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An Open Letter To Lawson Convenience Stores, Regarding K-On!

Dear Lawson Convenience Stores,

Hey, how ya doing? Before I get to the heart of this letter, I want to thank you for being the best convenience store chain in all of Japan. It might sound funny to even have a favorite convenience store, yet life in modern-day Japan demands constant trips to such places and if I see those blue-and-white stripes surrounding what appears to be a propane tank, I’m going there. At least half of my kitchen plates were promotional items from your store. I really like the Lawson’s brand shaving cream. You actually offer buns to put your oh-so-delicious fried chicken on and for that I’ll be forever grateful. You even come with a weird back story – starting as an Ohio-based chain that somehow ended up in Japan and kept going strong in the East despite going extinct in America. Like Tower Records! You’ve made life in this country better, and that’s before I remember I also can pay my bills there.

Which is why I’m so distressed by your current K-On! promotion currently sweeping the franchise.

A little more background…whereas AM/PM seems to play really dumb Japanese reggae and Circle K opts for something so unmemorable I can’t even think of a decent description, you guys tend to play surprisingly good music for a place selling corn dogs. Sure, there is plenty of uggggh-inducing J-Pop pumping out of those speakers…I remember that NEWS promotion…but also some more enjoyable sonic fare. One week I could count on hearing Perfume’s “VOICE” every morning at 7:50 on my pre-work food stock up. I nearly broke my jawbone when I heard Shugo Tokumaru’s “Tracking Elevator.” You even select good Western music sometimes! I wanted to high-five the guy behind the counter when I heard “Window Seat” that one time last year. It’s a nice little touch, and makes buying apples just a little better.

Which brings us to K-On! In theory, I have no problem with your current decision to have a promotion involving branded items and fans featuring characters from that cartoon. People seem to love them, to the point Rolling Stone Japan torpedoed more of their credibility by putting them on the cover. I don’t get it, but somebody really likes stuff like the below video and who am I to tell them “stop that?”


I start having problems when you replace all in-store music with the sounds of K-On! though. Not only because you turned off the sometimes good music, but because you replaced it with some truly grating stuff. K-On! could best be summed up as J-Pop tailor-made for an arcade, like a guy downloaded a “rock guitar” app for his phone and then had his kid sister sing over it. It’s not just bad, but the sort of clanging badness that makes you want to leave the area you currently are in just to get away from it. Lawson, I’m now grabbing my cereal and getting out as quickly as I can. 7-11 has pretty good chicken too ya know.

So please, Lawson, I beg you, at least have a little variety during this promotion. For the sake of my morning’s, please.