7-Eleven in Japan: Not For Burritos, But For Rice Balls

I have been in Tokyo, Japan now for three days. I arrived Wednesday morning to Narita airport, took the train to Tokyo Station and then found my way to the office of my ex-employer and then to my friend’s apartment, where I promptly napped for two hours, showered, ate some thing and waited for my friend to get home from work.

Being in Tokyo has been exhilarating and at the same time kind of boring. My friend laughed at me because I’ve spent much of my afternoons rushing back to the apartment to catch up on the Telenovela that I’m obsessed with, Rosa Diamante, on Telemundo.com. I finally caught up this afternoon. Thank goodness!

I think the most important thing here is that I’ve been resting. I have been dealing with a cold since my days in Istanbul and now I find myself with the cold, still, but am really comfortable just sitting inside while the world of Tokyo goes around me.

Of course, I have been outside. I have ventured into stores in “Japanese malls” and found myself buying paper. I have been out to a few dinners and meals in Tokyo that have been delicious and cool. And I’ve had some moments of hilarity like the other night when Mark and I realized that my bank card does not work at regular Japanese banks. We went from ATM to ATM, probably around four of them before realizing that I needed a Citibank, which luckily exist here in Tokyo, and was able to take money out.

As we walked around, I told Mark about how odd it was to find myself here in Tokyo given that a few years ago, I was not the most Asian friendly individual. Before you judge me for being honest about my xenophobia, let me tell you that I am at least honest about it, where as many people will never admit to their racism and dislike for other cultures. It was raining as we walked around looking for Citibank, but I realized that that was one of those moments in life where you’re glad that one of your best friends is next to you while you’re figuring out your life.

On Wednesday night, when my friend Mark got to his apartment he walked into the living room where I was curled up on his couch and said, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON MY COUCH IN TOKYO?!” Then he gave me a hug and said, “I am so glad you’re here!” I have gotten so much love from Mark that I know without a doubt that I am here. I am worthy of being here.

I don’t have any real funny stories about Tokyo besides having to wander the streets looking for a Citibank in the rain, but I’m good and I’m happy and I’m alive and those are the most important things in this world. I’m practicing more self-compassion and understanding for my ability to take time for myself and for listening to myself and for letting myself not be so busy that I am ignoring what it is that I want, feel, or am looking for in life.

I’ll leave you with this point. Yesterday afternoon after walking around the Imperial Palace Gardens and the mall, I stopped into a 7-11 and picked up an ice tea, some pineapple, and a rice ball, I realized that the 7-11 of America full of burritos is not the 7-11 of Japan.

My closest friends know that I have a favorite song by Pete Yorn called “Burrito.” It’s a love song where he sings about finding love once and sharing that love over an 7-11 burrito. That song makes my heart so very happy every time I hear it. It is one of my ideas of love. Now, I’m not saying that I love 7-11 burritos, but I am saying that if the guy of my life offered me a burrito from 7-11, I’d know that he’s the love of my life. (I know, I know, but you gotta believe the fairytale, people, you have to!)  I’m not saying that I’m going to get a rice ball from the love of my life here in Japan, but I am saying I may just find myself buying myself rice balls from 7-11 over time and I’m okay with that. I’m okay trading in burritos for rice balls because I think that the burrito opportunity is going to come around and it is going to involve a burrito and it is going to remind me of the time when I bought rice balls from 7-11 in Japan while finding my way back to the real Sara Stroman. Trusting the process, people. Trusting the process.



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S2 Stationery & Design

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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