Open All Night

28 02 2009

A full moon in Kyoto. And a streetlight.

A full moon in Kyoto. And a streetlight.

Here’s that convenience store post I promised. Convenience stores, called “conbini” in Japan, are quite similar to stores usually found connected to gas stations in America, except your chances of being shot are much lower. Conbini’s also usually include a fuller selection of items you might actually be able to eat for dinner and not feel ashamed, such as servings of sushi instead of powdered donuts. They usually have those too, though. Much like the ubiquitous Japanese vending machine, conbini are everywhere, in almost every mildly populated area. There are a few major chains pictured below, but there are also a number of privately owned ones that have a similar function.

There may or may not be an actual "Lawson".

According to Wikipedia, there is an actual "Lawson", and the chain originated in Ohio.

The most common chain in Kyoto is probably Lawson, which also has a number of permutations, such as Lawson Plus…

Lawson Plus, Osaka, 2/3/2009

The writing below the sign and the anthropomorphic can is actually a pun. "Genki ni narou" is Japanese for "let's get healthy", but in this case the "narou" is ending with a Katakana "son", so it becomes "narouson", similar to the pronunciation of Lawson in Japanese, "Ro-sun". Badum-pssh!

and the special one hundred yen Lawsons…

which I realized I don’t have a picture of. I’ll try and remedy that eventually. There’s also many of the same chains found in America, from 7-11…

Wikipedia also says that 7-11 is the largest convenience store chain in Japan. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Wikipedia also says that 7-11 is the largest convenience store chain in Japan. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

and Circle K.

Circle K, Kyoto, ??/??/2009

Another large player in the area is Family Mart, the Kwik-E-Mart of the far East. Or not.

Family Mart, Kyoto, ??/??/2009

Other establishments include the Daily Yamazaki

Daily Yamazaki, Kyoto, ??/??/2009

and AM/PM.

AM/PM, Kyoto, ??/??/2009

There’s also this chain, which I’ve only seen in one place.

Coco!, Kyoto, ??/??/2009

Bonus: Can you tell the difference between these two pictures?

Boss Coffee Machine, Kyoto, ??/??/2009Tommy Lee Jones Boss Machine, Kyoto, ??/??/2009

Answer: only one of them is smoking a pipe. This is an example of the many weird forms of advertising American celebrities do in Japan to make a quick buck promoting items they would widely be mocked for using back in the States. Tommy Lee Jones representing Suntory Boss Coffee is a surprisingly good match, however.

Music I’m Listening to Now: Neko Case, “I’m an Animal”. This song is like two minutes long, and I’ve just been looping it while writing this post. It’s still catchy.