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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Natural Lawson Neighborhood Nightwatch Guardroom

ナチュラル・ローソン と 夜警詰所

Natural Lawson
Lawson’s convenience stores have started a new kind of store called Natural Lawson. I first caught sight of it this evening as I was cycling home through a part of Tokyo I don’t usually cycle through. I stopped and went in purely out of curiosity. Apart from very slightly softer lighting (i.e. glaring instead of blazing), a row of ‘trendy’ spotlights sharing the ceiling with the wonted fluorescent tubes, and the extensive use of reddish brown instead of white in the interior, there seemed to be no difference whatsoever between it and a normal Lawson’s. I bought a chocolate bar and asked the cashier how it was different. She replied ‘We have lots of healthy products’. I must have looked at her somewhat incredulously – because, apart from there being perhaps a few more variety of salads in the salad department, that simply wasn’t so. It was still Junk Food Central. She did a slight retake and then, straight from the hip, said ‘It’s designed to appeal to women’. That had more of the ring of truth, even if the reality of it was rather feeble.

Nightwatch Guardroom I went out in the evening with a friend and on our way out noticed that a little makeshift shed had been erected down the end of the street. A handpainted sign outside it said ‘Nightwatch Guardroom’ with the name of the local community organization. I took a photo of the Guardhouse. Noticing the flash, a guy came out to see what I was doing. I just said ‘Good evening’ and ‘It’s for my blog’. That did the trick, and he smiled and nodded and went straight back in.

My friend explained that this was all no doubt in response to the spate of attacks on (murders of) children recently throughout Japan. They’ll probably be there to calm the fears of the neighborhood for a week or two, before things get back to normal.

Convenience Stores

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