May 10, 2021wcbind421 rated this title 4 out of 5 stars
As a child Keiko Furukura is a misfit; she doesn't react the way others do; she cannot understand why her actions upset others. She has no friends and may be a high-functioning autistic child. While in university, she gets a part-time job as a conveniences store worker at a train station. Keiko gets job training, a uniform and is drilled by management in what to say and how to behave toward customers. To seem normal to the other employees, she mimics their mannerisms, speech and dress. For the first time she feels she fits in. She understands the store and its needs as if it were a living being. She lives her life to fulfill those needs. She's content and, 18 years later, she's still in the same entry-level job.
Then a new employee, Shihara, arrives upsetting the apple cart. He's also a misfit, disliked by the others. Eventually he's fired for inappropriate conduct towards female customers but Keiko, now aged 38 and in need of a "beard", proposes an arrangement and takes him home. He sponges off her. He persuades Keiko to quit and seek a higher paying job so she can support him in a way that doesn't appear odd to others. She does quit but doesn't find work. She becomes unmoored, without purpose until she walks into another convenience store and instantly feels in communion with it. She realizes she must fulfill her purpose in life: a convenience store worker.