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Fast food in Japan
#1
It has been almost 40 years since the first fast food restaurant in Japan opened its doors, and introduced the culture to the Japanese people.

Until then, Japan was filled with "Kissaten" or coffee shops that served great cups of java that you just couldn't make at home. Basically, the reason you couldn't make it at home was because 1. Coffee was expensive (still is, really...) and 2. The equipment needed to make a great cup of coffee wasn't available to the public. Coffee shops would often offer different types of brewing for the coffee they served, and one cup of caffeine was not cheap. In order to keep customers coming back for this expensive "kick start" to the day, the inside of a coffee shop was usually relaxing - some played jazz over the PA system in the store, others used lighting techniques that would make patrons sprout roots from their behinds and sit in the same chair for hours on end with just one cup of coffee or tea or hot milk, etc... Coffee shops were an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city, and a place to relax, concentrate on studies, or just enjoy the music, atmosphere, or a great cup of coffee.

Then came the fast food restaurants, and as more and more coffee shops disappear from the streets, I notice a trend that renders fast food to slow drink restaurants. As many of you are aware, many Japanese fast food restaurants have set up no-smoking sections inside the restaurant. Well, most people who use a fast food restaurant as a Kissaten will usually go there to have a smoke or twenty while enjoying that cup of coffee. However, the fast food... ehem... slow drink restaurants have sectioned off the smoking section to the smaller part of the seating. The McDonalds close to my office has 60 seats available, and of which 20 are for smokers. Take a quick guess as to which section is filled the quickest... There are TWO tables that seat 4, and stools around the windows making up the walls of the 2nd floor - six on one side, six on another. So, I go in with a tray full of food, and because the stools were crowded, I sat at one of the two tables. People along the counters there are not eating... they have a single cup of coffee or whatever, and are pounding in mails on their cellular phones. The other table is occupied by two high-school boys who are... wait a minute... high school boys shouldn't be smoking... what the feck are the sitting in the smoking section for??? If they are caught smoking they could be suspended, or worse, expelled from school... I keep a close watch on these kids who have a stack of books and notes spread out over the table for four, with ONE single cup (not ONE EACH, ONE!) miniature cup sitting between the notes - obviously studying for a test... But they're not smoking... Okay, that's good and bad... You see, smokers have no place to sit if they are taking up the table in the smoking section, and it's not like there are no table open in the non-smoking section either. And they say that SMOKERS are inconsiderate...

The KFC by my house did some refurbishing on the interior of the store, but by doing so, the DECREASED the number of smoking section seats... so I go in to find the six double-seaters all full except for one. Two on the end have been joined together for two ladies and their kids - NONE of them smoking, NONE of them eating - you guessed it... cups... no nuggets, no fries, no biscuits, just cups, and no ash trays... Meanwhile, the kids are running around and making a racket as if they were on the playground, disturbing the peace for all the lurkers who stay there for hours upon end with just a single small cup of coffee - but no one seems disturbed because they are either pounding on the cell phones, reading a novel, reading a newspaper, or studying something... Another two tables were joined at the other end of the store where a lady was teaching... yes, TEACHING a couple how to speak Korean...
I think the absolute worst situation I have ever seen in that store was when one older Japanese man was surrounded by about eight or nine foreigners, explaining some job that he was training them for... and only HE was sipping a cup of coffee... Call me crazy, but is that not what OFFICES are for?

Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers needs to be changed to Wendy's Old Fashioned LIBRARY... I have seen people sitting there with an empty cup - Lord knows how long ago they finished it. And they were STILL there reading a book or something when I finished my meal AND a couple of cigarettes. Well, it's a good thing the guy had finished his coffee, because by the time I had left, there would have been mold growing on the top. The Wendy's close to my office (actually a station away) once had a sign that read, "Please refrain from studies and extended reading inside the store." So I said, "I'm coming here more often!" and was able to sit and eat in peace, smoke a cig or two, and leave before the roots sprouted out of my butt into the chair. Two weeks later, the sign was gone, and people were taking up four-seaters with books and notes spread all over the table... Guess they were losing customers with the new regulation...

I was told by a Japanese man a little older than myself that "fast food" is okay for lunch, but NOBODY eats fast food for dinner... it's just not right...
After being told that, I started looking at people in the restaurants to see how many people actually ATE there... it seems that I am the black sheep in the crowd when I eat a meal at a fast food restaurant... And the poor guys on the evening shift behind the counter NEVER get my order right... probably because the ONLY thing they make during the dinner-time shift is fries, nuggets, and ice-cream sundaes...

