I was shocked when I first stepped into a 7-Eleven in the United States. It was nothing like the 7-Elevens I was used to back home in Japan. There were so many items missing that are almost certainly a staple in Japanese convenience stores. That was when I realized just how convenient a konbini, the Japanese nickname for convenience store, really is. Here are some of the most useful items you can find in a Japanese konbini.
1. Onigiri and Bentos
Want to grab a quick lunch before heading off to school or work? The individually packaged onigiri, or rice balls, and hearty helpings of rice and side dishes in the bentos are perfect for that.
2. Breads and Sandwiches
Not in the mood for rice? No worries, there’s a huge selection of bread, from sweet to savory, for you to choose from, as well as sandwiches with all kinds of fillings you can think of.
3. Ready-Made Meals and Deli Foods
Circle one if applicable. I’m tired/lazy/can’t cook. Well, the ready-made meals like pasta, noodles, and rice dishes or deli items likes salads and seasoned chicken or fish are your savior.
4. Snacks and Ice Cream
This is probably the biggest reason that people go to convenience stores. Who wouldn’t want to for the entire row of snacks from chips and rice crackers to chocolates and cookies, and the huge ice cooler of ice cream?
They’ve got drinks in pet bottles, drinks in cans, drinks in cans with caps, drinks in big cartons, drinks in small cartons with straws, drinks in plastic cups…the list is endless. Which one are you going to choose?
6. Pantry Staples
Oh no! You just ran out of (insert your most used pantry staple here). What are you waiting for? Just go to the convenience store, it’s most likely there.
This is the fifth time you’ve lost your eraser. You have a test in half an hour and can’t find your pen. Somebody in your class borrowed your pencil and never gave it back. We’ve all had those moments, but the convenience store is prepared for those exact moments.
You desperately try to squeeze out the last of your body wash and one drop lands in the palm of your hand. No one’s going to care if you just run to the convenience store in your shower cap to stock up on some body wash right?
Got a painful stomach ache or excruciating headache? Here you go.
How can anyone tell when their tissue box is down to the last tissue? You won’t have to waste time wondering because you can easily pick up a new box at your local konbini.
11. Cleaning Supplies
You’ve just finished grocery shopping and are unpacking your heavy bags when… shoot. You’ve completely forgotten to get more detergent! Not to worry, we’ve got you covered.
It’s raining, you haven’t packed an umbrella, and have a long walk home. Well, time to make a stop at the convenience store.
It’s easy to purchase tickets for concerts, sports, movies, and more when there’s a machine where you can order the ticket and then pay and get the ticket printed out at the cash register.
14. Package Pick Ups
You can even pick up your packages you’ve ordered from the convenience store.
Where’s the bathroom, where’s the bathroom, where’s the bathroom… Oh! There’s one right here!
16. Printer-Copy-Scan Machine
Running late and need to print, copy, or scan something? This will get the job done quickly.
A quick stop at 7-Eleven’s ATM will ensure you are never without cash.
18. Earphones and Chargers
What’s one to do in situations when your phone is almost dead and there’s no charger in sight or when your earphones are completely broken? Why go to the convenience store of course!
19. Wardrobe Malfunction Supplies
There are some many things that could go wrong on a bad day. You spill coffee all over your shirt, the rain completely soaks your socks and now they’re a squishy mess, there’s a huge hole in your stockings, and many more horrible situations. But don’t worry, the konbini is here to save your day with fresh new shirts, socks, and stockings!
No matter what, a Japanese convenience store is always there for you, through thick and thin.