Cost: 148 yen
Found at: 7-11
An amazing thing has happened! A beautiful, wonderful, fantastic thing! The best thing that could happen at the end of a long, stressful week of work. A 7-11 has appeared a block from my house! Hitherto, the closest convenience store was a full 4 blocks from my house – an impossible distance on a weeknight in the doldrums of early spring. Yet, late one night someone must have buried some magic seeds in an abandoned lot because suddenly, without much fanfare, this convenience store seems to have sprouted right out of the earth. Some angel of the lord heard the call of my heart, and lo – there was a 7-11.
And what other way to christen this new store than with a pack of sweet, dried plums. There are very few Japanese plum (ume) snacks that I find palatable, but sugar will cure any number of ills. Instead of being bitter and unpleasant, these mouth-watering dried plums are sweet and sour and powerfully flavorful. They are sour enough to be refreshing and sweet enough to be pleasant and small enough to provide happy munching over the course of an afternoon. It was these sweet, fruit-leather style plums that taught me to like Japanese plums in the first place, opening the door to plum onigiri, plum wine, and plum chips. So, to celebrate a new beginning, I turned back to an old beginning – content in the knowledge that I will never again have to walk for my snacks.