コンビニ conbini are Japanese convenience stores. On the mainland, there are several brands, but here in Okinawa we just have Lawson and FamilyMart (who just took over the local Okinawa Coco brand, so Coco is no more sadly), although 7-11 is poised to arrive in Okinawa in a year or two.
Anyway, each conbini has some sort of point card. FamilyMart is TPoint (which is part of the Tsutaya brand) and Lawson is Ponta. I will not go into a lengthy explanation of each; instead I will talk about some of the “promotions.”
Recently, Lawson has started a Snoopy campaign. I don’t particularly care much about Snoopy, however, one of the promotions was a free towel. Every time you purchase a pet bottle drink you get one stamp, and after 30 stamps, you go to the Loppi Machine (this is a magical machine where you can check points, purchase event tickets, use points towards special promotions, etc) in the store, print out your prize ticket, then redeem said ticket at the cash register. So I guess I drink a lot of tea and PET bottles are fairly convenient, so I just hit 30 stamps the other day. Yay! So I muddle through the machine, print my ticket, and luckily at the register they still had the limited edition summer blue towel. My choice was between this and the regular red towel (which they have more in stock of). I thought the blue was pretty cute, and very summer-y.
A year ago, there was a Rilakkuma campaign; one of the promotions was to collect 40 seals on various packaged products (such as bread, pastries, packaged lunches) and redeem it for a Rilakkuma cute cats reusable tote. For this one, it is not tracked electronically like the PET bottles, so you need a paper that you attach the stickers to; once it is filled up, off to the register/Loppi machine to redeem! It was too cute to pass up, and I ended up completing this promotion as well. Probably this means I go to the conbini too often, but as a student with a Lawson outside the school gate… well, you understand.
FamilyMart also has a variety of campaigns; for instance it is the popular children’s Yokai Watch right now. I do not visit them as often, I guess my loyalty is with Lawson. Probably because they are right by my school… -_-;;
It seems a bit silly I guess, but I really enjoy these promotions sometimes. So if you are in Japan for any length of time, be sure to get a point card with one of the conbini and check out what sort of promotions they have.