Are you as pissed as I am about the impending arrival of 100+ 7-Eleven stores and the Big Bite they will chomp out of Manhattan's bodega community? Yesterday, my Black Balloon colleague Jake reminisced on the homely bodega's many high points. I feel you, Jake, but let me just say one thing: if this were actually an invasion of sebun-irebun, the cheery kombini(convenience store) chain owned by Japan's Seven & I Holdings Co....now that might not be so bad.
I'm heading to Tokyo next month. Most of my money will go toward concert tickets and fetish bars, so I have willingly resigned myself to “dining” at 7-Eleven at least half the time. Meaning a tallboy of Suntory and a transcendent katsu-sando (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet and sauce on springy, crustless white bread) for 500 yen, or approximately $6. Breakfast—or whatever—of champions.
Of course, to make these 7-Elevens truly authentic, they would need to beam in a Japanese staff. The super-polite kind who will inquire if you want that curry pan microwaved, and who won't get on your ass if you loiter in the store for three hours, soaking up free WiFi and paging through phonebook-sized manga journals with busty gravure idols on the cover. Yeah, not gonna happen.
Then again, “Big Gulp” doesn't exist in the Japanese vernacular—let alone “Big Bite.” So a proper sebun-irebun in the Big Apple? Fuhgettaboutit.