(Disclaimer: This blog post is incomplete (WIP) intentionally left as such until 2024 while more images are uploaded as the weekly ‘Japan Trip’ blog posts are published bit-by-bit. Any further conbini pictures shall be added as they’re uploaded, or discovered via Anime. Why share so soon? To spread the word of Japan’s awesomeness, and the tardiness of North America.)
I genuinely need to give both Japan and their various Japanese Conbini a shoutout. Giving them a massive high praise, as much as able. What’s a conbini? A convenience store, just “Japanese” in terminology, and actually true to its “convenience” meaning. Need something quick? You can get it properly done at these Japanese Conbini, and TRUE to its meaning.
[Conbini Spotlight: 7/11, Lawson, FamilyMart, Ministop.]
Yes, Canada has their own convenience store, and yes they do 80% of what you’d expect a convenience store to do, they however SUCK! Overpriced, poor selections, and not as “magical” and “handy” as the Japanese counterpart. Sure, you can obtain your various snacks, drinks, beer, lotteries, and etc, it’s of poor quality in Canada. Maybe, just maybe, it’s far better in British Columbia with their own remaining 7/11, everything else such as Mack’s, Quickie, Select, Circle K, among others.
Canadian conbini need to genuinely step up by providing the things Japanese Convenience stores supply, and at a competitive supply and pricing. Can’t? Throw out our Dictator Trudeau and try again.
(Note: Every mention of conbini is a Japanese shortened form of ‘convenience store’, it’s just easier to say for me. It’s like a slang now, just put up with it. You can use both ‘Conbini’ and ‘Konbini’, they’re both the same.)
Japan is very aggressive with their conbini, or at least their companies are. Depending on what town, city, or region you’re in there are usually five (5) conbini located in one block, or 5 separate blocks, or at least in arms reach. If you’re at a train station (for a Shinkansen) you can find vending machines with quick snacks for you to obtain, or even various vending machines to use. It all depends on the station however. In Japan, you can basically shout from one conbini to the next one, throw rocks, or whatever analogy you so desire, and prefer. They’re genuinely in arms reach, most of the time. Sometimes you have to walk 15 minutes, or 20 min, yet they’re there. One is usually more-or-less nearby another in a 5 minute walking distance. Genuinely handy, and overly aggressive for your genuine convenience needs.
Why are Japanese Conbini so “special”?:
THEY ARE TRUE TO THEIR MEANING!
They are actually genuinely 100% convenient. I need to stress that point because both Canadians and Americans have forgotten that simple meaning. Need something? Go to your local conbini for your smokes, beer, snacks, groceries, underwear, headphones, or whatever you so desire. You can even obtain hot food, they heat them up right in front of you in their own microwave. You can pay your rent (or so I’m told), charge your PASMO/SUICA, etc. It’s actually true to its meaning.
A Conbini should be your actual Swiss Army Knife in comparison, not a pocket knife of uselessness.
(Side-note: Hard to recall if any Canadian conbini even have microwaves, it’s been too long and my memory is too hazy. I genuinely want to say “yes” for those rare cases, yet may be Japanese exclusive thoughts. My mind may be corrupted by Japanese thoughts. It’s always hotdogs type simplicities when it comes down to Canadian conbini.)
Genuinely enjoyed drinking beer outdoors. Quite a lovely feeling. I however was labeled as “rude” by my ryokan later for trying to dispose of garbage which made me depressed into the night, and into the morning. I felt like a grounded child. Shame. You’re supposed to throw out your trash out at either your place of stay, or at a conbini.
Unlike Canada, I would find myself in Japan’s Conbini at least 5 times per day (or more), something which is a big-fat zero (0) in Ottawa. Canadian Conbini are useless, unless they hold magical Japanese contents for me, as one such place located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Sure, many people use them, they’re still majorly useless. All I’ve seen people obtain from them are junk food. Junk food, lotteries, and pop, and more junk food.
Japanese nationals use them every day, and they do appear in various games and Anime. They’re special for a very simple reason, and it’s in the name. Sure, it may appear lazy to go to a conbini in Japan, and maybe it is, it however is overly handy when you’re given the right amount of selection in ease. I would always go looking for ‘Marinated Salmon’ when I find myself in a conbini.
Get my daily $100 bucks per day, buy some healthier snacks and meals, even save some 10,000 yen for my PASMO, and other goodies. I even used my PASMO as a debit card, that’s why I use so much per day. Whatever you needed, your local Conbini has them. Last final day in Ueno I realized I could have went to a conbini to dump all my spare change into the machine to feed onto the PASMO. The more you know. Wish I knew this sooner!
