Changing the world… introducing konbini, one person at a time

Since I started this column I’ve had emails, messages and face-to-face conversations with people who’ve said they enjoy reading it and/or have been inspired to try new products. Although I’m happy that people like it, I really feel the greatest praise is that I’ve been able to encourage others to step outside of their normal routine and change things up a bit by trying something new. I like to think that I’ve added a little ‘spice,’ or even ‘konbinience,’ to their life. Okay, I really, really need to stop using that joke; it’s getting old and it was really only funny the first time.Gomennasai!

Anyway, this week I decided to share some of the comments and stories that people have told me about trying something new. Please note that names have been changed to protect the people’s identity. Oh, except for Paul, because, well it’s Paul and he’s not only the editor, but one half of the brainchildren (it just doesn’t sound right having a plural!) of GetHiroshima magazine and website.

Since I’ve just embarrassed Paul, let’s start with him. 🙂 He emailed me shortly after my posts about onigiri [おにぎり] or rice balls to say thank you for inspiring him to try different flavours. He said his lunch every day, without fail, is two onigiri: one umeboshi [梅干し] or pickled plum and one konbu [こんぶ] or seaweed. Wow, I thought. The same thing every single day?! Then I realized… I too tend to eat the same ones all the time, so this column has allowed me to break with tradition and step outside my ‘comfort zone,’ as it were. In doing so, I discovered that wonderful Hiroshima konbu onigiri, which has now been added to Paul’s lunch options. I won’t remind him that it’s only for a limited time… let him live in ignorant bliss for a while longer.

One lady, let’s call her Audrey, told me in person that she had never tried konbini [コンビニ] food until she read my column. That comment TOTALLY blew my mind! My first thought was: what does she eat?! My second thought: oh you poor thing, you’re missing out big time! My third thought, deep in the far recesses of my mind: maybe there is other food apart from konbini… am I the one missing out??? I dismissed that third thought immediately. She has now tried numerous snacks and other goodies and it’s like I’ve opened her eyes and enhanced her world. Okay, that might not be true, I made that up, but if I were her, that’s what I’d be thinking.

The third person, another lady, Louise, was sitting with me one day as I drank 7-Eleven coffee when she asked me something that nearly made me fall off the seat.

“What does that taste like? Can I have a sip?”

“Huh?” I’d asked her in my best Japanese “huh?!” voice.

Being Australian, I thought she was ‘taking the piss’ as we say, meaning she was joking. Not so. She was DEADLY serious.

huh coffee

I couldn’t believe that someone who has lived in Japan for over four years had not taken advantage of the wonderful world of 100-yen coffee. Why pay more for coffee that often isn’t half as good as that of konbini? Even more to the point, why hadn’t she tried 7-Eleven coffee?! People RAVE about it.

Anyway, she took a sip, said, “Hmm, that’s good,” and gave it back to me.

I like to think I’ve changed the world and made it a better place by introducing the happiness that 7-Eleven coffee can bring. *happy sigh*

The two women above were both, in a sense, konbini ‘virgins,’ and I was privileged enough to share their special moment when they lost it. Man, I just re-read that sentence and it sounds both creepy and a little perverted. You know what I mean anyway.

Funnily enough, many of the comments on the GetHiroshima website regarding my column have in fact been from people I know in Australia. I like to think that I’m helping to spread not only the wonders of konbini food and drink, but also the GetHiroshima magazine and website to as many people as I can. Hopefully it will inspire them to visit Japan and Hiroshima in the near future and to go to konbini and try all the things I’ve mentioned.

From reading other blogs written by people who have lived or are living in Japan, it’s interesting to see just how big a role that konbini plays in the life of the average person here. Those who have returned to their home country or moved on to another place often reminisce about the foods they miss here and konbini food and snacks are always the first things they mention.

Why not add a comment below or email me at [email protected] to let me know all about your ‘first time,’ as it were or even how konbini has changed your life. You are also more than welcome to let me know just how much I’ve improved your life. Just kidding.

Until next week… eat out… (at konbini). Sorry that was another lame joke, a play on “Peace out!”


Jade Brischke

Jade first visited Hiroshima with a group of her students from Australia and after falling in love with the city, vowed that one day she would return to live and work. It seems dreams really do come true! When she's not writing she's out and about with her camera, walking and exploring the streets or some may say, wandering aimlessly. She, however, doesn't believe any wandering is aimless. Jade blogs regularly at