Friday, July 21, 2006

The World's Dirtiest McDonald's

has to be the one in Denenchofu. No matter when I go there, it is always filthy. Early morning or late at night, it makes no difference. Floors are covered with pieces of paper, dirt, cigarette butts and who knows what else. The tables appear to be sloppily wiped off about once every 30 customers. Naturally, this being Japan, the smoking and non-smoking sections are in the same room. In fact, the tables are side-by-side with no ventilation. What's the point? (anyway, I will bet that I can find some nihonjinron nutter who claims that cigarette smoking is a Japanese tradition and them thar foreigners and Japanese non-smokers should leave traditional smokers alone.) It's usually filled with a bunch of loud, ill-mannered junior high and high school punks anyway. I try to avoid it, but it is open late and cheap. Just have to eat dirt and breath smoker-shit.

In contrast, the Denenchofu KFC is sparkling clean. Most every KFC I have been to in any country has been in some state of filthiness. Not this one.

Starbucks. I am not a Starbucks hater. In fact, it is pretty good for the price. You can get tasteless fake coffee here in smoke-filled Dotours for more. (I mean it. It has no coffee taste for me. Just a warm brownish liquid with an undefinable taste.) You can get a cup of instant for more than $5 too. You can go to Tullys and get good coffee, however, some have smoking rooms without doors (does the word idiotic fit here?) so you have to inhale smoker-shit with your coffee.

But one of the Starbucks in Jiyugaoka is pretty bad. No, it's clean. Its coffee is typical Starbucks, but sometimes it seems as if they ran out of Starbucks coffee and substituted weak instant coffee---or even worse, it tastes like Dotours coffee. But its food is always dried out and hard as a rock. It isn't really fit to eat. Now Starbucks could never be accused of having good food. In fact, at best some of it is barely edible. But at this Starbucks they set the standard for old, stale, possibly decaying fake food. It's not the one near the station, but the one close to UFJ bank. I complained once. I even filled out the "How are we doing" form. I suspect since my Japanese isn't perfect, that form was used to provide entertainment for the staff.

Another nice thing about Starbucks is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a seat. People will buy a small coffee and then study or chat for 3-4 hours or more. During test season they get filled with students studying for hours and buying nearly nothing. Some, such as the one in the Takashimaya Dept. store in Futakotamagawa even put up signs asking students not to stay for such a long time. They ignore those signs. The staff, this being Japan, does nothing.

I have lessons in Starbucks sometimes, and when I do and I will be there for over an hour, I buy more accordingly. It is only fair, I am using space that they could use for other paying customers. However, at the Jiyugaoka Starbucks, I sure can't buy food, so its gotta be more coffee.

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