(Note: Yes, I’m aware, you can do this in Canada also. Dump all your change on the counter to have the cashier apply your demands onto your various pre-paids, Presto, etc. I’m not much of a physical cash person, I’m a “lazy” person in that regard, that’s my own flaw to overcome.)
Vancouver taught me how to enjoy those Milk tea, something I would tend to buy more often from Ottawa’s ‘Hungry Ninja’ Asian import store on Merivale Road. I would then pick it up in Ottawa, back in Japan, and in Ottawa again. As for the pudding, that was also a Vancouver first-try at ‘Suzuya’ next to ‘Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre’ in Vancouver. Suzuya is a recommended place. I’m genuinely pleased I could simply go to a nearby Conbini (in Japan) to obtain various snacks, beer, and other various drinks. I even had to grab water bottles for my trip around Japan to stay hydrated, hence the numerous 1-5 times stops per day in Japan.
How genuinely convenient ;).
Canadian ones are already capable of most of these?
Sure, you’re forgetting the Japanese Conbini are genuinely 100% to their meaning, meanwhile Canadian ones are roughly around the 80% mark. Want a proper sandwich or snack? Too bad! It’s horrible, or non-existent. Sure, you can snack on some hot dogs, maybe some skewers, or even a slushie. Nothing as grand as the Japanese selections. Maybe it’s even overpriced and marked up. You’re basically stuck with mainly junk food and slushies. Try waking up desiring a simplistic breakfast to only be greeted by a slushie. This can be remedied in Japan by a proper sandwhich, sushi, or whatever else.
My friend (resides in Vancouver) was overly furious with being unable to eat Victoria-oriented foods becoming overly upset at my choice of Japanese food, instead heading to a nearby 7/11 for some hot dogs. He wasn’t a happy individual that day (nor the following days), yet at least the hot dogs kept him somewhat satisfied. 7/11 hot dogs.
I mean, the closest to a conbini a Canadian conbini had become to it’s true meaning (in my experience) was the Quickie located next to Lincoln Field Mall with the Walmart. How?
(Now simply a Metro Grocer, and whatever else has taken its spot).
When I used to live in the apartment building next to the Walmart on Lincoln Fields (Richmond Road) I was able to pick up my parcels/mail at the near (ex-7/11, then Quickie) now ‘Quickie Richmond’. Whenever a Japanese product from Hobbylink Japan, HobbySearch, Amazon, or similar arrived it would always route (99.9%) of the time to that Quickie. That’s how it should be. That is how Japanese Conbini operate. Yes, you can obtain your lotteries, use the ATM, grab a cold drink, or chips, instant noodles, among other junk food. You also can get magazines, some basic medicine, among other goodies. If you’re lucky, even a post office attached into the conbini, yet that appears rare. Postal service is usually attached to a Shoppers Drug Mart instead, a medicinal conbini, if you will.
Canadian Conbini is 80% of what Japanese conbini are. They indeed do help, and people do use them. It’s mainly for +18 stuff, such as lotteries, smokes, and beer. You’re missing out on the other half.
In Ottawa we only have Quickie, Circle K, and maybe ‘Max’. Everything else was purged. RIP 7/11, you’ll be missed. For British Columbia you have 7/11, Circle K, and Hasty Mart.
People rely on fast food joints for their food-related, and I’m sure that’s the same case in Japan as well. The point is, Japan’s Conbini is actually what it is, unlike it’s Canadian counterpart.
Below is a video (if not removed) making note of how American Conbini food is “toxic”, something Japanese food is not.
Do not eat Canadian, nor American conbini sandwiches, they’re low-grade, and food-poisoning worthy. They’re brutal. They’re subpar, or under-par. I mean, you can eat them, expect food poisoning.
The Canadian Compromise:
For your ‘Conbini’ experience everything is split apart into different stores. Every retail store is trying to be a ‘jack-of-all-trades, yet a master of none’, type deal. Every retail (or most) is trying to be an ‘everything store’, yet clunky. Your conbini experience in a compromised manner; The next best step.
Granted, everything I’m saying is in the light of a ‘Japanese experience’, something most Canadians wouldn’t care about. Maybe they simply desire their lotteries, now more so than ever thanks to our corrupted Dictator Trudeau intentionally destroying the Canadian economy. One needs to cut corners to stay afloat. Both residents and retail side.
