Some might say that convenience stores, or “conbini”, are synonymous with Japan. They’re everywhere. In urban centers, it would not be uncommon to find one at every corner of an intersection. 7-Eleven, Circle K, Family Mart, Lawson, Mini Mini, Sunkus – their images are the face of modern Japan.
And no wonder. It would be hard to think of what cannot be bought at convenience stores: full-blown healthy meals, cold or hot; hats, gloves, scarves, under-T-shirts for work, underwear, cosmetics, a million kinds of salty and sweet snacks, toys … oh, and you can use an ATM, print photos from websites and phones, buy tickets for things , use the Internet in a country notorious for lacking public, free Wifi is any kind … they are a one-stop shop. Seeing suited men buy their dinner after work, late at night, at the “conbini” is a common, and oddly comforting and cozy sight, to me at least!
Across the street from where I live, there is a Lawson 100 – everything is a buck, plus the 8 yen of tax, bringing us to the magic Buddhist number of 108 – until the taxes go up, that is.
Here, we are seeing the outside front of the shop, where a few dudes are hanging out and another is entering the store after drinking a canned drink (a story for another day!).