There are many “symbols of Japan”–from Mt. Fuji to Akihabara, the country has numerous faces to the outside world. But regardless of what comes to mind when you think of the country, there’s a good chance that you’ll stop by one of its many convenience stores on the way to your destination. In many ways, the army of small shops that squat on half the corners from Hokkaido to Okinawa are the perfect symbol of the country. But it looks like the convenience stores of Japan are now facing a serious problem: They can’t find enough employees!
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Jun 8, 2014
As we’ve declared before, convenience stores are one of the many things Japan gets awesomely right. And out of all the conbini in Japan, one of the greatest things housed within the walls of popular convenience store, Lawson, isn’t found on the shelves, but nestled safely behind the counter. Yes, their perfectly plump, consummately crispy fried chicken dubbed “Karaage-kun” costs a mere 210 yen (US$2.05) for hot, salty bliss. With a heart full of love for Karaage-kun, we could barely contain our jealousy upon learning that Mr. Sato, the most…unique reporter from our Japanese site, was invited to the Lawson headquarters to try out their new grilled Hokkaido corn-flavored Karaage-kun.
And so Mr. Sato marched down to crispy chicken HQ, still rocking his post-apocalyptic haircut, to try our most favorite convenience store snack. Little did he (or we) know that he would also be presented with an ultra-top-secret fried chicken unfit to be consumed by children younger than 15 years of age.
May 3, 2014
It’s been nearly a month since Japan was struck by the disgusting napolitan (pasta) flavored Gari Gari Kun popsicles. What began as some frivolous fun by makers Akagi Nyugyo messing around with new flavors, has result into numerous instances of snack-related trauma among the populace.
Ice candy sellers have been quick to respond to this disaster. At 7-Eleven, a super delicious Gari Gari Kun snack was promptly released based on their exclusive line of cream puffs. Other convenience stores, however, were not so lucky and had to resort to more drastic measures, namely big, big savings on remaining stock.
There has been a lot of news over the record snowfalls in many parts of Japan. However, from people all along the Northwestern coast and in Hokkaido a collective “What about us?” could be heard.
As a reminder, one Hokkaido resident tweeted out this photo of their local Lawson. We’re sure of that because the sign is the only visible part on the store. It looks as if it worked too as the photo is currently doing the rounds on the internet and getting retweeted over 16,000 times.
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.
Nov 1, 2013
On November 1, Lawson is opening a new store in chilly Akita Prefecture. Nothing particularly surprising about this–it seems like a new conbini opens nearly every day in Japan. However, this store will have some rather unique features.
In addition to solar panels, improved insulation, and LED light bulbs, this branch will also be testing out some new environmentally friendly features: Saving winter snow for summer air conditioning and using sunlight to heat the store!
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Sep 25, 2013
Each prefecture in Japan has its own claim to fame when it comes to locally produced products. Whether it’s lemons or sea salt, you’re sure to find something delicious sprinkled around the country. With this in mind, the Lawson chain of convenience stores has just announced eight roll cakes that each feature two different flavors from across Japan.
Sometimes the heat here in Japan really does get too much, but this mystery guy’s cool-down method seems to have backfired. Angry Japanese Netizens are up in arms at the possibility that the selfish iceman may have sullied precious ice-cream with his stinky sweat.
Mar 21, 2013
Never shy of running a cool promotional offer or two, Japanese convenience store Lawson has announced that it will be transforming one of its Tokyo outlets into a video game castle to mark the launch of the Nintendo Wii U version of hugely popular game Dragon Quest X. Even better, visitors to the store will be able to bag themselves a whole host of themed goodies and even unlock in-game items during the promotional period.
Feb 13, 2013
When it comes to preparing a gourmet meal you can be proud of, an investment of time and a good recipe book are often required. If you’re a busy parent or living alone while working full time, just dashing out to gather the ingredients — not to mention actually preparing the meal — can prove rather time consuming and, let’s admit, a little bothersome.
The intricacies of it all leave many abandoning hope, opting for the greasier ‘ready prepared’ meal option or dining out at a local restaurant. But even those who do make the effort to cook have probably found themselves saying “This just doesn’t have the same impact as the dish I tried at the restaurant the other day,” every so often. If only there were a way to replicate the same taste at home!
If you live in Japan, a collaboration between convenience store chain Lawson and Yahoo! (yes, that Yahoo!) may be the answer to your culinary conundrums: a new home delivery service that offers not ready-to-eat meals, but rather a combination of ready-to-cook dishes that can be thrown together to create a tasty meal of your own.
Jan 24, 2013
Arguably Japan’s most successful video game franchise and mightiest convenience store chain are joining forces again to celebrate the re-release of Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden (aka Dragon Warrior VII) for the Nintendo 3DS.
In their previous celebration of Dragon Quest X a limited edition plastic bag was handed out stylized after the hit game online game. This time they’re taking it further with a new style of bag never before seen from Lawson’s – and possibly never again.
There are two types of bags available each depicting the lovable enemy “slime” from the Dragon Quest series.
Karen Bremer Masuda
Oct 29, 2012
Has anyone living in Japan noticed an upgrade in quality of convenience store food lately?
One of our Japanese reporters frequents his local convenience stores twice daily and, as an avid fan of their food, tells us that he has been pleasantly surprised by the recent rise in quality of convenience store food.
Oct 13, 2012
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.
On August 15, Japanese convenience store chain Lawson launched a Evangelion tie-in campaign to promote the November release of the film Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo.
Like any other Japanese convenience store promotion, Lawson is selling a small collection of limited-edition Evangelion goods and snacks. Among them is a package of 2 “churro sticks” called “Rei Ayanami’s Spear of Longinus,” supposedly modeled after the iconic weapon.
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