A look at Japan's 54,000 convenience stores


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/04/a-look-at-japans-54000-conv.html


When I visited Japan, many of my meals were from konbini. At that time, an onigiri was about 150-200 yen at most; often they’d be 100 yen after 2pm.

The grocery store near me now sells locally-made onigiri balls that are about half the size of the ones in Japan for $5 each. I miss konbini.


That was a good bit of information. If you have ever tried to get cash from a Japanese ATM with a US debit card, you will learn the meaning of frustration. Unlike the US, Japanese restaurants are kind of hit and miss regarding whether they accept credit cards.


That first picture is interesting, because the Lawson chain of convenience stores went out of business in the Midwest decades ago, but they are apparently alive and well in Japan?


Are there Olive Gardens in Japan?


No Olive Gardens there (and God willing, there never will be!)

The 100-yen (85¢) fresh-brewed coffee is a godsend. The first store in the US that installs these sweet, sweet machines will make a killing!


As a West Coaster, I had no idea these were an American chain, I’ve only ever seen them in Japan and they are everywhere.


No, but there are Denny’s! My host when I was in Japan told me that they are basically “American theme restaurants” – places where you eat American-style with knife and fork and eat pizza, spaghetti, steak, and American breakfast food, and are where you go with kids for a fun meal.


I recognize everything. I recognize nothing. Wonderful!


Lawson’s Dairy had a plant in Akron, OH. The stores started as milk product outlets, then rapidly expanded into convenience stores. They were mostly an Ohio/ Michigan thing, but the two where I grew up disappeared shortly after I left for college; one is now a realtor’s office, the other was a 7-11 for a while, and I think is now a lawnmower sales venue.


Awesome, now I know the actual name of what I termed “weird rice triangles” that I kept snacking on in Shinjuku:


Yet another of many examples of things that the Japanese do better than we do in the West. My God, I miss their 7-11’s. I recently did a 10-day vacation in Japan, hitting Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Tokyo, spending only around $1600 (including airfare!) because of places like this.


Yep, and China too. Last time I was in Shanghai, Lawson was everywhere.


I would like to visit these places, but then I wonder if people will realize I’m American and blame me for 45 and the shitstorm we have.

How do you say “I didn’t vote for the orange one!” in Japanese?


Met them when I first moved to Hawaii; I remember defining them as ‘the Japanese answer to a tunafish sandwich’.


I was staying in a hostel in Kyoto around the time of the Republican primaries. In one of our late-night common room conversations with a group of people from around the world I said, “a lot of us WANT Trump to get the nomination, because it will be easier for Clinton to beat him than to beat Cruz.” I’m horrified at the thought that they might remember me for this.


You could do what I did when I went to the UK during Bush: put a Canadian flag patch on my backpack and told people I was from Ontario (or Nova Scotia when in Scotland, which will get you a lot of free drinks in pubs).


Now that I can do! Would Toronto or Vancouver work as well?


Easily! In my experience, folks outside of N. America don’t see any difference between a generic American accent and a Canadian accent. And Canadians are “the nice guys” to pretty much the whole world. Pretending I was from Nova Scotia also prevented me from getting curb stomped in a pub in Edinburgh once; a drunk football yob saw my Canadian flag patch and said “Oi! I thought you was a dirty English. I was gonna kick yer arse with me mates. But I’m gonna buy you a pint for bein’ a Noova Scootcha.”


Honestly, I’d give that distinction to the ubiquitous egg salad sandwich sold right alongside all those onigiri.