I finally got a chance to visit the new American-style shopping mall that opened recently, called SMARK. Inside was a mix of Japanese and U.S. stores that offered a huge variety of products for consumers to buy, including Eddie Bauer,
Gap clone innovative Japanese clothing retailer UNIQLO, and other shops with names like HeartMarket, Dog Garden, and I's Palace. I smiled at a store called GENKI KIDS, but my daughter thought it was a great name. "Don't you know anything, Dad? It's really cool to write Japanese in romaji [the Roman alphabet]." We made sure to eat at Wendy's, the American fast-food restaurant famous for its square hamburgers, which is making a push into rural Japan in an effort to recreate the legendary success of "Kentucky" (as KFC is called in Japan). The menu was pretty much the same as back home, with the addition of a Teriyaki Burger, and the "regular" size Frosty was so small you practically had to eat it with chopsticks.
I finally got to eat at the Wendy's that recently opened near my house.