Konbini: Views from Both Sides of the Counter
Thursday, February 17 from 7:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. EST
EngageAsia Online Webinar
In Japan konbini is more than a convenience store. It is a fabric of everyday life, where consumers can find a dizzying array of products, from bento lunches and novelty snacks to household items. A microcosm of society, konbini sheds insight on contemporary Japan’s dynamics and role in the world.
EngageAsia’s webinar will explore Japanese convenience stores from two sides of the counter: consumers and management. This event will feature a panel discussion with Dr. Gavin H. Whitelaw, Executive Director of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University; as well as co-hosts of Conbini Boys podcast, Michael Markey and Matthew Savas.
This event is free, but donations are accepted. To register, please visit EngageAsia’s website.
About Dr. Gavin H. Whitelaw
Dr. Gavin H. Whitelaw is Executive Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard. He oversees the management of the Reischauer Institute and promotes its core mission of advancing teaching and research on Japan to strengthening ties between Harvard and Japan through intercultural understanding, collaboration, and exchange. Dr. Whitelaw received his Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from Yale University and has spent more than a decade living and teaching in Japan. Prior to joining the Reischauer Institute in 2016, he was Senior Associate Professor of Anthropology and Japan Studies at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo and taught in the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Graduate School programs. His research and writing on contemporary commerce, work life, foodways, and Japan’s material culture have been supported by Fulbright and MEXT grants and appear in numerous edited volumes and peer-reviewed journals.
Matt co-hosts the Conbini Boys podcast with Mike Markey, where they discuss conbini culture, conbini items, and news every week. He also serves as content director at the Lean Enterprise Institute, where he is responsible for the institute’s content strategy in all mediums. Matt has a BA in East Asian Studies from Bates College and an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. He lived in Japan for 5 years and is always eager to recommend spots off the beaten path for travelers. When he’s not at work he enjoys exploring the outdoors with his wife, roasting coffee, making ramen, and reading history.
Michael Markey co-hosts the Conbini Boys podcast with Matthew Savas. An American who has been living in Japan since 2007, he currently lives in Toyama prefecture where he works as a software developer. He really enjoys Japanese convenience stores.
EngageAsia is a U.S.-based not-for-profit organization with a mission of engaging teachers in innovative programs that build cross-cultural understanding and foster community throughout the Pacific Rim. As an educational incubator, EngageAsia seeks to spark new ways to teach and learn and also engage in activities designed to promote dialogue on these topics. To learn more about EngageAsia, please visit their website.