Family Mart

What on Okinawa is one of the most omnipresent places? Of course, it's Family Mart!

It's like the old Circle K stores in Montana were - everywhere you turn there one was. While roaming around and exploring the island, whether north or south, east of west, I could always find a Family Mart. On occasion I'd stop in at a Lawson Station or a Coco's but Family Mart definitely has a corner on the convenience store market.

Whether thirsty, hungry, needing to pee, or all of the above, a Family Mart was there at your service. I found myself in a vicious cycle, starting with a couple of bottles of iced coffee when I'd set out for the day. Well, understandably, before long I'd need to be finding a spot to unload that coffee, right? Family Mart to the rescue! So, I'd take care of business then before leaving - and to assuage my guilt for having stopped only to use their facility - I'd feel obligated to make a purchase. Nine times out of ten that purchase would be a couple more bottles of coffee; sometimes tea. Well, those guys had me figured out and planted a store every few miles and in just about every village.

When bento time rolled around I'd often stop again to paw over the wide variety of prepared meals in a plastic bento no hako. Sushi, spaghetti napleotan, katsu - oh my, love that deep fried katsu! - or just about any combination that you can imagine was there at your finger-tips. Well, depending upon what time of day. I soon learned not to look for much after mid-day. By then the 'good stuff' was all gone. But picking up a bento in the mid-morning and saving it till I got hungry became my predictable M.O.