Nov 21, 2017

Running for bread, thoughts about here today gone tomorrow of Japan

The other night, after my run, I got a craving for the bread I wrote about here, and because there is a family mart nearby where I was running I decided to hop in and snag one. A bit out of breath from jogging, I seemed to have missed the sign on the door. When I walked in, there was absolutely nothing on three of the four shelves in the convenience store. Shocked I looked around and noticed there were staff in the store and I was greeted with the typical "irashaimase". So they were open, but clearly not for long. They were shutting down, and according to the sign on the door will be permanently closed on the last day of this month. This is an odd thing that I have encountered many times in Japan. This particular store hasn't even been here for more than a few years. I still remember the excitement I had at having a convenience store built near my apartment. I didn't find the bread and I took my disappointment and my thoughts about the closing of the store with me while I jogged to the next closest family mart. I really wanted that bread.

 How much business must a store have for the company to consider it worth keeping open? With just how many convenience stores there are in this country, it couldn't possibly be very much. Clearly, this next store I visited was hopping enough to keep it in business and keep the bread shelf bare. No luck again in finding that bread. But this store is situated in front of the dorms for the local car factory. The residents of the dorm majority young men unlikely to make dinner for themselves, keep the family mart and nearby seven eleven busy. Again no bread, I walked home. I still really wanted the sweet pumpkin-spice flavored roll. Running for bread, thoughts about here today gone tomorrow of Japan photoSo I got on google maps and looked at my options. It was great motivation to keep myself moving and exercising so I figured out an easy loop through town that would hit up 3 more family marts. Now my town isn't very large, but counting family marts alone there are more than 7 currently open and in business. Three of them newly built within the last two years. Yet two of them are closing down.

Running for bread, thoughts about here today gone tomorrow of Japan photo

I did eventually find my bread, but I don't think I'll ever figure out why places seem to open and close so quickly in Japan.



American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too


  • genkidesu

    on Nov 21

    That's definitely surprising to me...I thought the good old convenience store was something that weathered just about every storm! At least local to me I feel like they're always pumping with customers. Definitely though when I lived in Tokyo I felt like you could walk past an area one month, and the next you'd have several different businesses...do it again a month later and more things would have changed!

  • edthethe

    on Nov 21

    @genkidesu I thought so too. and the one closing down wasn't slow. it was near a major highway even. Things get built and torn down here o quickly. id get lost if I tried to rely on things as landmarks because they are suddenly gone and something has replaced it in less than a month.