I really like convenience stores in Japan. They really are convenient. There are so many of them all over the place. They offer many services, including ATMs, a copier/fax, ticket reservations, digital camera prints, bill payment and delivery services.
I am teaching English in Japan at Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi (スミス英会話塚口校) and pay school bills such as electricity and gas at a convenience store. I receive bills in my school’s mailbox or school door (which has a slot for mail). Then I simply drop into a convenience store on my way home (by bicycle) to pay them there and that’s it! It’s easy!
I buy some Melonpan (メロンパン) and/or kuriimupan (クリームパン), bread with custard cream inside, at a convenience store every week. They are tasty, easy and quick to eat when I want to have a quick breakfast, like before doing morning flyers for my English school (英会話) in Tsukaguchi, Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. I like having them with chocolate milk.
In summer, I like buying Garigarikun (ガリガリ君), a delicious ice pop that tastes like soda and other flavors, which both my wife and I love. (^.^) They are apparently very popular and tons were sold this hot summer. They are definitely worth trying!
I sometimes buy discount movie tickets at a multi-purpose terminal there. Full-priced movie theater tickets in Japan are usually 1,800 yen. The discount tickets that I buy at Family Mart, a convenience store near my home in Tsukaguchi, cost 1,300 yen each, saving me 500 yen per ticket. I always buy 2 (one for my wife and 1 for me), so I save 1,000 yen total. That’s enough to buy a popcorn and drink set at the movie theater! (^.^)
My wife sometimes uses a door-to-door delivery service offered there called Takuhaibin to send parcels inside Japan that are conveniently delivered the next day. It’s great.
When I used to live and teach English in Tokyo, I used to eat out a lot and would sometimes buy boxed meals called bento (弁当) at convenience stores there. These boxed meals had mostly rice and some kind of meat or fish, so I’d buy a drink that was both a mix of vegetable and fruit juice to try to have a balanced meal. This juice was made by the company Kagome and tasted quite good for a drink containing vegetables. It’s worth a try.
Convenience stores in Japan also sell sandwiches, which are nice if you’re on the go and want a quick lunch. Foreigners may be surprised with “mixed” sandwiches, which can contain both egg and meat in the same sandwich, separated by thin slices of white bread. However these actually taste fine so they should give them a try! Onigiri (お握り), Japanese rice balls shaped in both triangular and oval shapes and often wrapped in seaweed, are also great for a quick lunch or snack and are also worth a try. One that I have tried and liked is a triangular-shaped one wrapped in seaweed with tuna and mayonnaise inside.
For more information on goods and services at convenience stores in Japan, you can read here.
I always use the same convenience store, a Family Mart (ファミリーマート) chain store, which is located near my home in Tsukaguchi. Being a regular customer, the staff knows me and I them, so it’s always nice to greet them with a smile and them greet me back with a smile too. (^.^)
Enjoy convenience stores in Japan! They’re great!
Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi