Thursday, May 19, 2016

McDonald's Memories

McDonald's doesn't seem to have the same appeal here in Japan as it does in the US.  One of my high school age English students once told me to look at the parking lot - empty.  

Ted and I ate breakfast at a McDonald's in Okinawa and I sometimes bought a cup of (cheap) coffee at McDonald's when I was in Sapporo, but because I don't eat meat, I don't care so much about eating there. 

My first evening here in my new place, I was walking around looking for a grocery store and not finding one, so I decided to eat at McDonald's.  I ordered a fish sandwich meal (sandwich, fries, drink) and it was 610 yen.   

Eating the fish sandwich brought back memories from a long time ago. In the mid-90's, I lived in Indiana and volunteered with Senior Services in the Friendly Visitor program.  I was matched up with an elderly woman in my area.  We became good friends and did many things together - going to museums, taking a senior exercise class twice a week, going on bus trips to other areas in Indiana, eating out, etc.  We sometimes went to a McDonald's mid-afternoon, after the lunch rush.  She would order a fish sandwich and get a free senior citizen drink.  I would order the fish meal and we would share the fries.  We always ordered no tartar sauce so we would get a freshly  made sandwich, not one that had been sitting there (her idea).  Her hearing was not good and as a result she often spoke louder than necessary, without knowing how loud she was speaking.  One afternoon, we were the only people in the dining area and there were a lot of fries on the floor under our table.  My friend was commenting loudly about how messy the place was and about the fries sticking to her shoes.  A teenage employee suddenly appeared with a broom and cleaned up under our table.  When she was gone, my friend said, you know, it was almost like they heard us.  I just smiled, thinking I'm sure they heard us!  

My friend and I did many things together over the years before she moved to the nursing home, where she died.  My meal the other day was just so-so, but it brought back memories of my friend Lula, so that was good!


  1. This is a beautiful story. thank you for sharing.

  2. A touching story.
    When McDonalds first opened in Japan, it soon became a boom. For mothers a way to skip cooking lunch, for kids a totally different taste from miso soup and 'onigiri', for the elderly a cheap and sure place to entertain the grandchildren - and they soon found the soft bun was easy to chew. Then came food scandals with 'strange' things in the burgers, a new trend in healthy eating and other burger chains making 'Japanese' burgers (rice burgers etc). It can't be easy to break into another country's food culture, the Japanese especially want to interpret their own way of how things should taste. Lemon pizza and spaghetti topped with sea weed...

  3. Lovely story Pamela. Sad to say, McDonalds is THE most popular restaurant in France - so much for French good taste and cuisine!

  4. What a touching story and sweet memories.

  5. Hi Pamela
    It's nice when certain things trigger memories. I live in Northern Indiana near South Bend. Where did you live. You talk about going to museums so I suspect it was in a larger city.

    McDonald's is not what they used to be here in MY area. The prices are expensive. the other day my elderly sis wanted me to pick up a couple of sandwiches for her (I think she freezes them). 3 fish, 3 big mac, small fries and small shake was $25. Terry and I choose to eat a meal at a locally owned restaurant instead of fast food. If we want fast food, we choose Wendy's or Culver's. They sure beat McDonalds in quality.
    xx, Carol

  6. What a touching story. (((Hugs)))