Thank Kami-sama for Seven Eleven

My brother asked me if they had convenience stores in Japan like 7-11. Yes they do, and they are Nirvana.
Back when I was a student in Japan, I stayed at a small temple way out in the country, the host family was on the edge of the poverty line. I was starving to death, there was never enough food. And what food there was, was always the same: squid. I remember eating squid breakfast lunch and dinner, sometimes 5 or 6 meals in a row. Last night’s leftover squid was there on my plate for breakfast. Squid sashimi, broiled, baked, stuffed, shredded, dehydrated, I’ve consumed about every single edible product you can make out of squid. I love squid, and it is the local specialty, it was at peak season and cheap, but you can only eat so much squid. Over the course of a few weeks, I lost about 30 pounds.
So at every opportunity, on my 45 minute walks to and from school, I would search for other sources of food. Alas, that route mostly took me through the fishmarket, where the specialty was fresh squid. The best things I could find were some horrible vending machines near the train station selling hot canned coffee, Pocky, etc. I even considered eating a colorless food supplement gel bar called "Calorie-Mate" but I was never desperate enough to try it. I used to take different routes every day trying to find a decent place to eat breakfast or even a good vending machine. And then early one morning I was walking along a route I’d been before, and hey, I never noticed there was a 7-11 here, and I was just down this road yesterday! So I walked right up, the automatic door swept open, and I walked right in.
And I was right, there was no 7-11 here yesterday. Yesterday it was a cinder block shell, today it is a fully equipped 7-11 store with a sign up on top, everything in place and fully stocked. I walked in and abruptly landed right in the middle of the new boss giving the grand opening speech to his 5 employees, all assembled in a line wearing their 7-11 uniforms. Everything came to a halt. Ooops. With a few bows and a little "gomen" they understood I was not a crazy gaijin and could understand their language. The boss bowed and said he was sorry but they were not open yet, please come back tomorrow. I very politely said I was sorry to trouble them and I would come back. Darn it, no breakfast today. But from that day on, I was a regular customer. Finally I had something besides squid to eat.
I told that story to my brother, and he said I should have given them a US $1 bill and told them of the tradition of framing the first dollar a company earns and hanging it near the cash register. Then the Japanese store’s little talisman would be a US Greenback. I laughed and wished I’d thought of that. And then I realized, I didn’t have any US money at the time.

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