Testing the integrity of the famous Japanese convenience store chain. 

When you’re driving around Japan, you’ll often spot signs by the side of the road advertising upcoming sites like supermarkets and restaurants. With drivers passing by in the blink of an eye, it often helps to have a sign that stands out, and that’s what happened to our reporter Ahiruneko when he was driving in a rural area of Tokyo’s neighbouring Saitama Prefecture.

The sign that caught his eye was one from popular convenience store chain 7-Eleven, and what made it so striking was the fact that it claimed to be 711 metres (0.4 miles) from the actual store.

The sign instantly made Ahiruneko smile, but then it got him thinking — how much truth was there to this claim? Stores have been known to gloss over the facts when it comes to promoting themselves, so after passing by the sign in February, Ahiruneko vowed to return to see if it really was 711 metres away from the store.

▼ His highly anticipated return finally took place this week, and he brought along a Measuring Wheel for verification purposes.

This handy tool has a counter inside that rotates as the wheel turns, with the distance displayed on a reader that shows the integers on the black section on the left, and the decimal points on the white section on the right.

▼ Although it’s an analogue system, it’s simple and easy to understand.

Starting from the sign, Ahiruneko headed in the direction of the 7-Eleven, trundling his wheel alongside him like a faithful puppy.

He thought he might be able to see the store from this distance, but when he looked up, it was nowhere to be seen. This made him wonder if he was actually on the right path, but trusting his instinct, he continued trundling.

Stopping to look at the display, he was dismayed to see he’d only travelled 128 metres so far, although it felt much further.

At this point, 711 metres seemed like a long way off, so he decided to look up from the display every now and then to take in the scenery around him and keep his spirits up.

▼ Ahiruneko passed by a local park…

▼…a few small businesses…

▼…and other roadside signs.

The path turned out to be scarily close to the road at points, with one hairy encounter occurring when a truck turned the corner at the same time he did.

Refusing to let the proximity to traffic deter him, Ahiruneko bravely continued on his journey, following the path by the road, seeing as that ought to be the 711-metre route indicated on the sign.

As he approached an intersection, Ahiruneko looked into the distance and finally saw…

▼ …the 7-Eleven!!!

His tired legs and parched throat had never been happier to see a 7-Eleven, and as he approached the store, he couldn’t help but let out a triumphant smile.

▼ Phew! That was quite the journey!

So…what was the distance, exactly? Looking closely at the wheel, Ahiruneko blinked in surprise to see his journey from the sign to the store actually came in at…

▼ …885.5 metres (0.5 miles)???

▼ “Whaaaa?!?”

Feeling slightly delirious from the muggy weather, Ahiruneko couldn’t help but laugh at the result. He’d actually snuck in a look at the display before arriving at his destination, so while he didn’t know what the final tally would be, he did know that he passed the 711-metre mark at…

▼…the corner where he had a close encounter with the massive truck.

Perhaps this brush with danger was an attempt by the 7-Eleven gods to stop him at that point, before he discovered the truth that the store was actually 174.5-metres further away than advertised.

▼ Shame on you, 7-Eleven.

In the end, though, Ahiruneko didn’t really mind. He figured that the store might not have the liberty of erecting signs wherever it likes, and the designated spot where the ad stands today isn’t too far off the mark, especially as the extra distance wouldn’t be that noticeable by car.

▼ Ahiruneko could feel those extra metres by foot, though, so when he rewarded himself with a bottle of 7-Eleven’s oolong tea, it tasted extra delicious.

It just goes to show that investigative reporting comes in many forms, and nothing passes by our roving reporters in Japan. Whether it’s distances advertised on signs or mysterious hand-dug tunnels in a bamboo forest, no story is too small or too obscure for our team!

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]