Ultimate Convenience in an Ancient Dynasty

An early example of convenience store placement and architecture.
An early example of convenience store placement and architecture.

After catching up with an old acquaintance within the smoky depths of Revolver Bar 左輪手槍酒吧 in Taipei’s Zhongzheng District 中正區, I excused myself for a bathroom break and came upon this doodled-on ink wash style print hanging outside the men’s restroom.

Taiwan holds the 2nd place title when it comes to convenience store density by country, with one for every 2,211 people – beaten only by South Korea in how few steps you have to take from your front door to score everything you need for an unhealthy diet. It’s not unusual to see two competing brands flanking one-another, or even for the same company to have another branch just across the street. You can accomplish just about everything you need to function in the modern world within their walls: eat, pay bills, top up IC cards, or just hang out if that’s your thing – I know I’ve done it plenty of times.

As you can see from this historic canvas, their legacy goes back centuries – even the ancient monks in these mountain-top Buddhist retreats just couldn’t be without their Sarsaparilla 黑松沙士, sesame noodles 麻醬麵 and free Wifi.