Thursday, April 3, 2014

Japan Trip Part V: McDonalds

I have a theory that as you spend time with a person the probability that they will tell you about how McDonalds outside of the United States uses real beef in their burgers approaches 1.

That said, spoiler: I didn't eat a McDonalds hamburger in Japan. However, I did eat there a few times.

I'm not above fast food. I hear people talk about how the "grease" (what I assume to be a blanket term for "things that don't sit well in my stomach") of most fast food makes people feel bad, so they don't like to eat fast food for the most part. I'm sure they're right, and it's just something I'm not familiar with since I pretty much never developed healthy eating habits long enough for the "grease" to clear out of my system. However, similar to how I now understand what people who don't drink soft drinks often mean when they talk about their mouths feeling syrupy after they have soft drinks, I'm sure what day I'll understand.

Before going to Japan, though, I hadn't eaten McDonalds food in years. I'm not sure when it happened, but I think it was in middle school that some some reason food from McDonalds suddenly started tasting bad to me. So, I stopped eating there and never looked back. There were plenty of other fast food chains that didn't let me down, though a few years ago I similarly lost my taste for Burger King.

Anyway, Japan.

For our first outing, we decided to go out to Yokohama. Specifically, we had two goals: visiting a public bath and checking out a Pokemon Center. We'll get to that later, though.

First, we went into a mall and looked around for a bit, looking for a place to eat lunch. It was there that we first met with a problem that would plague us for the rest of the trip: our group was too big to go into most restaurants, since they're almost always busy and fairly small. Whoops!

So, while it was a bit of a shame, our first real meal in Japan was at a McDonalds. Lindsay went first in line and translated our orders for the cashiers, making sure we got our meals customized as we liked.

The menus were pretty easy to read, given our katakana lessons. There were lots of burgers on the menu featuring egg as a part of the sandwich, which was kinda unique. I'm pretty sure I could have ordered something on my own, without a translator, but I'm very picky about my sandwiches, so there's no way I could have communicated what I wanted on it without Lindsay there.

In hindsight, I should have gotten a burger. According to those who got one, it was quite an improvement over the ones from American McDonalds. Instead, though, I got a chicken sandwich, which was pretty satisfying but not any different than I'd expect from anyplace else.

I ended up really chowing down on the fries, which didn't at all have that weird chemical-ish taste I remembered from the last time I ate McDonalds fries so many years ago. However, I was told by others who visit McDonalds more often that the fries actually tasted the same as back home, so maybe my memory is just faulty?

Anyway, from then on I knew I could rely on McDonalds if I ever found myself lost, alone, and starving on the streets of Japan. As it happens, I ate McDonalds twice more after that: once I picked up some fries as sort of an elevenses, and later I got a McNugget combo during a long day while Lindsay wasn't around.

Now that I'm home, I don't have much compulsion to eat McDonalds anymore. Still, I can say that I don't consider the place to be as abhorrent as I did before I went to Japan.


  1. I had good ol' ?????? a few times in Japan. It was mostly when me and my friend wanted something fast and easy. I found it mostly tasted the same as it does here. But the placing each item separately into bags and then into one big bag was always kind of funny to me. Whenever I tried to order in Japanese they usually insisted that I just point at the menu. I don't know if I was doing bad or if they just didn't want to deal with the gaijin's broken Japanese or what but it's a shame that trend continued for me in a lot of stores.

    1. Not sure why my katakana for Makudonarudo turned in to questions marks...