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In almost every company in Japan, payday is on the 25th of the month. While this means every month feels a little like Christmas, it also means that if you’ve been partying a little too hard for the last 30-odd days, around the 22nd, your bank balance might be looking pretty dismal.

But no matter how much you try to cut back, man can’t live on bread alone. Looking to treat yourself to the most meager luxury possible, you might stumble into a branch of the Japanese convenience store Lawson, where there’s a special treat to brighten your day that’s available only on the 22nd of each month.

One of Lawson’s best sellers is the Premium Roll Cake, a ring-shaped slice of shortcake with a generous dollop of whipped cream in the middle. Since it went on sale in 2009, Lawson has sold over 95,000,000 of them (yes, that read that right- ninety five million). The Premium Roll Cake doesn’t usually come with any toppings, but just on the 22nd, each piece is adorned with a slice of strawberry, for the same low price of 150 yen (US$1.50) as the cake sells for on any other day of the month.

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The cake itself is still the soft, spongy one used in the regular Premium Roll Cake. The strawberry, while small, serves to accentuate the rich, flavorful whipped cream, however, and takes the whole thing to a whole other level of deliciousness. It’s hard to believe you can buy something so good at a convenience store, so we recommend taking your time and savoring it.

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Almost there!
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So why is this tasty little extra only available once a month? Well, the story starts at a bakery called Cowbell in the city of Sendai, in Miyagi prefecture. In 2007, Cowbell decided that the 22nd of each month should be “shortcake day.” Unfortunately, Cowbell’s sales weren’t so great, and following the major earthquake in 2011 that caused extensive damage in Miyagi, Cowbell closed its doors for good.

Lawson decided to carry on the practice of referring to the 22nd as shortcake day, however. OK, but why the strawberry? For the answer, take a peek at a calendar.

The 15th is, of course, one week before the 22nd, so visually on a calendar, the 15th is on top of the 22nd. Break the number 15 into one (ichi in Japanese) and five (go), then put those pieces back together, and you’ve got ichigo, the Japanese word for “strawberry.” To complete the pun, take one more look at the calendar see how ichigo (the 15th) is on top of the shortcake (the 22nd), giving us the strawberry-topped Premium Roll Cake. The Japanese really do love their puns.

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Corny? Yes. Delicious? Also yes. Worth marking your calendar for?


Source: Lawson
Photos: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]