Natural Lawson and the Economics of Bagels

December 8, 2009

This is the Natural Lawson right across the street from my apartment. I'd like to take a picture from the balcony later.

Tokyo is a very convenience city. No, not convenient, it’s way too huge and has too may rules and people to be convenient, but there are a hell of a lot of convenience stores. I used to be able to walk to about six different convenience stores from my house in under a minute, then the big flashy familymart shut down. Anyways, the closest convenience store to my place is Natural Lawson, it’s right across the street. Natural Lawson is part of the Lawson franchise, which is, in my opinion, the most versatile and creative brand of conbini in Japan, and probably the world. I have seen regular Lawson, Natural Lawson, 100 Lawson (for the poor students), Postal Lawson (in the 24hr post office), “fruits and veggies” Lawson, “pharmacy” Lawson, and probably some others that I have forgotten about. Natural Lawson is the high-end member of the family.

I never cared much about the overpriced gourmet chips and chocolates, and the fact that I could find many of the same products that are sold in regular convenience stores kind of led me to believe that it isn’t really natural, just kind of….fancy? So, when I moved into my current place, I wasn’t too excited about living across the street from this place, until I checked out the fresh baked goods area, which they call, for some reason “confectionery.” They actually bake the stuff (buns, breads, pies, BAGELS, etc) on the premises, which I do not think is the case with all Natural Lawsons. They sell two kinds of bagels: plain and cheese. I tried the cheese and fell in love right away. Yes, I fell in love with a bagel. These delicious delicious cheese bagels became a major staple in my diet. I would buy them late at night on the way home to eat for breakfast the next morning. They could be eaten plain, no cut, no smear. They were big and fluffy, with just the right amount of orange cheddar cheese. This really was a great time in my life. I grew accustomed to living across the street from delicious bagels, and then one day, a few months into current economic crisis thing, yet still without warning, the cheese bagels morphed into these nasty looking fake cheese covered blobs. The cheese was obviously the cheap crap kind of kife that is part plastic and doesn’t melt properly. I figured it was temporary, or maybe the regular baker was off sick or something. I kept checking the “confectionery” case day ofter day, but the good cheese never came back.

One day, I was feeling compassionate, or perhaps just kind of brave. They continued to sell these bagels month after month; who was buying them anyways? So, I bought one. It was chewy and nasty and I ended up eating around the cheese and wanting to barf, and cry. So, I am definitely never eating a cheese bagel from Natural Lawson again. This whole tragic turn of events did lead me to go on and try the plain bagel, which didn’t seem to change at all.

Natural Lawson bagel bracelet

Those things are big! I decided to try one on. The cheese ones are also big, but they had a yummy cheese plug in the hole, that was the best part. The plain ones just look weird and aren’t conducive to sandwich building or even to smearing, really. Taste, overall, was fine, but the size of the whole, and the plain-ness are kind of a turn off. Haven’t been a repeat yet, despite being able to see them from my bedroom.

These bagels get 10 “meh”s out of 12

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One Response to “Natural Lawson and the Economics of Bagels”

  1. MotherP Says:

    I really enjoyed the write-up.
    The hunt for the perfect bagel could be a challenge ……everything is affected by the lingering memory of bagels from one’s youth……….


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