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Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) Lecture (2018)

“Japan’s Konbini and the Afterlives of Food”

Waste and expired food products—often referred to as “loss” (rosu)—plays an under-acknowledged role in the functioning of Japanese convenience stores. My talk focuses on the cumulative costs of post-commodity consumptive practices for those whose lives are intimately intertwined with the day-to-day maintenance the world’s most finely tuned and localized distribution and retail system. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation as a convenience store clerk, I expose the human dimensions of store waste and the significance of leftover and expired consumables in the functioning of and changes within the “convenience” economy.