Now when I eat a meal, being the FATguy I am, I eat a freakin' MEAL - even at fast food restaurants... but because no one EATS dinner at fast food places, the following conversation happens all the time....
Clerk © Welcome to McDonald's will you be dining in, or taking out?
Me (F): I'll be eating here.
©: Then I'll take your order
(F): I'll have the BigMac set, large fries and large drink
©: And what drink would you like?
(F): I'll have the iced oolong tea.
©: Okay, will that be all?
(F): No, I'll also have a shaker salad with Ceasar Dressing...
©: Okay that will come to...
(F): ...and a 5-piece order of nuggets with Mustard sauce.
©:... uh, will that be all?
(F): Yes.
©: and that is for take out, right?

(F): I said, "I'll be eating here..."
©: Oh, yes, I'm sorry...

I have actually had one chick at Wendy's ask, and I told her, "FOR HERE" and after making me wait, she brings my order to my table IN BAGS ready to go... I showed her the receipt SHE punched into the register, that SHE gave to me, that says, "Ten-nai" (Eat in). DUH...

So, I guess the "normal" routine is this... go to a fast food restaurant for lunch, after eating lunch, throw everything that would be evidence that you ate there away, grab a cup of coffee, and sit there until dinner time, order dinner to go, and try to pry the seat in which your roots have sprouted into off your posterior before leaving...

Am I the only one that thinks this is crazy?
I'm just an ordinary average guy (Joe Walsh)
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#2

Speaking of fastfood... yoshinoya is the worst, man that shit is garbage.


anyways im a carl's jr guy. they make the best food out of the biggest fasfood chains, and unfortunately they don't have carl's jr/ hardees in japan. And i really hate mcdonalds their food feels too cheap even for fastfood.
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#3
<!--quoteo(post=211117:date=Sep 7 2008, 07:43 PM:name=gh3tt0nikkei)-->QUOTE(gh3tt0nikkei @ Sep 7 2008, 07:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->Speaking of fastfood... yoshinoya is the worst, man that shit is garbage.
anyways im a carl's jr guy. they make the best food out of the biggest fasfood chains, and unfortunately they don't have carl's jr/ hardees in japan. And i really hate mcdonalds their food feels too cheap even for fastfood.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
When I was in college, I used to eat at Yoshinoya's all the time. It was close by, and cheap. Nowdays, since they've added MORE garbage to their menu, in the form of Buta-don (pork bowl) curry rice, yakiniku, and various others, they have gone to hell... During the embargo on US beef that I believe Yoshinoya orchestrated with the Japanese government in order to introduce these other dishes, I was in Hong Kong, eating BEEF bowls that you couldn't get in Japan... but they served "set" menus with a beef bowl, salad, cup of soup, and a coke. NOBODY in this country drinks coke with rice dishes.
Carl's Jr. is good food... but I really miss "In & Out Burger" in LA... The potatoes were marvelous there. And the menu was simple. Never was a fan of Hardees, but I really wish they brought Taco Bell here. Any country that you find a KFC and/or Pizza Hut in, they will have at least one Taco Bell somewhere... Except in Japan... And what about Der Weinershnitzel? You just cannot find a DECENT hotdog in this country.
A friend of mine from England living in Hiroshima at the time said he always ate the H.Salt Esquire fish planks that they sold at KFC. I asked him if they were authentic, and his reply was, "Beggars can't be choosers..." It wasn't the BEST they had, it was ALL they had... I also miss Long John Silvers' fried clams...


I'm just an ordinary average guy (Joe Walsh)
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#4
Yeah In and Out is the best, their food is quality. in and out is like the only fastfood resturant where i would actually eat my food there, because it's so clean and has that nice 50's-60's feeling. And i always get their milk shakes they are so good, it's the best way to eat your burger and fries.

i would have mentioned in and out in my first reply but i didn't think anyone would known of that place. it's more of a regional restaurant, not really known world wide i think.




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#5
<!--quoteo(post=211120:date=Sep 7 2008, 08:46 PM:name=gh3tt0nikkei)-->QUOTE(gh3tt0nikkei @ Sep 7 2008, 08:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->i would have mentioned in and out in my first reply but i didn't think anyone would known of that place. it's more of a regional restaurant, not really known world wide i think.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Yeah, I hear that you can only find them in Southern California. I also heard that the owner has received many offers for expansion, and he's turned them all down for the reason that becoming a Corporation, would probably lower the level of quality and service. I knew about them well before I ever ate at one, so they are pretty famous for a local franchise...
And even though you see a lot of school kids at these fast food joints, you NEVER see them with their books and stuff spread out all over the table while they drink a single milkshake over a period of three, four hours or more...

I just love it when I go to the Doutor Coffee shop right next to the KFC by my house. I only go there on the weekends. I'll order a tall iced coffee, and the lady behind the counter informs me that they are crowded, so I might not be able to get a seat...

