When you think of Japanese food, you likely think of sushi, ramen, or udon–all excellent choices! You might even find your mouth watering at thoughts of monjayaki or anko ice cream, but there may be a few that you’re not so familiar with. Today, we’re going to look at 12 lesser-known foods–and what one of our intrepid writers thought about them!
When you get change after paying for something in cash, do you ever actually count it to make sure you received the right amount? I sure don’t. Maybe I’m just too used to Japan, where the person working the register will count out each bill and the coins in front of you before handing the change over. It’s just a simple measure taken to double-check that the person at the register isn’t short-changing the customer.
Thorough as it may be, it’s not a flawless method, leaving room for human error, like not being able to tell the difference between a 1,000 yen bill and 10,000 yen bill. But really, who would make that mistake?
Apparently a teenager working the register at a convenience store in Nara recently managed to make that very mistake, but instead of short-changing the customer, he ended up giving 46,000 yen (US$390) in change for a 13,000 yen (US$110) purchase. Fishy! Oh and then, the customer got arrested. Fishier!
Jan 2, 2015
Throughout 2014, Kyoto Prefectural Police began an initiative having taxi drivers and late-night convenience stores work together to reduce incidents of armed robbery. Although still early, the program has so far been rousing success, leading to a 48 percent decrease in convenience store robberies compared to the previous year. They also get extra points for giving it the cool name of “Midnight Defender Strategy”.
Dec 9, 2014
Known to many in the English-speaking world simply as rice balls, onigiri are as much a part of daily life in Japan as sandwiches are in the West. Although they’re often eaten as snacks or included along with a handful of other items as a packed lunch, for many Japanese onigiri are the ultimate comfort food; something that, no matter which part of the country they find themselves in, they can easily make or pick up from a convenience store.
Of course, store-bought onigiri can never come close to those pressed into shape by someone who knows their way around a rice cooker, but they always hit the spot nevertheless, and hundreds of thousands of these little lumps of savoury goodness are eaten every single day. But what are Japan’s most loved convenience store rice balls? And do tastes vary from chain to chain? Well, according to a recent survey, there are three onigiri fillings that Japan is especially fond of.
Being a big city, Osaka falls victim to criminal activity more frequently than the rest of the sleepy countryside surrounding it. But still, the criminals they do have in this “big bad” city, seem to be lacking in… experience? Guts? Commitment?
Back in May we saw the convenience store robber who got outsmarted by a clerk after a series of unfortunate decisions on his part. The other day, another wannabe convenience store robber started his raid out well, but gave up pretty easily after some quick thinking and scolding by the store attendant.
Aug 2, 2014
What started off as a basic robbery attempt turned into a mortifying experience for one wannabe robber in Fukuoka Prefecture. Seriously, either the konbini gods were conspiring against him or he met his ultimate match in an old woman, but either way, his attempt at crime was completely foiled thanks to an unusual series of events.
Jun 23, 2014
The convenience store racket in Japan is fierce business with many shops jockeying for the top spot. Perhaps this was only in my local area, but about one or two years ago one of Japan’s biggest chains, FamilyMart, made an impressively bold Micheal Corleone-style house cleaning and began knocking off AM-PM and Sunkus outlets like modern-day Moe Greens and Emilio Barzinis and making them their own with a killer combination of great fried chicken and enthusiastic staff.
Now it’s gotten to the point that seeing FamilyMart’s green, blue and white signage is as common a sight as a traffic light when walking through the streets. It’s become so popular, in fact. that people are beginning to see links to other things – things such as the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Apr 15, 2014
Do you ever wonder what Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite kind of juice was? It’s hard to imagine the 26th President of the United States having to do anything as trivial as deciding between orange and apple, but after a long, hard day of riding moose and judo-tossing William Howard Taft, no amount of influence and respect is going to keep you from getting thirsty, and it’s a choice that has to be made.
But while the late Teddy’s fruit nectar preferences may be lost to antiquity, we can now say for certain which brand of tea the Dalai Lama reaches for when he visits a Japanese convenience store.
Apr 9, 2014
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been buying beer, bread, or ice-cream at my local conbini and thought to myself, “If only I could scream a few lines of verse into a microphone without having to leave the building.” In the past, the closest I could ever get to combining convenience store shopping with singing was choosing karaoke booths located immediately next door to a 7-Eleven, but now all that is about to change.
In a special collaboration between Japan’s third-largest convenience store chain FamilyMart and nationwide operator Karaoke Club DAM, a one-of-a-kind conbini x karoke parlour will open its doors on April 17 in Tokyo.
