The Missing Anpan and A New Love: Konbini is back! Kind of…

As I wrote the other day, I have decided to release this column here, rather than on GetHiroshima’s website as I have the control. Sure, I might have less exposure here, but it also means I own the rights to my stories and writing exclusively. Of course, I’m also hoping that you all help me and send this link to everyone you know if you think they will also like it. 🙂

I apologise again for the technical issues I had the other day trying to upload this (thanks Softbank for reconnecting me, but no thanks for the nearly $300 phonebill!)

I hope you enjoy reading it. I was originally hoping that it would be published on GetHiroshima on June 2 in time for the official start to summer, but it wasn’t to be. Hence, my decision and so, after this prequel to my column… I will be uploading the official column next Friday 16th June. Enjoy!

 

For me, last year was all about konbini [コンビニ] or convenience stores as they’re known in English. Yes, I still like them and yes, I’m still excited when I discover new products, but it’s not the only thing I’m interested in. It’s also not the only thing I’m all about.

I feel a bit like one of those actresses who are typecast: Helena Bonham Carter perhaps, always the crazy woman, or maybe an actress like Sarah Jessica Parker who will forever be known as Carrie Bradshaw, despite playing different characters in other movies and TV shows. Just like them, I don’t want to be known as Jack Crispy, the konbini junkie forever… which brings me to another point and that is the fact that I have some news…

But…. and there is a but… I don’t want to build your hopes up. Crispy’s C(K)onbini Capers is not making a return. I have, however, decided to start writing a new weekly column about something else that is very close to my heart.

Before I tell you all about that though, I want to share two things about konbini I’ve discovered since I spoke to you people last.

Firstly, a local supporter of GetHiroshima and a reader of my column emailed Paul to ask if she could interview me. She had followed it religiously each week and had also seen me on the first episode of Deep Hiroshima Salon. I had a blast talking to her and was thrilled when she told me about a magazine that is COMPLETELY dedicated to… KONBINI! I kid you not. How could I NOT have known about this?! It’s called ‘コンビニ月刊’ [‘Konbini Gekkan’] which literally means ‘Convenience Monthly.’ Let’s just hope that 7-Eleven isn’t employing whoever thought of that original title to create any of their new products.

Anyway, the magazine is specifically for those people who are interested in having their own konbini franchise, but of course, anyone is welcome to read it. I couldn’t help grinning about it and thinking that there are other weirdos out there who have a konbini obsession like me. Does that mean I’m a konbini otaku [オタク] or nerd? Probably. It’s a badge I’m fully willing to wear. J

The second story relates to my current feelings about a certain konbini. As you know, I’ve been in love with konbini for years, particularly my loyal and constant companion, Mr. 7-Eleven. Well, let me just say, 7-Eleven the one constant man, I mean, konbini in my life, who I can always trust, has stuffed up. It’s the first time I’ve been disappointed and it’s a horrible feeling. I feel betrayed. It might just be a one-off, but it was and is, a BIG thing. For some bizarre, freakin’ INSANE reason, 7-Eleven has decided to take their anpan [あんパン ], yes, that sweet red bean paste bun, off the shelves. Yes, you read that correctly. Not exactly a smart business move 7-Eleven, considering it’s one of your most popular products. I’m hoping it’s because they’re altering the recipe to make it mind-blowing, life-altering and better than sex, but seriously, I thought they’d already perfected it. Why fix something when it’s not broken?! I suspect it’s for an entirely different reason, but try as I might, I cannot think what it might be.

Even the konbini staff seem puzzled by the whole thing. One of the men who serves me regularly responded to my, “あんパンがありますか?” (“Anpan ga arimasu ka?) meaning, “Do you have any anpan?” with “ありますよ。” (Arimasu yo), which means, yes, we do and hence, you’re in luck.

He led me to the pan (パン) or bread section and was just as aghast and confused as me when his search proved futile. He had no idea why they didn’t have any in stock and thus, I realised he also had no knowledge that they have seemingly disappeared from Planet Earth. In other words, he hasn’t been given any information regarding the product either. Two strikes 7-Eleven; now you’re not even informing your staff of product changes and new products?! WTF.

I decided to do my own sleuthing, just like Nancy Drew and so I went from 7-Eleven to 7-Eleven, around my own neighbourhood and further afield in search of the missing anpan.

Nothing.

They.

Are.

Gone.

I’m not sure if they’re ever coming back and so suddenly, my love for konbini and indeed, 7-Eleven, isn’t as pure as it once was.

That’s not why I’ve decided to write a new column though. It’s simply because I had so much fun eating/drinking, I mean researching and writing about konbini last year that I realised I need a new project to throw my love at.

So… without further ado, I will be writing about…

You know what? You’re going to have to wait until next week to find out. insert evil laughter here

Yep, I’m going to leave you hanging, just like 7-Eleven has done with me. Except, I promise you, I will deliver the goods; you’ve heard it from me. Let’s just hope 7-Eleven does too. I need to have my faith in konbini restored.

 

 

 

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