I awake — hungry — at 4:30 a.m. in Osaka. It’s 11:30 a.m. in California, so almost lunch time. The only place open at this hour is the local konbini (コンビニ) mini-mart, less than a block from the hotel.
In the USA, just about the very last place I want to eat at is a 7-11 mini-mart. Ugh, just how long have those hot-dogs been on the grill, exactly? Outside of places like downtown New York City, it can be challenging to find a fresh healthy fast-food meal, with our obsession on white bread and fried food. Yet, what else am I going to do? Might as well try the mini-mart in Japan. I am here to sample the culture, after all.
Surprise! This place is uber clean, with a large selection of fresh, healthy food, along with the usual selection of cigarettes, batteries and panties. The essentials. It appears these konbini can flourish in this predominantly dense urban living environment, ergo there’s enough turnover for fresh quality food, without sufficient spoilage. Plus, there’s more. What can’t you do at a 7-11 in Japan?
Family-mart does not disappoint in anyway. The food is delicious. There is a large selection of fresh salads.
Also, a great selection onigiri. In Hawaii, we called these musubi, fish, meat, or vegetables in a rice ball, with a seaweed wrapper. Each package appears to have about 2-300 calories, and costs about a dollar. What a bargain.
I head back to the hotel with an onigiri and a small salad. The salad is mostly fresh vegetables, tiny, delicate mushrooms, okra, seaweed, diakon radish, and some crunchy lettuce. The dressing is a delightful Japanese sesame dressing. Onigiri can be served hot or cold.
After my meal, I turn to the packing job I must now do. Next stop: Tokyo via Shinkansen.