TGS 2009: Jones and Teti go to a McDonald's
Yesterday Teti and I decided to go to the 24-hour McDonald's across from our hotel.
As usual, I managed to communicate with the Japanese-speaking counter girl by pointing at pictures on the menu and making eating and drinking motions with my hands. I always feel like a chimp in a Jane Goodall study in these moments.
I noticed a tall, cardboard cut-out of an extremely nerdy looking man, complete with the cliche dark eyeglasses, the over-combed hair, and the shirt tucked into his hiked-up pants.
Here, take a look.
Teti leans over my shoulder as I complete my arm-waving transaction with the counter-girl. He points at the cardboard cut-out and whispers, "THEY THINK THAT'S YOU."
He wasn't kidding. This guy is actually a mascot for the controversial Nippon All-Stars campaign here in Japan. The mascot's name is "Mr. James," and apparently he appears in McDonald's commercials talking about how much he loves the Japanese version of McDonald's food.
I did some reasearch and found that there's been a pretty severe backlash against McDonald's and Mr. James.
One backlash leader writes: "To illustrate the issue more clearly, would McDonald’s USA (or
McDonald’s in any other country, for that matter) choose to promote,
for example, a new rice dish with a ching-chong Chinaman saying, 'Me
likee McFlied Lice!?' Of course not." (You can read the rest of his post here.)
Teti and I took our trays of food upstairs and found seats. He had a normal sandwich on his tray, but he also had a small paper bag. I asked him what was in the bag. He was flustered. "I don't know what the hell I ordered," he said. Inside the bag he found a patty of fried chicken. We both started laughing. The directions on the bag showed you how to pour in a topping--in Teti's case, it was a cheese-flavored topping--then close the bag and shake it vigorously, then open and enjoy your cheese-covered patty. But his bag was all destroyed already. So he poured a little cheese on the edge of his patty and began eating it, and the two of us sat there, feeling very much like a pair of Mr. Jameses.