McDonald’s Japan has been marketing itself in unique ways recently, such as using a parody of a gaijin called Mr. James in its commercials, which amused Japanese and angered some foreigners and generally succeeded at getting people talking about the company’s quasi-food products. Their newest idea is the Big America Burger series, four giant hamburgers named after different parts of the U.S. The current offering is the mighty Texas Burger loaded with barbecue sauce and bacon, soon to be followed by the New York Burger, the California Burger, and exotic Hawaiian Burger. The key idea is BIG, since the company knows from its past successes that Japanese consumers will buy oversized hamburgers, and it’s only natural to tie this concept to America itself. The Japanese perception of United States is that everything is big, from houses to cars and various body parts, and every foreigner is automatically assumed to be taller than every Japanese by default. Back in my ESL days I’d visit someone’s home to teach their kids, and the mothers would apologize for their “small house,” which I always found amusing since the house was often larger than mine back in San Diego.
The Japanese associate America with “BIG.”