"Don! Don! Don! Don-kee! Don-kee! Don-kee! Hoh-Tay!"

After fifteen minutes, that song will force you to leave no matter how incredible the bargains are inside.

Don Quixote is an infamous chain of giant discount stores in Japan. There are more than 50 shops in Japan, spread over Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Kansai, but most of them are concentrated in the Kanto area around Tokyo, where the company keeps its head offices. They are symbolic of the changing habits of Japanese consumers. Discount shops were traditionally an embarrasing place to be seen, but a new wave of 100-yen shops that sold usable merchandise for unthinkable prices has swept over Japan during the last few years of this recession, and Don Quixote is at the front of the pack. Anything you could possibly want, and probably a lot of things that you want but are too embarrassed to buy, are hidden in the maze called Don Quixote. And they are literally mazes.

The goal behind the layout of a Don Quixote store seems to be to trap anything and everything that enters. The things you want are inevitably in the deepest reaches of the store, and there is no way to get to it without brushing shoulders with a few people, knocking down some items off a display, and losing complete track of where you are and where you have been. The range of products they carry is so diverse though, that you spend all your time giggling to your friends about that adult-sized sailor fuku on sale for 3000 yen, or the brand of cola that you've never ever seen in your entire life, but seems a steal at 70 yen a can. Time passes differently in this part of space. But the Don Quixote song that plays continually, throughout the store will eventually knock sense back into you, and lead you out of the store.

Don Quixote stores can be found by looking for bright lights, the red and yellow "Don Quixote" logo, and their mascot, "Donpen-kun", who is a... that's right, you guessed it: a penguin. Wearing a santa hat, no less. If you've ever heard a Japanese saying they were at "Donkey", this is what they meant.

Either that or they were eating hamburger at Bikkuri Donkey.