Yesterday, while passing through the underground shopping area of Shinjuku station, I stumbled upon a Shiseido reseller that had testers!
Drugstores and cosmetic chains like Tashiro also carry Shiseido products, but the perfume only seems to be carried by Shiseido boutiques and licensed resellers. Actually, I am totally pulling this out of thin air, as I have only circumstantial evidence. I've only been in one Shiseido boutique (which did have testers, but is way out in Ginza and I never go to Ginza), and one or two licensed resellers. The reseller I can visit every day at lunch has bottles out on display but the lady guarding them will only let me smell the cap, so finding another place with testers was a delight.
I asked if I could test the White Rose(finally!!), and the saleslady was nice enough to break open the little sample vial (apparently they had sample vials at one point. I want one!) and put it on my right wrist. She also advised me that the fragrance would change over time, so I should sniff again in 10 minutes or so. Before that, I surreptitiously sprayed Myth of Saso on my left wrist. I dithered about buying some powder (there are 2 different packages for the same powder, what's the difference? Some are marked on sale, but the color I want is not, why not?), but the store was closing so I left resolving to come back and buy something, and perhaps try out La Scenteur (like White Rose, about $172.17 for a bottle at the current exchange rate), also recommended by the saleslady.
So, my impression of Myth of Saso is a warm, rich fragrance. Kind of familiar and a little musky perhaps, but enough sweetness to leave me with an impression of comfort. I thought it might be nice to smell on my mother.
White Rose: again those first couple whiffs of acetone (thanks Katiedid)! After that goes away, a pretty rose scent. After a while, it gets a little more powdery to my nose, but not too much. It stays a nice soft rose. Maybe a little soapy. It seemed very nice but not something that appeals to me personally. Perhaps I don't like rose very much.
Anyway, I hold out hope that I can find Kanebo Nihohi Sakura testers somewhere.
updated 2006-03-23: after looking around at various pages including this one I noticed that the bottle I tried was the Myth of Saso bottle, not the Saso bottle. I don't think any Saso testers were out, although the perfume bottle case was unboxed (but in a plastic sleeve).
On a different note, while staring at the bottles behind the glass at Tashiro (a cosmetics chain), I noticed a large array of Jeanne Arthes fragrances. If the picture of a celebrity next to a bottle is an indication that the celebrity wears this fragrance, then these fragrances are pretty trendy. I wonder how much business Jeanne Arthes does in Japan. 3 popular young entertainers (popular now, but do they have talent?) and one very popular actress was pictured. Naturally, they didn't have Cassandra Blanc, although they had just about everything else.
On my way home, I noticed that a different Tashiro in Shinjuku station actually has testers available now! So I can go back and try the trendy perfumes on after work. I love easily accessible testers.