Convenience stores

Me: Japan, you like convenience stores, don’t you?

Japan: No, not really. I need convenience stores.

Me: But they’re everywhere. You’re addicted to them. It’s amazing. In any of your cities i reckon that you can’t be more than a five-minute walk from one of them. They’re taking over.

Japan: I like being convenient. It’s helpful.

Me: But these places are almost too convenient aren’t they?

Japan: How do you mean?

Me: Well, they’re not just stores.

Japan: Yes they are. They are “just stores”.

Me: Stores that you can buy magazines, newspapers and comics in.

Japan: Yes.

Me: Where you can buy hot food, cold food, frozen food and ready to eat food.

Japan: Yeah.

Me: You can buy food that you need to microwave…and then microwave it in the store. Or food that you need to add hot water to…and then just add hot water to it in the store.

Japan: Yep.

Me: You can buy snacks, chocolates, sandwiches, tea, coffee and every flavour of juice that exists. If, for whatever reason, you’ve ventured out of house that morning without socks, a vest and a tie you can buy them too.

Japan: Yeah, look, I already know this.

Me: You can buy stationary and umbrellas and instant curry and concert tickets and gas canisters and matches and ice creams and shaving foam and waterproof ponchos and condoms and razors and tampons and paper plates and gloves and plastic forks.

Japan: This isn’t news.

Me: You can photocopy something, fax something, print something. Or mail something to another city or another country or another time zone. You can charge up your phone if the battery is low. You can pay your gas bill and use the ATM.

Japan: Anything else?

Me: They’ve got toilets. You can take a shit.

Japan: …

Me: Not to mention the fact that you can stock up on as much alcohol, tobacco and pornography as you can physically carry.

Japan: Erm, is there something you’d like you tell the class?

Me: And they never ever shut. They are open continuously. Forever. You’ll never see a convenience store with opening hours advertised outside it. They don’t have them. They never say “Open 24 hours” because that’s just a given. It’s a convenience store. Of course it’s open 24 hours. That’s what they do. They’re like a constant in the universe. 2+2=4. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea level. The earth goes around the sun once every 365 and a quarter days.  Your convenience stores are open.

Japan: You don’t need me for this conversation do you?

Me: Well, to be honest, you’ve done all you needed to do.

Japan: What do you mean?

Me: You’re not impressed by any of this are you?

Japan: No.

Me: No, none of us are. That’s my point. We take the thankless, little, neon glowing, infinitely stocked local corner shops for granted. We pass dozens of the things everyday and never give them a second thought or look. We don’t care much about them because we see them so much.

Japan: It’s not a big deal. They’re just convenience stores.

Me: Exactly. But, really, can you imagine life without them?

Japan: Life without convenience stores…?

Me: Yeah…

Japan: Hang on. You’re saying that you’re going to take away my convenience stores?

Me: No, i wouldn’t do that even if i could.

Japan: Don’t touch my convenience stores.

Me: I’m not going to.

Japan: But i can see how you like them now. I know other countries don’t have them.

Me: Yeah, look, just imagine for a sec-

Japan: Stop getting ideas foreign boy. You can’t have them. They’re mine.

Me: I thought they were just convenience stores?

Japan: They are. And don’t you forget it. That’s exactly what they are. Stores of convenience. And if there’s one thing i crave it’s excessive, borderline useless, slightly over-the-top, massive, never ending convenience on a national scale.

Me: Right, so, Japan, you like convenience stores, don’t you?

Japan: I absolutely adore them.

Me: Thought so.


February 24, 2012. Uncategorized.

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