Convenience stores- in Japan: they really do live up to their name.
Pay your bills, pick up stuff you ordered on Amazon, send a FAX, buy concert tickets, withdraw cash, buy milk; whatever you need to do, they’ve usually got you covered.
Although 7-Eleven is Japan’s undisputed king of combinis, as convenience stores are fondly known over here, blue-and-white-striped Lawson is never far behind, and has a special place in many shoppers’ hearts.
So when news surfaced that a foreigner named Lawson is working part-time at a convenience store of the very same name, people understandably went a little bit nuts.
Those of you who have yet to visit Japan would be forgiven for having never come across a Lawson convenience store.
While the founding company is American and originally sold milk out of a chain of stores in Ohio, it was Japanese company Daiei that first opened a chain of convenience stores under the same name in the 1970s. Since then, Lawson has steadily grown to become a household name, with more than 10,000 stores operating across Japan.
But what about the man of the same name?
Since it’s not the most common of names, and with few Japanese familiar with foreign names outside of movie stars’ own monikers (oh, and weirdly thinking that “John” is more of a dog’s name than a person’s…), many Japanese netizens were surprised to hear that a man could possibly possess the same name as a store and initially questioned its validity. To most Japanese, the chances of finding a Lawson working at Lawson are about on-par with finding a girl called IKEA selling Scandinavian furniture…
But here he is- the man himself, proudly wearing his company name badge with name spelled out in katakana: Lawson!
So, once customers had recovered from the shock of seeing a member of staff with the exact same name as the store in which they work, what were their impressions the new minor internet celebrity? Pretty good, it would seem!
“Lawson looks like such a nice guy!” “This is awesome! LOL” said a couple of the man’s new fans; “I know this guy!!! He works in the Ochanomizu Lawson!” tweeted another excited combini frequenter.
It’s the little things in life that make our day, isn’t it? Just yesterday, in fact, I noticed that one kind reader with the surname McDonald left a comment on a story I wrote about McDonald’s restaurants in Japan. While McDonald is hardly the rarest of names and I shouldn’t be surprised to see it, its appearance after an article about the famous hamburger join still kind of made my day.
We’ll hopefully have more on Lawson, and maybe even Lawson, very soon!