While joshi kosei (high school girls) may say a lot of silly things, they hardly have a monopoly on absurdity. And though everyone is bound to say something crazy eventually, hanging out in convenience stores, or “conbini” in Japanese, drastically increases the likelihood that you’ll come across something hilarious.
But who has time to loiter in convenience stores day in and day out? Certainly not us! Fortunately, Twitter exists, so we don’t have to spend all afternoon in FamilyMart waiting for someone to say something silly. Here are some of the best Japanese convenience store conversations found on Twitter, translated for your amusement. See how much we love you?
For students, the convenience store isn’t just a place to buy a drink on the way home, it’s often practically a second home! With no cover charge and no one to tell them to do their homework, we can understand why so many hangout there after school.
・Sometimes high school kids don’t really understand the full value of money! For example, the minimum wage in Tokyo is 850 yen, but we’re not sure if these fellows know what a “minimum wage” is…
In Niigata. The two high school boys next to me are chatting.
“Did you know that convenience store jobs in Tokyo pay like 860 yen [US$8.80] an hour?”
“What?? That’s so much!!”
“But, like, they’re sooo busy! Because of all the people.” How charming!
There’s a lot of people in Tokyo…but they don’t all go to the same convenience store, guys!
・In Japan, it seems that “my dad can beat up your dad” has been replaced with something much cuter…
At the convenience store, two high school boys are talking.
“My dad’s super good at it, so he can fold 1,000 origami cranes in an hour.”
“That’s like 1 crane every 3.6 seconds, so that’s impossible.”
I couldn’t help laughing.
・While they might not like to admit it, high school boys can be pretty cute themselves.
A conversation between two high school boys.
“Ah! This is double stickers! I’m getting it!”
“Are you collecting Rilakkuma stuff?”
“Rilakkuma is so cute!”
“Well, then, you can have my stickers, too.”
“Really?? Thank you! Rilakkuma is sooo cute!”
You guys are the ones that are sooo cute! ^q^
In case you’re not familiar with the adorable characters that fill Japanese convenience stores, Rilakkuma is the adorable bear below. People can get special Rilakkuma merchandise by trading stickers found on food products.
・Of course everyone is at their cutest when they’re in love!
At the convenience store, a high school boy next to me suddenly dry heaved loudly.
“Are you okay?” I asked, running over.
“I’m fine! I just texted the person I like for the first time, and I got a response! I’m just really happy!” he said with a smile.
Everyone around him grinned back, “Congratulations! But are you really okay?”
We certainly wouldn’t want to be there for his first kiss…
・Of course, high school boys aren’t the only ones doing crazy stuff at the local convenience store. The employees can be pretty weird, too!
A Lawson employee came running out onto the street in front of the store, indulging in one of the store’s frankfurters, acting crazy. “I’ve never eaten a frankfurter so delicious! *Gobbling while blowing on hot food* Where can they possibly be selling this??” I couldn’t help laughing at such a touching sales promo.
We’re not sure that would make us want to buy a frankfurter from Lawson…but we sure would love the free show!
・And sometimes the employees just leave us baffled as well.
I was just at the convenience store, and when I asked the clerk for some Japanese-style karaage [fried chicken] and a pack of Kool Mild cigarettes, he responded “One Kool karaage coming up!” creating some mysterious new product.
Hmmm…karaage you can smoke! It makes sense though–they’re incredibly addictive!
・When we’re at work it’s incredibly easy to let ourselves slip into autopilot and not really pay attention to what we’re doing. It’s a good thing someone’s usually there to stop us from doing something stupid though! For this one, it’s important to know that most convenience stores in Japan have microwaves behind the counter for warming up customers’ food.
I was at the convenience store, buying some ginger ale, batteries, and a newspaper.
Clerk: “Would you like me to warm this up for you?”
Me: “Which one???”
Hopefully not the batteries!
・Unfortunately, sometimes no one can stop the stupid from happening…
I was at the convenience store, buying some sushi, and when the clerk asked me, “Do you want me to warm this up?” I was thinking about something else and said, “Yes” without realizing it. When there was a pop from the microwave, we both realized something was wrong and looked at each other like “Wait, what?” But I quick stepped out of the store without saying anything, and now I’m sitting on the ground and eating my hot sushi, staring at the ocean.
At least it wasn’t ice cream, right?
・Of course, one of the biggest problems at any job is miscommunication!
Just now, at the convenience store, the clerk asked a customer if they wanted chopsticks, and the customer shouted “Don’t talk to me!” and threw the bento lunch and left. The clerk whispered, “Well, that’s a new pattern…”
Yikes! And we thought monster parents were bad!
・Sometimes kids say the darndest things, too! For this tweet, it might be helpful to know that THERMAE ROMAE is a popular manga about a Roman architect who travels through time and space to a modern Japanese bath house.
Several elementary school students were at the convenience store, when I saw one of them hold up a copy of THERMAE ROMAE and ask, “Do you think this is erotic?” I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.
Looking at a cover of the manga, we can certainly understand why an elementary school kid might think so!
・Convenience store food can also really tickle our funny bones, like the snack brand “Boku no Oyatsu,” or “My Snack.”
No matter how you think about it, the “My Snack” series they sell at convenience stores just seems like a “secret phrase.” And last night at work, when I asked my section boss if he’d like some of “My Snack,” he laughed and said, “Sugiyama, hehe, I’m already stuffed from my Umaibo [a rod-shaped corn snack].” The conversation took on a life of its own and went from there…
Well, that gives us a terrifying insight into the Cornman…
・Convenience stores can also help us out in a pinch, but you probably don’t want to put too much faith in their quick fixes!
On the way back to the office after doing some shopping and getting some McDonald’s for my boss, I started to feel a bit hungry and figured it’d be okay if I helped myself to a few of his fries. But after a while, I realized I’d eaten about 2/3rds of them! So, I stopped by the convenience store and bought some imo kenpi [caramelized sweet potato "fries"] to mix in with the McDonand’s fries. When I got back, I handed the food over, pretending not have eaten anything. And then he told me I was being transferred…
・Here’s a story to go with the news we broke this summer about old people and their “sticky fingers!” What’s wrong with the elderly these days??
I stopped by the convenience store just now to get some cigarettes, and an old woman was stuffing candies and desserts into her bag. Of course the clerk caught her, and I was curious as to how it would play out, so I lingered around for a bit. The excuse she came up with was “This is an eco bag, so I don’t need a plastic one.” I thought I was going to die laughing. No one could stop themselves from cracking up!
Just can’t get no respect, I tell you!
・Speaking of not getting any respect, here’s another embarrassing tweet with a completely different ending! For those who’ve never had it before, Gari Gari Kun is a popsicle popular with kids in Japan. Some of the sticks are marked with the message “You win!” and customers can exchange one stick for one free Gari Gari Kun.
When I was checking out at the convenience store, the clerk noticed that I had a winning Gari Gari Kun popsicle stick tucked into my wallet. I wanted to die of embarrassment. And there were two of them. I truly wanted to die. “Would you like to exchange them?” he asked. I did.
Hey, who can say no to free frozen treats??
・And finishing off our absurdity round-up today is an older gentleman with a pressing question.
At the convenience store, an older gentleman asked the clerk, “This ‘Afternoon Tea,’ is it okay to drink it in the morning too?”
Hmm…what do you think he would do if the answer were no?
That’s it for our short and silly tales from the conbini! Let us know if you have any funny stories from Japanese convenience stores in the comments! There’s sure to be one or two more floating around out there…