In a discussion with my students today about what they do in a day, we touched on the topic of food and hamburger. When it comes to burgers, McDonald’s（マックドナルド）, a company that occupies the biggest share of the fast food market around the globe, would usually come up. Except for McDonald’s, there’re many other names which are also linked to burgers: Burger King, Hardees, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Hungry Jacks, KFC, but they’re relatively less wellknown in Japan and my students.
McDonald’s still number one
Burgers are especially important when you live in or travel to Japan as a foreigner, if sushi(寿司), ramen(ラーメン), and udon (うどん) aren’t your cup of tea. The thing is, you won’t be able to find an affordable restaurant in which you can eat genuine western food in Japan as easily as you are in the west. Even if you see a restaurant which says burger or steak, the so called western food may well has been Japanized to suit the taste of locals. MOS burger is a typical example. Though everything in the restaurant looks similar to a typical western styled burger restaurant like McDonald, once you check out their menu you will find burgers like Teriyaki (照り焼き)burger, Ebi(海老) burger (shrimp burgers), Rice burger, etc which aren’t in the menu of a truly western restaurant.
Don’t suggest McDonald’s for breakfast!
Let’s get back to the subject today. As students and I were thinking about what to eat for brekkie in a topic for conversation practice, I came up with McDonald’s and it instantly raised a big disagreement from the crowd. I didn’t understand why at that moment. We are used to eating brekkie, lunch, and dinner at McDonald’s since we were born so I didn’t see what’s so wrong with a brekkie in McDonald’s. After a while, I suggested eating McDonald’s again for brekkie and I was NOed again.
I talked with some of the teachers after the lesson and they said it’s unusual for Japanese to eat burgers, especially meat, in the morning. If you think pancake may be okay as it isn’t meat you’re wrong. As you may have noticed after reading my blog for a while, Japanese people are so into rice and they eat it in every meal, including their brekkie.
With this super high loyalty towards rice, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the prices of rice cookers and it’s complement, rice, top the world.
Little information: A pack of 5kg rice in Japan costs at least 1700yen, which is roughly 22USD! There is no grade differentiation with respect to rice variety, origin, etc in Japan.