Yes, thanks to Japan you can now shop and sing all in the same place.
Mar 18, 2014
Help! Somebody shrunk the store managers at the FamilyMart convenience stores in Taiwan!
We kid you, but it’s true that these adorable children were store managers at Taiwan’s FamilyMart! The “Little Store Manager Experience Camp” run by the convenience store franchise chain allows children to experience a day as a store manager, and though they were pretty good at their one-day “job”, they were even better at what kids do best – being irresistibly cute! Check out what the experience camp had in store for them after the jump!
Have you ever loved something so much, you just had to shout it out to the whole world? Well these guys certainly know that feeling. A group of foreigners created this video for the one true love in their lives – Japanese convenience stores.
Tuesday is known as New Bento Day at major convenience stores across Japan. As we’ve highlighted before, convenience stores in the country put a lot of effort into their ready-to-eat creations. What’s more is they cycle through new flavors on a weekly basis. This can be a double-edged sword as your favorite dish can disappear tragically fast, but you can also count on something equally good coming along as well.
As regular consumers of convenience store bento, the editorial department of RocketNews24 Japan has come together and ranked the top 5 new additions to 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart for the week of 14 January, 2014. Please refer to it for your own convenient dining pleasure.
Jan 7, 2014
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Especially for everyone’s favorite, Häagen-Dazs. Even in the middle of winter, we can find happiness by eating ice cream in a warm room. We were curious what Häagen-Dazs’ new, hard-to-pronounce flavor Forêt Noire tasted like, so we tried it ourselves. Prepare to be tantalized by the following enticing photographs.
You have probably noticed that we here at RocketNews24 are huge fans of Japanese convenience stores. And if you have ever lived in or visited Japan, odds are you too came to love these amazing places. But what exactly makes Japanese convenience stores so different and special compared to those overseas? Click below to see five reasons why we think these “conbini” totally live up to the hype!
Dec 20, 2013
Following last year’s wildly popular potato chips collaboration product, Calbee and KFC are back again to ring in the new year with round two. Introducing new Colonel Crispy Chicken flavored potato chips!
Convenience stores play an integral part of life in Japan. The various chains themselves appear to have a life and ecosystem of their own sprouting up and dying off all over the urban landscape in fierce competition. Regardless of which one you choose, be it Lawson, Family Mart, 7-Eleven, Mini-Stop or one of the other countless chains, you can always expect to find some high quality stuff.
No one knows this better than our food reporter Kuzo who has sampled every form of junk food the nation’s convenience stores have to offer. This time, however, he leaves the shores of Japan to test the wares of a remote branch of the famous Lawson Station chain in Hawaii.
As the temperatures gradually sink into a chilly winter, convenience stores all across this great nation start to kick their oden pots into high gear. For those unacquainted with this Japanese dish, oden is basically any type of food soaked and simmered in a flavorful broth. The type of soup used varies by regions but is usually very savory.
Although not the only place to get oden, convenience stores are thought of as the first place to get it. That’s why Japan’s three biggest convenience stores – 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson – are all competing to find that perfect ingredient to simmer and sell to the hungry masses.
To help kick-off this year’s oden season in Japan, Excite News has released the five most popular oden foods at each of the big three stores. First up is Lawson!
Oct 20, 2013
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?
Walk into any convenience store in Japan and you’ll see the staples: magazines, drinks, snacks, and the ubiquitous onigiri. And when it comes to onigiri, the world-famous rice ball wrapped in seaweed, one of the hands-down most popular is the salmon variety, with salty, sweet, succulent flakes of orange salmon at its centre.
So which convenience store sells the best salmon onigiri? We decided to conduct a taste test in our offices to declare a winner, pitting the top three – 7-Eleven, Lawson and Family Mart – against each other in a battle befitting the rice ball’s feudal origins. With a set of scales, the slice of a knife and a merchant tester, we begin.
Earlier this hot and muggy month, ice cream fans were shocked at the reckless behaviour of one young man who dove inside a freezer at a Lawson convenience store to beat the heat, planting his sweaty body all over the ice cream in the process. Ahhh, ice cream—a much-loved staple of many people’s diets. Look, I understand if you can’t handle the Japanese summer, but get your ass off my precious Yukimi Daifuku mochi ice cream, sonny!
Now another incriminating photo has surfaced on Twitter. Has the original perp returned? Or has another guy realized the kind of instant infamy achievable by molesting a freezer of ice cream…
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