get – perhaps in your bookshelf.
(For a more detailed look at my reaction upon unboxing, please check out the video provided above)
I bought the Go Kit. As I’ve said, our family have already prepared our own emergency bags so I felt like getting the Home Kit would be overkill and, quite honestly, a waste of money while getting the Portable Kit would not really give me much of a chance to evaluate the product.
All of the items provided were ‘fine’. I think they are of good quality characteristic of MUJI. That said, I don’t think there was anything particularly special about each item. Here are some things that are worth noting.
Packaging: The box it comes in has a flimsy material and ti does not come with a pull-out box that contains everything. The contents are just arranged inside so you have to be very careful when you transport it or open the package.
Waterproof side bag: It is a black bag with lining to prevent contents from getting wet. I like that although it comes with an adjustable strap to be used as a side bag, it is also provided with a strap which you can use to hold it on your wrist.
Portable headlight: This is probably my favorite content of the kit. It is readily provided with two batteries and is very light. It is easy to use with the switch just above the light itself. the strap provided will let you wear it on your forehead, as a necklace or even as a bracelet. What’s more, it also comes with a ‘clip’ which would allow you to clip it onto your shirt, bag etc.
Emergency contact card: This is a piece of folded paper that should be filled in by the buyer to contain information like: your emergency contact person, nearest evacuation area and others. I think it is very useful and should be something duplicated by everyone.
IS IT WORTH IT?
I’m a Muji fan. I love the company and what they stand for. But even then, it’s not hard to see how a buyer of this product would feel a sense of being ‘duped’ by the ludicrous pricing. The idea is definitely great and is now something that I plan to follow in my daily life here in Japan – be prepared for a disaster to hit at any time and arm yourself with useful emergency materials that you can also utilize in your daily life. But all of these items – I’m pretty sure I could buy them at a nearby 100 Yen shop or drugstore for a MUCH cheaper price. I did read somewhere that they came up with these sets of items per kit after carefully studying what each person needs, in minimum, to sustain themselves while avoiding waste and duplication. So maybe a big factor of the price tag was spent on ‘studying’? Even then, I really find it hard to believe that the charge is justified. Now that I know what their researchers think I should prepare, I could just very easily head over to Daiso and duplicate it, in fact, maybe I will. Sorry MUJI.