Around the World in 80 Days: Day 31, The 7-11

Before I came to Japan I kept hearing stories about how amazing the 7-11s are out here.  For example:  A Japanese girl has come to America and she’s being driven around by a friend of hers.  She needs to go to the bathroom and asks her friend to just pull over at the 7-11.  Are you sure,” he asks?  She’s sure.  She completes her transaction and returns to the car, displeased.

I was excited to go to the nearby 7-11, expecting sushi and waiters and Jay-Z singing me a song of my choice.  It doesn’t have any of those things (well it does have some sushi… I guess I was expecting sashimi).  It was talked up a little too much, kinda like Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck movieI went expecting a comedy.  It wasn’t funny.  I walked out before it was over.

I don’t mean to give the wrong impression though, the 7-11 is cool, just not as cool as I thought it would be.  Everything there is completely different.  There are some products with English on them but most of the products are labeled in Japanese and I have to use my translation app.  I think the only thing a Japanese 7-11 has in common with one in the states is Coke.  I go there pretty regularly because I’ve settled into a schedule of going to bed between 8 and 9 and waking up at 5am.  Nothing else is open that early so I go there for coffee and sometimes a sweet.  One night I bought a bento box from there that was a bit greasy because I had no food in the fridge and I was desperate.  They have several meals to go… it’s just hard to pick the right one.  I’ve gotten mochi there, ice cream, other weirdo sweets, sake, rice crackers, cat food, and I may or may not have bought this there as well:

This “konbini” (Japanese for convenience store) also houses my bank: the ATM, that is.  The majority of the places I shop out here don’t take credit cards so you have to have cash on hand at all times.  And speaking of cash, many of the employees wear the face mask thingies, perhaps in a show of solidarity for reverse hold-ups.  They are always nice though, and while they do take my money, they haven’t pointed a gun at me… though I imagine their non-dominant hand is masterfully gripping a throwing star between their thumb and forefinger in a hidden pocket.

I’m there enough now that not only do the employees recognize me, but they’re also telling me that my Japanese is improving… in Japanese!  Anyway – let me take you around 7-11 with me.

Reusing this.  So yummy.  Yep.

Nope.

Sake and shoyu.  Shoyu is a stronger type of sake with a higher alcohol content.

Sweets.

Something delightful.  I’ll have to try this when I need a sugar bomb.

Meals and rice balls with fish in them.  They are called onigiri.

More dinner and lunch options.

Chips and rice crackers.

This looks like a design project but not very appetizing.  I’m going to guess bamboo and lotus pieces and parts.

A selection of hot food at the counter.  Note the curled octopus tentacle in the bottom row.

New and old cartoon product endorsements.  The blue cat is a robot with no ears called Doraemon and the lazy, depressed egg is a Sanrio character named Gudetama.  I think I’m in love with this stupid little egg.  I’ll post more about him later.

Love,

~S

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