I had all these goals I wanted to achieve this year and most of them I’ve done, but to be honest, this is my greatest achievement. Yes, I mean to be writing about konbini [コンビニ] for GetHiroshima again. I really, really missed it. I’m so happy to be back. In fact, it made my whole summer.
But yes, summer is fading and I’m over this humidity. Thus, I’m kick-starting the next season.
Ah, autumn. Fall.
My favourite season.
Japan is one of those countries where the change in seasons isn’t necessarily lineated by dates and yet, sometimes it is. Let me explain.
Take rainy season for example.
Two years ago, a Japanese co-worker was saying how rainy season had officially ended. I’d looked outside the window at the torrential rain pouring down and said, “I don’t think you told the weather gods that.” She was not impressed and she didn’t laugh. She then said that the weather forecasters had said it would end and the rain should have stopped. I didn’t bother trying to explain that just because you want a season to end and just because you put a date on it, doesn’t mean the weather is going to cooperate.
Then again, when you ask Japanese people or type it in to Mr. Google, there seems to be no definite answer to when seasons begin and when seasons end. Some people say autumn starts in mid-September, others say when the leaves appear in October or November. Who knows.
The way I determine the change in seasons is a little different. I notice the air. Yes, the air. There’s a different smell in the air when the seasons change and despite it still being hot, I can smell the season changing… but it’s not quite here yet.
Anyway, I’ve decided I’ve had enough of summer and it seems konbini and I are on the same page, because two weeks ago new autumn drinks appeared in store. By drinks, I mean alcoholic beverages in the form of chuuhai [チューハイ] or shouchuu highball.
It’s like a canned cocktail basically.
Of course, for the purpose of research I had to try them. I know. It’s a tough job for you people, but someone has to do it and that
someone is me. Suntory has a autumn fruits flavours nashi [梨], shown above, or Japanese pear and ringo [りんご] or apple, shown below, which are both not too sweet and have a light and subtle taste. At 4% alcohol, it’s kind of like drinking juice but that’s okay with me because I’ve had too much of Strong Zero’s 9% range this summer. I need a break.
If you’re still feeling summery though and want a major kick as far as alcohol percentage goes, try the new mix punch flavour of Kirin’s Strong brand. I find it absolutely revolting due to the acerola [アセロラ] fruit, but if that’s your thing, go ahead, you’ll love it. If you’ve already had a boatload to drink it’s also okay because you’re too drunk to notice. I speak from experience.
Autumn is also the beginning of oden [おでん] season, but one particular 7-Eleven on Nakahiro in Yokogawa area has had oden for weeks on end. I’m talking way back in early July. I was thrilled, but then again, I thought it was a little too hot to eat it. For more on konbini oden is, check out this post from last year.
7-Eleven and Family Mart both have new soups out for the cooler weather (okay, who am I kidding?!) too and they’re a great way to get some veges (vegetables for non-Aussies) into your diet.
I must admit that before I came to Japan I wasn’t a huge soup fan, especially as a meal in itself. I still think of them as more of an accompaniment to a meal, but I really do enjoy them now. I recommend just popping in to your favourite konbini, checking out their soup range and then trying a few out to determine your favourite. Mine is the tsukune [つくね] or chicken meatball soup from Family Mart which includes three, lovely, large meatballs, clear noodles and vegetables, PLUS, a few very thinly-sliced strips of ginger. This will be THE perfect soup to keep you warm and toasty on the outside and the inside this autumn. I would show you a photo but I got so excited about eating it I didn’t take one. But hey, you have the hiragana (Japanese writing) above and for those of you learning Japanese, it will give you something to practice.
To wrap up this week’s column I will say I found a new chocolate piece Danish in Family Mart, but it’s really just their old one revamped with vanilla flavour in it. The old one was food from the heavens, so just like 7-Eleven with their anpan [あんパン] or sweet red bean paste bun, I’m not really sure why they needed to change it.
At least they didn’t remove it from their shelves completely though. Can you tell I’m still bitter about that whole experience?
Oh, and there’s a new Lawson that’s just opened up off Hondori. See my Google Maps photos with helpful additions. Here is the address to paste into your map app 広島県広島市中区袋町１‐２２
I love new konbini because everything is so shiny and new. Being downtown and having drunken people walking in and out of it at all hours of the night and day means it won’t be that way for long, so go now!
I’ll see you all again next week!