Today’s shopping trip saw another shop added to the list of “Places to go to get free food”. It was our local butcher. I needed some bacon, but only had 85 yen (about 40p) on me. I was advised that I couldn’t make a decent meal with the amount of bacon that that would buy me, and thus was given some extra, for free.

A couple of minutes later, at our local Tofu shop, I was the happy receipient of two extra pieces of aburage – thin, deep-fried tofu, love the stuff. He always slips them in to the bag without me seeing, the cunning chap.

When paying for my bananas next door at the greengrocers, I was handed a huge apple , the kind that would sell in the supermarkets for about 300 yen (£1.40). “No-one’s buying them today”, he said.

I do enjoy shopping in Japan. Unlike in the UK, the small, family-run businesses have yet to be driven out of town by the huge supermarkets – at least in central Tokyo where many people don’t own cars. It may be a different story out of town, where there is both the land available for new supermarkets, and increased car ownership (due to the comparitively low density of railway stations).

Anyhow, once home, I unpacked my bags, and found this banana on the bottom of the bunch. It’s a sign. There must be some business opportunity just waiting for me, something banana shaped, something that will take the world by storm.

Any ideas what it could be?

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