Uh... well gee... most of these people have bought a 150 yen cup of coffee that they have hardly touched for three hours while they read a book. I hope they don't believe it's crazy to read a book at home, because I do it all the time... Hell, sometimes I'll sip on some Oolong tea, or a Pepsi while I read... But I must be a fool, because you are supposed to read books while at coffee shops, not at home... So I'll tell the lady behind the counter, thanks for her concern, but what I will do, is find someone with an empty cup, and an ashtray runneth over, and ask if I can sit at the same table because there are no other tables available in the joint. They may give me a dirty look, but with the large iced coffee alone, I have probably paid TWICE what they did over two hours ago... so I should be able to sit alone for twice as long, right???

I remember once when I went into a Chinese restaurant for lunch with a couple of guys in the office - all of us smokers. This restaurant is probably the only place in the area that doesn't have a no-smoking section, and there's an ashtray at each table. We sit down next to a couple that has probably been sitting there for hours, at least the left-over food on their plate was starting to mold... Anyway, they weren't eating, so we all light up and have a smoke. I can hear the guy talking to his girlfriend about us coming into a restaurant, during lunch time, and smoking while others are eating...

Okkkkkaaaaaayyyyy.....

"Waiter, can I have an empty water glass please?"
Reach into my back pocket, pull out a can... open the can... one of the nastiest smells comes out of the can... I take a large pinch of the contents of the can, and place it between my lower lip and gum... Then I take the empty cup, and loudly and as gross as I possibly can, spit black into the cup. A couple minutes later, I let out another black bomb. Chewing tobacco between your cheek and gum - the best way to fake a grin...

The guy and his girlfriend hot-footed out of there quite promptly... I go to the restroom, rinse my mouth and the glass out, and have a nice peaceful lunch.

Isn't it nice that so many places try to provide smoke-free environments, yet people come to the non-smoke-free places and BITCH?
I'm just an ordinary average guy (Joe Walsh)
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#6
I only remember getting something at McDonald's 1x in Tokyo as a kid. It was even worse than the US burgers.
It had paprika in it or some spicy taste and I took 1 bite and said, mom- this doesn't taste right.
My bro concurred. That was the 1st and last American food attempt made during my stay in Japan.
Disappointing too because it was the only thing that remotely looked American. It was easy to stay the course on all the other Japanese foods that we hadn't tried for the rest of the trip. I remember trying to get an Iced Kohii out of my mom at the Hotel near the Narita airport. Back then in the 80's it was a $6 cup of joe.
I tried the BK in Bangkok (broccolli burger was excellent but $3).

To relive it... i wish.
[color="#dddd00"][center][size="1"][/size] [/center][center][size="1"]"for Zen's belief in Sudden illumination, a fleeting glimpse of existence just as it really is."[/size][/center][/color]
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#7
Damn, all this time I thought the sushi bar was the ultimate in fast food, if not one of the first. I gotta remember FG's Copenhagen trick. Used to chew a lonnng time ago, when the company I was working for told the smokers we couldn't smoke in public areas...a buncha greasy lookin' f*cks spittin' in styrofoam for about two days ended that charade.
[color="#0000FF"]Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak....or in some cases, post.[/color]
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#8
In n Out has spread out a bit more and you can find them all over Cali. There's a bunch in the Bay Area now, too. I've heard they've got one in Hawaii now, too, but I haven't bothered confirming [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif[/img]

(Little known fact - did you know that the owners of In n Out are very devout Christians? So devout, in fact, that there is a little Bible snippet on the bottom of each cup... It's pretty cool, actually. They don't shove their faith in your face so I don't care as long as they keep making those Double Doubles!)
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#9
<!--quoteo(post=211206:date=Sep 11 2008, 09:38 AM:name=hapacheese)-->QUOTE(hapacheese @ Sep 11 2008, 09:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->In n Out ...as long as they keep making those Double Doubles!...<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
If it were possible, I would have asked my friend from LA who flew in yesterday to bring me a couple of those...
Don't think they would taste quite the same after a 12 hour flight though...
I'm just an ordinary average guy (Joe Walsh)
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#10
Another thing that I see a lot at fast-food places and coffee shops here...

The place is crowded, there are about 5 or 6 people standing in line at the order counter. maybe 2 or 3 tables open for 5 or 6 people... Okay, by the time the last seat is occupied, someone will have left... wishfull thinking, I guess... People are standing inside the store with a tray, looking for a place to sit, while seated customers read their books, pound their cellular phones, play their PS Portable games, or listen to their portable stereo sets - TOTALLY oblivious to new customers who's coffee is getting cold while they wait for a seat to open - and they haven't taken a sip from their empty cup for hours...

And... to make matters worse, some of these occupied seats don't even have a buttocks on them yet because while 5 or 6 people are standing in line at the counter, a new customer walks in - goes straight to the seating area and leaves a bag or something of theirs on the table or chair - BEFORE even ordering anything... In the US, if the bag on the table wasn't stolen first, it certainly would be knocked off the table by the next person in line - first come, first serve, right? apparently not in this country.

