Collect them all…in your stomach!
In his ongoing search for the perfect affordable-but-stylish ensemble, our fashion reporter Seiji Nakazawa sets his sights on a major convenience store chain.
If you spend any length of time in Japan, you’ll probably find yourself at the convenience store quite a bit. While there are plenty of foods that you might not be accustomed too, there are also plenty that will delight your mouth.
But with the wide range available to you, it may be hard to pick some to start with. So to help you decide, we asked some of our very own writers, all of whom have lived in Japan for years, what their favorite snacks are and compiled this list for your shopping information and drooling pleasure!
Although my wife and I have taken several trips together since getting married, we still haven’t gone on an official honeymoon. My old job required me to work weekends and I couldn’t take any time off around the date of our wedding ceremony, so I was back in the office two days after saying “I do.”
As such, my wife and I didn’t get to do the typical newlywed travel activities. You know, things like toasting each other with champagne every night for a week, lounging on the beach and giggling as we call each other Mr. and Mrs. Baseel, or beating the hell out of a convenience store clerk, like the Chinese newlyweds who are not only just married, but were also just arrested in Japan.
Calbee’s Jagariko is among the tastiest snacks in Japan, if you ask us. The little cups of potato sticks come in a variety of flavors, including cheese, butter, and salad. There are also some seasonal flavors, like yuzu-shio, or yuzu and salt, available now! If you haven’t tried Jagariko yet, this is definitely a great introduction to one of the best snacks in Japan!
After a relatively cool and dry July (by local standards), the Japanese summer has unleashed the full fury of the heat and humidity it’s known for. If you’re out and about in the middle of the day, it won’t be long until you find yourself looking for a cold drink to help stave off thirst and dehydration.
Luckily, Japan has convenience stores just about everywhere, and even better, they’re air-conditioned! On the downside, it’s not just frail humans who’re drawn to these oases of coolness, but also swarms of uncomfortably hot locusts, as these photo from rural Japan show.
If you are unemployed and living in Japan, we may have found a perfect job for you. No experience is necessary, it’s a pretty safe gig and you won’t have to do anything too difficult. You will, however, be a savior, a hero, and a knight in shining armor for one overworked, stressed-out, and understaffed, 7-Eleven store manager in Tokyo.
On May 21, police in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture arrested a woman on swindling charges after the cashier at a local store erroneously handed her an extra 45,000 yen (US$370) in change. The woman is denying the charges, claiming that she simply “didn’t notice” the large amount of cash she received in the transaction.
Japan’s convenience store- (conbini) littered landscape is a breeding ground for competition, and with that comes increasingly more delicious food and drink in an increasingly wider variety.
This shouldn’t be news to anyone who lives in Japan, but our self-confessed conbini connoisseur Mr. Sato says he has developed a way to make one of their snacks 100 more delicious than its regularly sold.
It was around this time last year that a 7-Eleven in east Japan posted a desperate plea for help in stopping the ravages of a feline shoplifter. This came on the heels of an earlier article in which we covered a number of concessions granted by convenience store workers to similar furry intruders, no doubt having been coerced under threat of scratches.
These incidents might well lead one to believe that Japan is some kind of modern-day Wild West where cats run unchecked without regard for the law or common decency. While cats certainly do roam freely in some parts of the country, a recent batch of Twitter photos showing cats waiting politely outside convenience stores suggest that manners are alive and well among our feline friends. Or are they? Might these cats be harboring ulterior motives?
Fans of the popular anime franchise Evangelion would probably get a pleasant surprise if they walked into this particular convenience store in Japan. Instead of putting up pictures of the actual products to advertise their new line of donuts, the creative store employees of this branch decided to take a cue from the popular anime and dress their window a little differently.
What’s your take on freebies? It’s not unusual for retailers to run promotional campaigns that involve giving away free products in one way or another, such as the commonly seen “buy-one-get-one-free” offers. Most of the time such promotions are more than welcomed by consumers since it means more value for their money, but some customers are simply too difficult to please.
We never thought we’d see this day coming, but here’s a man who totally flipped out because he was entitled to a free bottle of cola.
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!
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”.
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.
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.
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.