I’m safely back in Japan, the land where everything is extremely clean and well-ordered. Now I’m trying to get used to the incredible heat and humidity that was waiting to greet me, and keep my jet lag at bay long enough to finish this update…”Do they have McDonald’s in America?” This is a question an adult student of mine asked me once, and it was a strange one, since what could be more American than Big Macs and Happy Meals? Yet somehow the student had been sure McDonald’s was a Japanese chain. It can be surprisingly easy to get the wrong idea about famous companies. A Japanese friend I knew decided to become an engineer so he could work for “the famous American company, Sony” (as a child he’d assumed that since Sony wrote its name in English, they must be American), and I myself spent several years certain that Motorola was a Japanese company for some reason. Sometimes this brand confusion is due to the companies themselves. You may think of Häagen-Dazs as a purveyor of delicious ice cream from Denmark, but the brand actually came from The Bronx, New York, and the name is just clever marking. When anti-Japan riots seized China last year, a mob burned down a “Japanese” Samsung factory, convinced thanks to the company’s advertising that it was a Japanese brand. Have you ever gotten confused about what country a certain company is from?
“Do they have McDonald’s in America?”