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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

'Irasshaimase!' says Keiko Furukura brightly to the customers who visit Smile Mart, the convenience store where she works. It's a Japanese greeting that's specifically used to welcome customers into shops and businesses, and Keiko has perfected her delivery of it from the Smile Mart training video. And this is why Keiko loves her job so much. There's a manual for everything, including a set of rules for human interaction, and that's exactly what Keiko's been looking for all her life.

Convenience Store Womanis Keiko's story. Keiko is 36 and works in a 24-hour convenience store in a business district of Tokyo. It's a dead end job, but it's one that suits her. Ever since she was a child, Keiko has struggled to understand how to behave normally with others. When a playground fight between two boys needs to be stopped, she decides to take charge by smashing one in the head with a shovel and is confused when her classmates react with horror at his coll…

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