Brent has been writing about some of the interesting and unusual items he's found in Japanese convenience stores (Konbini) since June 2006. Some of his recent finds have been Kiwi Flavoured Kit-Kats, the Moist Smoked Cheese Bar and Bikkle which he describes as "Maybe something like TUMS crushed into liquid form and made drinkable. A bit like drinking bones, in a good way."
According to the Japan Visitor blog there are between 40,000-50,000 konbini stores nationwide. They are renowned for selling all manner of easy to eat items, being open 24hrs, customers browsing the "adult" magazines and being able to pay utility bills . We have one at each end of the road, both are less than three minutes walk away. But we have something even better than that. Almost directly outside our house is a small grocery store run by a very elderly couple. They sell real food, they are always pleased to see us and their prices are no higher than the konbini. They are so sweet, their English is getting better thanks to our frequent purchases, in sharp contrast to our still non existent Japanese language skills.
Saturday's Japan Times item was on how Japanese is the number one language of blogs. A story they also covered before, back in April. Technorati calculated that 37% of the 70 million blogs they monitor are in Japanese and 33% are in English. The newspaper article described one lady who has been blogging every day about what she ate for lunch for three years. She blogs anonymously but she would never dream dream of giving a bad review to a restaurant she had eaten at.
Some previous interviews were with What Japan Thinks and Japan Probe.
In other blogging news : I left a comment on Annie's London Underground blog, which was about sleeping passengers on London's trains needing stickers saying "Wake me at station X". I said :
They need some here in Japan too.Someone in Washington DC noticed my comment and it was published in the local free newspaper the Washington Express. Thanks to Heather for spotting that and passing it on.
I felt really guilty this week when I saw someone fast asleep on the train coming into Shibuya (the terminal station on my line). Everyone else streamed off after arrival, and then we all streamed on.
He didn't wake up, and no one else who got on, bothered to wake him up, so after 4 minutes the train set off again out of town. He was still blissfully unaware 10 mins later when I got off. I wonder how long before he woke up, poor chap.
I have resolved to always wake up any sleeping passengers at Shibuya from now on.