Tour of a Japanese convenience store


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/15/tour-of-a-japanese-convenience.html


#2

I’d rather have one of those than a Borgdegas machine.


#3

I pretty much survived on cheap sushi and onigiri from Lawsons and 7-Eleven when I visited Tokyo. It’s good to see that things are still super cheap there; a can of coffee is about 100 ¥ (less than a dollar) and a rice ball is probably about the same.


#4

There’s a small chain called Royal Blue Grocery here in Austin (and apparently one in Dallas) that’s pretty much doing this. A little more expensive but, hey! Convenient place with a good selection of craft beers, cider, soups and sandwichs. I didn’t realize that this was just a local chain until I just now looked it up.


#5

Maybe that particular one is better but all the ones I visited over there were tiny and cramped. They did sell whiskey which is nice.


#6

FTFY. Lots of my Japanese acquaintances who have visited the US are impressed with the gas stations there for the low price of gas and the mini-marts which seem to be ubiquitous to gas stations. Bit of grass is always greener here.

Usually beverages are more expensive in a convenience store than in vending machines or supermarkets. For example a 420ml bottle of Orangina is ¥151 at the convenience store but ¥79 at my supermarket. A can of Boss Coffee is ¥130 at the convenience store but ¥110 at the vending machine not too far away. Same is true for many other snack/small food products except for items like onigiri where the price is generally the same for whatever reason.

Not only do they sell whiskey but they sell good whiskey and often a wide variety of other alcohol as well.


#7

True! But the coffee in the video above was ¥100, on sale from ¥110, according to the shelf pricing. For a country that gets stereotyped as being so expensive, it’s fascinating to me that beverage prices are less than even the most inexpensive drinks in the States.


#8

How much is a cup of coffee at 7-11/deli/gas station in the US these days?


#9

If I was getting a cup of drip coffee at 7-11, it’d probably be $1 to $1.50, but it’s terrible coffee. A can of coffee the size of the ones from Japan (i.e., Starbucks Doubleshot) would be about $2.


#10

Canned coffee here ranges from burned crap to not bad. I think its more exoticized by tourists and weebs than actually evaluated.


#11

Generally $1 or $1.99 will get you a decent cup of coffee with fixin’s.

Some convenience stores, delis and gas stations shops use coffee as a loss leader, to drive sandwich or cigarette sales, so you can often find coffee far better than the $8 Seattle style hot mess for $1 in my area.


#12

Makes sense. Guess it was the same in NYC back in the day. IIRC at the deli across the street from my last place coffee was 75¢ and a doughnut was $1, bagel with cream cheese $1.50. Of course at a doughnut shop they were 50¢ each but hey, you are already at the deli so why not get a doughnut too?


#13

One aspect of many of them gives me a little pause, oden bars.

Although all of the stuff depicted in the photo is yummy. I worry about it being kept out at all hours or if its at a sanitary temperature.


#14

The best stuff is the black coffee, no sugar or milk. Pretty smooth taste for a canned beverage. Bottled unsweetened tea is also pretty good over there.


#15

Yah I can’t see anything but a health risk there. Fortunately keeping kosher keeps me away from that bacterial lab.

Depends on the brand. Boss black is good but not all versions of Boss black are good. Dydo or some of the others just taste burnt no matter what.


#16

Interestingly enough virtually all oden is kosher. Especially the stuff in the photo. The fishcakes are made with typical fin/scales types. The rest depicted in the photo are vegetables, seaweed or tofu related. Its one of those things I do not trust outside, but will have at home.

Boss Black is my fave of the bunch. There are two Japanese grocery stores within walking distance of my office. It is my go-to 3:00PM beverage when I don’t feel like going to Dunkin’.

There are literally four Starbucks around my office, but I am far too cheap to be spending more than $2.50 for a cup of bitter burned coffee


#17

Maybe considered kosher for flexidox types but considering that the cooking vessel has not been kashered and the issue of a non-Jew starting the cooking. I wish things were simpler but they arent. Even if I wasn’t disgusted by the sight and taste of oden (theres a projectile vomiting story involved there) I would not eat combini oden.

At my last employer we had one Starbucks in the complex but 3 different combinis within a few minutes walk, two of which now have fresh coffee machines. Just as often though I’d simply go for whatever black was in the vending machine on our floor.


#18

Fair enough. :slight_smile:

Japan is a tough place for people with any kind of dietary restrictions. I went there with my folks a few years back. My father is a type 2 diabetic. Finding diet soft drinks were next to impossible for him outside of drug stores. He went with unsweetened tea and coffee most of the time.


#19

Forces you to learn to cook better!

Years back I worked with this Indian muslim kid who could not read even the most basic of Japanese. I made him a cheat sheet of all the various ways to recognize if packaged food had any pork in it and even some phrase cards to show restaurant staff. Poor kid still kept bringing me things to check for him…


#20