And do the employees of the establishment DO anything about these self-centered idiots? Well, the one coffee shop I go to occasionally will inform me that the store is crowded, and I may have to wait for a place to sit... "Really???? You don't say!!!" Another nominee for the "DUH-win" award. Usually, by the time I get my order and need a seat, one opens up, but if not, I will go to the one table occupied by an ass-sprout who has an ashtray overflowing, and ask if I can sit at the empty seat at their table. If they are not waiting for someone, and after two boxes of cigarettes worth of waiting, I'd say the person is NOT coming anyway, they basically will not say "No". If they still won't leave, I'll sip whatever I'm drinking enough to swallow some air, and let out a belch. If that doesn't work, I'll lift one leg off the chair slightly, make a muscle-face, and then say, "Ahhhh..." really loud. If that doesn't work, I'll also smack my lips while eating, of course, belching at every chance I get, and then pick my teeth without covering my mouth, and make breathing noises in order to gross them out, enticing them to leave... but guess what? There are some Japanese older men who do that without concern for the crowd, or anyone else - it's natural behavior for them...

Furthermore, I have seen YOUNG Japanese guys who smack their lips while eating - can't be over 25, but "shmack shmack shmack" YUCK!!! Didn't your parents ever teach you manners? Come to think of it, I guess there are a lot of parents out there these days who don't... And what are manners to a self-centered idiot anyway?
I'm just an ordinary average guy (Joe Walsh)
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#11
<!--quoteo(post=211505:date=Sep 25 2008, 08:26 AM:name=FATguy)-->QUOTE(FATguy @ Sep 25 2008, 08:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->Furthermore, I have seen YOUNG Japanese guys who smack their lips while eating - can't be over 25, but "shmack shmack shmack" YUCK!!! Didn't your parents ever teach you manners? Come to think of it, I guess there are a lot of parents out there these days who don't... And what are manners to a self-centered idiot anyway?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


unfortunately, it is not considered impolite in Japan... my Greek friends ALWAYS freak out when we see Japanese people at reataurants who make huge noises while drinking their soups, having ramen etc etc.....

ok.. there are SOME foods that u really need to sack and make a bit of noise.. but a bit... no need to have it in Mega Hertz... [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif[/img]

I dont know.. western table manner and Japanese ones do differ a lot..

E.G. : What FREAKS ME out when in Japan is that u dont get a napkin for your legs or even enough napkins on the table .. they are TOO thin and small....
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#12
That reminds me of a Japanese movie I have seen called <i>Tanpopo</i>. There was a scene where a lady was teaching table manners to a group of ladies at a hotel restaurant. Each had a plate of spaghetti with meat sauce in front of them, and the lady was teaching them to twist their forks on a spoon and not make slurping noises while eating. While she was demonstrating, a foreign guy sitting closeby starts slurping his spaghetti as if there were no tomorrow. The ladies seeing this gradually start slurping, even the teacher starts a slurp-fest, and all the ladies leave with more meat-sauce on their faces and dresses than what went into their mouths.

In Japan, it is actually rude to NOT slurp noodles... It shows whoever made the noodles that they taste good enough to want to eat rapidly. That I can understand, but does smacking your lips while eating have the same effect? Does it taste better if you shmack shmack shmack? I don't think so...

Some of the customers I have shown around here from the US will want to try their ability to slurp like the Japanese people do. Some cannot do it all, others are professionals after a bowl or two of soba. Call me wierd, but when I eat spaghetti with chopsticks, I will roll the noodles up on the side of the plate, pick up the "pile" from both sides, and transport it to my trap so I won't need to slurp. And I always close my mouth while chewing... as a kid, if I didn't, my dad would slap me, so it's a habit, y'see...

I'm just an ordinary average guy (Joe Walsh)
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#13
Man what I would do for some Mosburger right now. I wish they had those over here, hmmmm
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#14
Heh... hadn't seen this thread before. The slurping of noodles and soups actually helps cool it down as you eat it, so that I can understand (though as a kid, I made the mistake of slurping my spaghetti at a restaurant, and everyone looked at me funny).

But yeah, people making smacking noises while they chew something is just annoying as hell.
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#15
*smack smack*
[url="http://sasasunakku.com"]Sasasunakku[/url]
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#16
I dont really mind the slurping in Japan.... (I hate it in Greece though)..but what does really annoy me is when the Japanese people over-slurping their food....

anyway.. I miss Japanese Fast food... I miss everything.. even combini ready made food.... anything

I havent been to Japan for 3-4 months now.. I think its time to go back... dont think Il be going though this year... [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif[/img] maybe in June...

blah-blah-blah...
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