Konbini Stores in Japan
50,000 about Japan- is the total number of Konbini stores (コンビニ ─ Konbini means convenience store) in Japan.
This means there is one convenience store in Japan for each 2,500 Japanese. Japan easily can be one of the top countries in the world which have so many Konbini stores. Especially in the big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, there is a traffic of Konbini stores and you see them every 5m on one street or two shops facing to each other on a small street.
Drop in the one even 5m closer or the one without needing to cross the 3m-wide street… This laziness (lazy? Japanese?) is the actual cause of this expansion of Konbini. Inside the shop, there are a large selection of products,starting from the magazines where always people stay and read without buying them, household cleaning stuff, stationaries to some fresh veggies and meats. There is almost nothing you cannot find in Japanese convenience stores.
In Japanese convenience stores, there also many prepared food and snacks, including Japan's national food such as “ONIGIRI (rice ball)”, Maki (roll sushi) or Bentou (lunch box). This is an Onigiri section and you can choose from more than 10 different stuffing inside the rice ball. Do you like something standard like salmon, plum or cod roe (tarako) onigiri or more fusion style rice ball like tuna mayonnaise or BBQ beef?
As to the soft drinks in Japan…. as you can see, there are hundreds of kinds! When you feel tired, simply go to energy drink section and choose between red bull, lipovtan series, Mega-Shaki and Maka-Genki. If you are lack of vitamin, you have C1000 lemon, BB, Chiobita (Tiovita) drink or Konnyaku Batake (drink from devil's tongue).
Soft drink section in Konbini store is just like a museum. Not only you need to choose what you want to drink but also you need to choose one particular taste between 10 distinct cans and bottles. You want Japanese green tea. But which one? With 16 green tea mix (juu-roku cha) or better one or the first tea of the season (shin-cha)? Even just to buy a bottle of water, they won't let you go so fast. You have to choose a spring where the water comes from.
Now you see, this is the main reason you can't get out Japanese convenience store so easily. And this happens to not only soft drinks but to all the products.
The curious thing is that the same people who cannot be bothered crossing the street, once they are in the Konbini, some how they don't mind strolling around from the shelf to the shelf, checking the products one by one which are all look-alike. I'm wondering this peculiarity of Japanese and then realize myself doing exactly the same thing in this konbini store, choosing my onigiri for lunch. At the end, for Konbini beginner, here is the instruction of the correct use of Konbini.