Arriving in Tokyo by night bus at 6 o’clock in the morning, I had nowhere to go as every shop was closed. By chance I luckily got to Meiji Jingu Shrine after roaming around a bit so I stayed there until 8.30 am. You can’t hang around a shrine for more than a couple hours so I moved to Harajuku but shops were still not open yet and more than that, I was knacked after the long journey and needed a rest.
In Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities, it’s very hard to even find a toilet and if you don’t have much money, you have literally nowhere to have a rest. There is no bench or fence to sit on. In Tokyo, you have to be always smart from your clothes to behaviour and so you have to keep on walking and walking.. You are always surrounded by a tremendous number of people and too many tall grey buildings wherever you go. Especially if you have to wait for someone or something for a long time, you will become a nomad.
Being in the din and bustle of Tokyo for a while, my only yesterday’s memory of warmth I spent with my family in Nara entirely faded away, and I was staggering along a street in Harajuku and just before I was about to faint, I was given a handbill of McCafe from a young girl. I looked up, and there was a shiny McDonald’s. I whispered to myself, “Oh.. God.. I’m saved..”
I went into the McDonald’s/McCafe as I had no choice, and I had a brilliant time there. I ordered the M size of a cup of latte (￥230, about £1.77) and my coffee was made with a proper coffee machine.
I sat down at a table, and I found a double socket on it. I didn’t try but probably WIFI was available there too. I spent ￥230, but you can alternatively choose an even cheaper coffee for ￥100, about £0.77.
That McDonald’s was a three storey building and you can find even more seats upstairs and some of them are quite good seats, not like the ones in the picture. Of course there are toilets too.
I stayed there for about an hour and regained my energy. Since I got saved by McDonald’s, I was naturally looking for one wherever I was for the rest of my stay in Tokyo. As I don’t have a smart phone so when I was walking in the city looking for McDonald’s, I felt as if I was wandering in a desert looking for an oasis.
Here are two good things about McDonald’s that I rediscovered;
1. You can have the same service regardless of the rent of the place. Even in the centre of Tokyo, a cup of coffee is still ￥100 (£0.77) and it comes with a seat, socket, WIFI, and toilet.
2. The detachedness of the staff allows you to stay in a McDonald’s as long as you want. It’s 24 hours open so it even works as a shelter or safety net.
What makes McDonald’s possible to do so are their capital and infrastructure set up worldwide.
Occupy Wall Street, post-capitalist theories, I have seen so many anti-capitalism opinions recently, but last week in Tokyo, one of the centres of “capitals”, I witnessed the true potential of capitalism and I actually got saved by it.
To draw a conclusion, we shouldn’t merely avoid this firm with the hope that it will collapse, but we should rather try to re-recognise the significance of it and re-consider it in a new way to re-use it to let it have a chance to change into something better.
I cannot agree with McDonald’s about applying mass production and automation to raising and killing animals so maybe making a “dedicated” vegetarian/vegan burger could be the first step?