Inconvenient Society

Convenience Store Woman
Sayaka Murata

When her friends were crying over a dead small bird, Keiko had no clue what their tears had anything to do with it. The bird was dead, it was a simple fact. So she put the bird and asked her mother to cook it for her dad once told her that bird meats are delicious.

She knew nothing about emotion. Everything was logical for her, uninvolved with obscure intentions people might wanted to convey by the way they talk and the subtlety of facial expression.

Being an outsider for all of her life, she finally found a perfect place where she could act and perceived as a normal person by working in a convenience store. Given a clear instruction, she felt in peace by monotonous chores and systematical emotions in serving people.

The story being told in Keiko’s first point of view. Her lack of emotional and eerie upbringing help to point out how illogical and somehow disheartening society both unintentionally and deliberately demanding us.

This novella poke us in Japanese culture, or broadly of our Asian culture, or even in any culture, where smile is given out of politeness rather than being sincere. Some others are worth to discuss, like how some hardworking women have more baggages by society, especially if they were still unmarried in their 30s than let’s say the man who has no work ethics and spend most of his time in a closed room while has no job to pay the bill.

Convenience Store Woman is a nice short read. It makes me contemplating on lives of the workers at convenience store have. Or how they really deeply feel the time they were welcoming me? And more importantly, it raises a question about the society we live today, that might be, inconvenient.

One thought on “Inconvenient Society

  1. I was tempted to buy this at the bookstore a few weeks ago. The cover was really cute – It was by the Groove Press. Looks like I have to go back and pick it up 🙂


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