McDonalds Refugee Camp

After the 101 Tokyo opening last night (and before the 102 Tokyo Art opening), Jean Snow, Brad D., and I stopped into a Suehirocho Mickey Ds to eat some eco-unfriendly and inexpensive food-units. (Have you tried this “Big” Mac thing they have? It’s huge!)

We were seated next to a conspiciously-filthy group of vagrant-looking older Japanese men and women, who were drifting in and out of sleep and looked to have been camping out in those seats for the entire Fukuda prime minister-ship. Suddenly, the younger woman of this collective pulls out an enormous needle, and as we were fleeing, administered the older guy of the group an insulin shot as he laid down.

Needles and vagrants at a McDonalds? What is this — New York? I am not going to extrapolate this one anecdote into proof of Japanese economic collapse, but I almost feel like Tokyo’s less pleasant underbelly is starting to stick out a bit more, especially in downtown areas. The clerks are still perky young nationals, but the Japanese fast food environment may possibly be on its way to becoming as unpredictable as in other countries.

W. David MARX
April 3, 2008

11 Responses

  1. M-Bone Says:

    “The clerks are still perky young nationals, but the Japanese fast food environment may possibly be on its way to becoming as unpredictable as in other countries.”

    I’m not going to share the unpleasant details, but I saw worse than this at a Shinjuku Mickey D’s in 2001 and a pretty bad scene in a Shibuya one in 2002…. Things have been going downhill for a while. I like living in the inaka….

  2. W. David MARX Says:

    I just want to say for the record that I consider this “unpleasantness” pretty normal for what fast-food is in big cities.

    There was this Taco Bell on Delancey back in the days, with bullet proof glass, that pretty much blew your mind in terms of how everything that could go wrong would.

  3. joseph Says:

    It might just be more homeless migrating to Tokyo as Spring begins.

    My waiter at Tofuro burped right in front of me without so much as an apology this week as well. Is it time to say recession?

  4. Rory P. Wavekrest Says:

    Guys, this dude at a Doutor farted once–we’re fucked!

    …I want McD’s to release a “MINI-MAC”

  5. W. David MARX Says:

    Marketing analyst from TBC Consultants Yumiko Fujihara is more skeptical: “I don’t think the Mega Mac will do well in Japan, because Japanese consumers don’t like to eat large foods.”

    A year later…

    Marketing analyst from TBC Consultants Yumiko Fujihara is more skeptical: “I don’t think the Mini Mac will do well in Japan, because Japanese consumers don’t like small foods.”

  6. Rory P. Wavekrest Says:

    I’m telling ya, it would be huge!
    あれ? (waka waka waka)

  7. M-Bone Says:

    “I just want to say for the record that I consider this “unpleasantness” pretty normal for what fast-food is in big cities.”

    Yeah, as bad as my McExperience has been in Japan from time to time, going to one in a big city in Canada can be like a trip to the zoo. I saw someone smoke crack in a McDonalds….

  8. feffrey Says:

    Personally, I’ve seen the same scene in the basement of the MCD’s by Akasaka Mitsuke station and at another in Ikebukuro. The common thread is the 24 hour shops, and the fact that those squatting are likely someone’s grandparents. I guess 850 yen an hour isn’t enough to get the staff to hassle them enough to leave.

  9. d.b. crump Says:

    holy shit, old poor people in shitamachi? unreal. next thing your going to making posts about seeing well-dressed rich people walking around Ikejiri Ohashi.

    newsflashes for days.

  10. W. David MARX Says:

    Hello, Mr. Sarcastic – Japan is a perfectly middle-class society with no rich or poor people! Get with the program!

  11. Kim Jong-il Hater Says:

    “Needles and vagrants at a McDonalds? What is this — New York?”

    New York doesn’t have many druggies hanging around McDonald’s and other fast food joints. I’ve seen some wierd people at Dunkin Donuts cursing at the wall then deciding to take their shirt off and do push-ups on Chambers St., but not nothing serious. New York’s cleaned up a lot since the early 90′s.