As far as shoes go we decided that since the feet grow faster than the shoes wear out it is better to get cheap shoes at Nishimatsuya than to invest in designer ones.
Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are something worth investing in. In Japan when you talk about cloth diapers the only thing people know are the old, traditional cloths that you fold and pin. They've never seen or heard of the other options. So, here isa simple and quick education.
All in One (AIO) オールインワン布おむつ
These look like "regular" diapers. The outer layer is often waterproof to prevent leaking while the inside is soft, absorbent cloth. They have build in fasteners and don't require special folding so anyone can use them.
Blueberry is a popular but expensive brand but when you think about how much you'll spend in a month on diapers the price really doesn't look that bad!
These have a pocket where you can add extra layers of cloth for absorption
Covers and Liners 布おむつ カバー ライナー
If you are using the traditional fold it yourself cloth diapers a cover can help provide the protection that you'd get with an All in One diaper. Liners can be added to any cloth diaper. Some companies make special liners that will snap into their brand of diapers. Personally, I love the paper liners from kushies. They can save you a lot of trouble with messy diapers!
http://www.nuno-omutsu.jp/ has great information on using cloth diapers.
ComfyBabyStore offers a great selection of cloth diapers. They even offer a starter set including a sampling of 4 different brands of diapers. I'm thinking of ordering a set for the next baby.
The recommendation for a cloth diaper starter is generally to have 24 diapers on hand. Also, have a bucket to put the dirty diapers in. Keep in mind that some companies offer diapers in various sizes while others have a one-size-fits-all approach.
With the Little Guy I did a combination of cloth and disposable diapers. We were on a pretty tight budget so I bought 12 Kushies Diapers (クーシーズ) in Infant size. At home during the day I used the Kushies and when we went out or at night switched to disposable diapers. Since Little Guy was a big baby he fit the infant size almost from the start. He outgrew them around his first birthday. By that point we were using training pants and pull-up disposable diapers for potty training purposes so I never bought the larger size of cloth diapers.
One final advantage of cloth diapers is that they can be reused. Save them for the 2nd child, pass them on a friend or even re-sell them on an auction site. A bargain shopper can find good, used cloth diapers at very reasonable prices.