To obtain any of the quick food-stuff (food to go) I would have to either go to Metro (grocer), Loblaws, Superstore, T&T Supermarket, Walmart, or some big-named grocer. Everything is car-dependent, and it’s insanely annoying. Sure, you can take the bus majority of the times, yet our Ottawa OC Transpo buses are clunky, unlike Japan’s easier to use transportation route. Everything is closer, and in walking distance, as it also is in Europe. Just not in Ottawa. Everything is 15-20 minutes away, and relies mainly on cars, buses, and horrible urban design planning. Corrupted Ottawa city officials,…… Everything is horrible. Every foreigner who travels to Europe & Japan notes how much better it is over there. I digress.
Once at a grocer you had a selection of hot chicken, chicken wings and legs, potato salads, sushi bentos, wraps, pizza, donuts (even Tim Horton’s donuts), nachos, various Indian, party platters, among other sorts. Also, among various sides, such as olive salads, among other salad stuff. It’s accessible, if you can reach the grocer. It however doesn’t fit right at times. Pizza is great, as are various chicken types. It’s a hit and miss depending on the store. I still do go for them, yet Loblaw’s chicken wings and legs tend to be ‘bland’. When I do see people taking the bus they always struggle to get anywhere. It’s always a fight, and a chore. Yet, it works, I guess. They managed to succeed for another day, if in pain.
Depending on how each store is set up one would go to either the entrance, or further back into the store, roughly the half-way mark to obtain your instant food. Some stores are better designed than others. You sometimes have to go further out for the better options.
Everything would be even easier in Vancouver if one was to simply take the Skytrain to places. Go to Richmond Mall Centre, Aberdeen Centre, or even on Robson Street (Vancouver) lined full of Japanese stuff (one Conbini). It doesn’t have to be Japanese, it can be whatever ethnicity you desire. FOr the sake of the blog I’m simply noting Japanese, yet it can be Western, Indian, or whatever you desire.
Heck, one can even go to Metropolis at Metrotown (Mall) in the Burnaby township of Vancouver, if so desired. Ottawa is still struggling on how to use the LRT, even while the buses keep being changed all over the place. Buses keep changing routes, streets, and etc. It’s a mess relearning routes year-by-year. Ottawa is a mess. It’s like an overly egoistical and arrogant, yet stupid highschool student took over the project turning Ottawa into a broken mess. Similar to how one would make their first city in ‘City Skylines’ game. Nobody knows what the heck they’re doing in Canada, let alone Ottawa. It’s all a farce, even on a political level. Forcefully rebuild whatever you can, even PROPERLY shoving light rail in necessary avenues. Who cares about the whiners and moaners against improvement plans, Ottawa needs a modernization revamp in that ‘quality of life manner’. In everything, including conbinis.
My frustrated is I can’t go to a nearby Canadian Conbini for a quick drink, nor actual grocery-grade wraps, nor sandwiches. Yes, I can bike to a Metro & Loblaws, people however won’t understand my point when Ottawa is a car-dependent city. Kids can’t drive cars, nor should egoistical teens. How painless is the walk? Think Europe and Japan. Think of proper pedestrian sidewalks and pathways.
Every ‘conbini’ need are left for big chains. It pisses me off how lazy Canadians are (with special thanks to Dictator Trudeau) preventing what needs to be done from being highly accessible, as the Japanese types are. I have to go across the whole damn city just to get what I need. I need to take 2-5 buses, or be driven. Yes, I do need a drivers license, and I tried 3 times, failing each time. I’m stupid, I know. I need to read the book, I know. It’s not the first time I heard that, nor the last time.
I miss Vancouver’s Skytrain, and even Japan’s JR Rail. Everything was also walking distance in Japan, yet clunky in Ottawa. Yes, even by bike. Everything about Ottawa (urban designs) pisses me off. I’m always angry, to the sadness and dismay of my friends and Japanese folks who followed me for “happy thoughts”, “travel content”, and other stuff. I’m always venting and cursing; Being depressed. I want to be happy, I genuinely do, and Japan has made me happy by idolizing their Conbini, among other great things. Canada’s lazy and corrupted thoughts irritates the heck out of me. Everything always has to be clunky, tedious, and a chore. Car-dependent society. How lame. How honestly lame. At least, for the love of god, learn from Vancouver’s Skytrain, something even Vancouver needs to be more assertive with. Push the god damn thing into Langely, and deeper into Richmond. Stop stalling, you lazy twats!
A conbini-grocer nessled next to the ‘Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre’ in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. You can obtain all sorts of snacks, treats, and grocery goods here. It’s run by a Japanese family with Japanese goodies. Enjoy!
