Monday, January 18, 2010

Convenience Stores Are Japan.

When was the last time you went to 7-ELEVEN besides to fill up your tank? In America, 7-ELEVEN is only good for one thing: Slurpees. In Japan, however, 7-ELEVEN is the mecca of delicious snack foods. And, they're literally everywhere. According to wikipedia, of the 34,200 7-ELEVEN stores around the globe, 12,349 of them are in Japan with 1,577 in Tokyo alone.

Sounds like a lot, right? That's just the 7-ELEVENs! In Japan there are other convenience stores that borrow the 7-ELEVEN business plan and they're as ubiquitous. They bring the tally to 42,345 total convenience stores in Japan, a country the size of Montana.

There's Lawson!
Family Mart!

or even ampm...
But the shear quantity of stores doesn't make them good, no. That's left to the convenience and the selection of delectables.

Here, for instance, you see an amazing assortment of beverages.
A good chunk of them are coffees and teas, but there are still many fruity drinks, drinkable yogurts, and assorted sodas.
Here are some vintage Japanese sodas (Cheerio and Ramune--it tastes like Smarties, in a good way! and you have to open it by popping a marble through the neck. Fun!)

It tastes like the sweat of a mild, gatorade-laden grapefruit...quite refreshing actually.
Calpis water is great too, despite the name.
Here's a shot of a great variety of tasty pastry-type breads. I don't know why, but bread in Japan is so soft and fluffy. It blows my mind! They borrowed the word from the Portuguese I think ("pan")
Breads like this MelonPan
Karepan (curry-filled)

And Dorayaki (technically it's a pancake)

Instead of nasty hotdogs, we get fantastic box lunches and yummy onigiri (rice balls).
Even hot nikuman (steamed meat buns?) Good for warming up your hands on a cold winter's day.
and Oden (floating fishcakes and what-not)
This is the closest thing approaching the nastiness of a rotating American 7-11 hotdog.

How about some candy?

Chewy and delicious, hence the name: Hi-Chew.
Or maybe some gum?

This "Sweetie" gum also tastes like a mild grapefruit-- a popular Japanese flavor.
Here's some pudding, "purin." It's kinda like flan with a caramel sauce on top. Some gaijin (foreigners) hate the stuff, but I'm rather partial to it.

And if a convenience store isn't convenient enough for you, there's always a vending machine.
("Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every twenty-three people. [8] ")

Banana Chocolate Bit Waffled Ice Cream

So convenient. So delicious. I guess when America is as tightly populated as Japan, we can look forward to closer waystations of deliciousness. Until then...


farringtonfamily said...

Wow! Ryan you have Japan on the mind...We should all go there some day!!(Can you be a pharmacist in Japan?) The food looks great!


Jon, Kaylene and Laila said...

wow, uno cards in vending machines. those Japanese think of everything.
Germany is the land of chocolate, while Japan is the land of convenient stores, coca cola robots, and awesome vending machines... don't know which one i would choose.

so, are we doing the spudman or not? let us know and we'll sign up.

Janna said...

Mmmm...Pocky sticks. Aubrey and I can't get enough of them.

Fat eSpence said...

Mmmm, I love Pocari Sweat.