6 Bits of Advanced-Level Lawson Trivia
6. The Price of Fried Chicken Hasn't Changed in 30 Years
Kara-age Kun fried chicken nuggets are one of Lawson’s signature products. They went on sale in 1986 with five pieces priced at ¥200, with other options for nine pieces at ¥360, 16 for ¥640 and 25 for ¥1,000. Today, the same five pieces of Kara-age Kun can still be purchased for ¥200 plus tax.
5. It was the First Convenience Store with Public Restrooms
Convenience stores are convenient for many reasons. One very important reason is that they offer nearly every daily necessity we need, and restrooms are no exception. Lawson has been offering restrooms to customers since 1997—making it the first Japanese convenience store to do so.
4. There's a Name for This
The process of moving products up on the shelves when the first one is taken is called zenchin (前陳). While this expression normally refers to "the above-mentioned," in this case it's short for zenshin rittai chinretsu (前進立体陳列), or "advancing solid display"—though it's sometimes also called "face-up chinretsu," or "face-up display." While the nomenclature is rather grand, the basic idea is to eliminate blank spaces to create the impression of bottomless supply.
3. The Lawson Store 100 Song Apologizes for the Price
Lawson Store 100 shops offer a variety of food and other products at ¥100, plus consumption tax. ¥100 shops in Japan generally struggle with the cognitive dissonance of being called ¥100 shops while actually charging ¥108, so the chain has chosen to address this in its adorable theme song:
Hyaku-hyaku-hyaku en, Hyaku-hyaku-hyaku en,
Super mitai-de hyaku en.
Gomen-ne, zeikomi hyaku-hachi en.
This translates as:
100-100-100 yen, 100-100-100 yen,
Like a supermarket, 100 yen.
Sorry, with tax it's 108 yen.
If you're curious, you can listen to it here. Just click the larger green button at the bottom middle of the page.
2. Do You Know When the Frying Music Plays?
This music is most famously known as the theme of the Kewpie 3-Minute Cooking (Kewpie San-pun Cooking) show, which has been on the air since 1962. The song can be heard at Lawson stores played at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day to let employees know that it’s time to make some fried food.
1. Do You Know What this is Called?
You'll find a tiled, sidewalk-like ledge running along the exterior of most Lawson stores. This actually has a name: it's called an inubashiri (犬走り), which literally means "dog-runner."
The term isn't unique to Lawson, but is used to refer to any walkway that's just wide enough for a dog to run along—though even most Japanese people have never heard of it!