My firsthand recount on the incredible convenience that Japan offers.
I’ve been travelling around Japan for about four days now and what I’ve learnt so far is that there’s a recurring theme that continues to present itself, even shouting out, konbi! konbi! Which is short for konbiniensu. Convenience, it’s a thing. A thing that’s nothing like anything I had ever experienced back home. The scope of Japanese convenience is far reaching and invites me to gawk in awe and disbelief.
There are many components that make up Japanese convenience such as the vending machines, automated order and ticketing systems, trains that come and go like every few seconds, but the main focus for today is the beautiful phenomenon that is, 7-Eleven.
Yeah we may be all aware that the 7-Eleven franchise exists even outside the Southern Hemisphere but nobody does it quite like Japan. Their 7-Eleven game is strong, stronger than four hundred horses or even seven thousand ducks. What. Starting with proximity, it doesn’t matter where in Japan you are, guaranteed there’s one or two of these bad boys waiting for you around the corner. Every. Damn. Corner. Worldwide, it has more than 55,000 locations with approximately 20,000 stores setting up shop in Japan. It’s 24-7 (obviously), it has a charging station, a bidet with a heated toilet seat and the nicest, most humble attendants you’ll ever meet. This godly place has somehow succeeded in answering many first-world qualms.
Go for a thirty second walk in any direction and you’ll be blessed with hot steamed pork bao (pork bun), wholesome o-nigiris (rice balls), tasty instant ramen, insanely tender yakitori (chicken thigh skewers) and like, a million other choices.
Don’t even get me started on the coffee. I’m practically made up of about 44% caffiene, living and breathing the life of woke. The huge selection of iced coffees and steaming hot coffee cans by the BOSS himself will be more than enough to keep you in a state of happy-high. The BOSS branded coffees come packed with an extensive assortment. So extensive that I ended up creating a mental scale to measure it. Starting from one end being sugary sweet and low-strength to the other end being boldly bitter and strong. To name a few, the order as follows: Rainbow, Latte, Gold, Gold-Premium, Black.
Obviously there’s countless choices to choose from. But there’s three in particular which equally have an unmatched quench. These are the Strong Peach, Pocari Sweat and Calpis.
Strong Peach tastes as good as it sounds. It’s an alcohol beverage in a can that you can drink outside when you’re out and about. It’s like any other beverage, except it’s peach! Peach! Why does this superior stone fruit taste so good? I guess we’ll never know, and it’ll go down as one of the world’s top ten fruit mysteries. Strong Peach is part of a long line of other Strong offerings with the alcohol percentage reaching 9% (or more I’m not sure how far the lit percentage goes) and comes in a regular and large size. If you down like two or three of the large Strong cans, this brand doesn’t discriminate… it’ll give you a mad buzz either way.
Pocari Sweat on the other hand, does not taste as good as it sounds. Because the name itself for us easily-shook westerners causes us to raise an eyebrow. But don’t let the name fool you, it has high levels of quench. Pretty much a cloudy white Gatorade. If anything, they have their marketing down pat, the name may be weird but it gets people talking about it and eventually baits them to try it. Well, that’s what happened to me anyway.
Calpis may definitely sound like cow piss but can confirm, it does not taste like it. I think the best way to describe this beefy beverage is that it’s pretty much, bottled Yakult. A whole bottle of Yakult! When you try this drink and it changes your life, feel free to write me a heartwarming letter of thanksgiving.
There’s still so much I haven’t covered from this incredible franchise: flavoured cigarettes, creamy desserts, foreign flavoured chips, chocolate that’s out of this world and the like. You can literally live off 7-Eleven, with the majority of products sold available to you under ten Australian dollars. There’s much much more, but best you experience it firsthand; guaranteed will give you a new outlook on the concept of convenience or konbini.
Japanese 7-Eleven, an absolute gem.