(When I see the name ‘Suzuya’, I also think of Japan’s Heavy Cruiser, Suzuya. Even the Kantai Collection and Azur Lane kind of Suzuya in that Anime appearance.)
Konbiniya Japan Centre:
This place genuinely caught me off guard, even took me by surprise by how genuinely Japanese this was, even prior to my Japan trip in 2023. It had C.C Lemon, sushi, frozen ramen, and whatever else you genuinely desired. It was truest to its meaning.
I may have accidentally frustrated the male Japanese cashier when being asked what bag I desire. I asked for one, then the other. He had to swap things part way through. What do you say? Sorry, I’m just overwhelmed and an airhead at times. I digress.
The point being, this place has half, or the majority of what one would desire from a Japanese conbini. It’s all there, or more-or-less there.
Darumaya-Japanese Grocery Store:
Not really a conbini, though could be loosely considered as such when viewed in a Japanese angle. It has your snacks, your fresh-stuff, and other stuff. It’s handy, yet not quite. It all depends on what you need, at least on a Japanese level mindset.
(In Canada, nothing is convenient. Everything is out of the way, out of reach, or absolutely annoying to get to. Everything is car dependent, painfully so. At the very least Vancouver tapped into Japan’s mindset with the Skytrain.)
Fujiya Japanese Foods (Grocer):
Not really a conbini, though it acts like one. It conveniently provides you food, as you desire them. From non-perishables, to overly fresh, bento boxes, drinks, among other fresh and dry goods. It’s out of the way, yet it’s there. If I had access to this area I would go here ASAP. To any area. The closer to the Skytrain these stores would be, the better.
Remove the street tag graffiti, make it more accessible, then I’d happily go there any chance I’m back in Vancouver. I won’t have to drag my friend there preventing any further chaos from ensuing, as had occurred when I was there back in July 2022. Those rounded take-out bentos were awesome, even used a few as my breakfast when there.
Konbini in Anime:
I may have missed the majority of them since 2000, or even 2006 to 2023. I took things for granted, unknowing I was ever going to go to Japan becoming further star-struck idolizing Japan even further. Upon returning from Japan I started making note of them for nostalgic reasons, and here they are.
Just as much as Yamada was yelled at by Akane for eating pudding (Yamada-kun to Lv999 no Koi wo Suru), there are far better choices than pudding. Yamada could have instead went with sushi, Onigiri, and anything in-between. That’s why she’s making that weird – “Are you serious?!” – face in the above image.
Genuinely as handy as you genuinely need and desire them to be. Because school kids are school kids they always go for sweets, while everybody else goes for adult magazine, beer, marinated salmon, among other stuff. I mean, I skimmed a few adult magazines (they were taped up), too ashamed to buy any. Instead, I caused a scene in Osaka (IIRC) trying to obtain Kantai Collection binders with 3 treats per one binder. It was awkwardly “entertaining”. I never want to be that awkward again.
That’s the thing, they’re both good in Japan. Sure, Japanese residents have taken for granted how “convenient” these conbini foods are, they’re far superior to anything of Canadian caliber. Even American, as noted by the above Youtube clip relating to Hololive, Calli & Azki. Sure, it may also not be allegedly healthy in Japan either, I however will take sushi and marinated salmon anyday. Heck! Even Salmon onigiri! Yummy!~ (Oishi~)
I’ll happily eat out at a restaurant, even a Japanese one. It would however have to be a coin machine (or digital) operated in Japan, or one which doesn’t shame singles in Ottawa. Sadly, with how horribly the economy has become in Canada (all Trudeau’s fault) I’ve been cutting corners with my food trying to save as much as possible. Cutting corners wherever possible. I half-starved myself to travel to Vancouver, and even to Japan. Even though I was perfectly safe, I still tried cutting as much corners as possible, even half-so in Japan. Thankfully Japanese food is on higher standards than Canadian foods, for the most part.
The great thing about Japan’s Conbini are the various collaborations. From Kantai Collection x Lawson, to various others. It’s neat how they line up.
>Placeholder for Osaka image relating to Kantai Collection themed binders<
(This blog posting is intentionally left open ended to allow for further images to be embedded as the Japan Trip – 2023 – allowing to be published on a weekly basis. More shall be posted here from there, and from various Anime.)
It’s simple things like these which tends to influence Japanese nationals from leaving Canada (Vancouver), back to Japan. They become bored, even highly homesick desiring to return back to Japan missing out on the “safety” and “convenience” of everything. Also, with the state of Canada’s gradual and intentional collapse by the hands of Justin Trudeau everybody wants to return to their home nation.