Thursday, May 15, 2014

Protest reaches Japan: Fair pay sought for fast food workers

Fair pay sought for fast food workers

What constitutes a fair wage?  According to these protesters, it's 1500 yen.  I'm going to defer to their opinion.  Someone has to do these jobs.  It's easy enough to say, "Get a higher paying job," but corn knows people are going to eat at McDonald's, especially here in Japan where there's a Makku every twenty meters or so (just kidding-- it's more like 80 meters).  And if getting a higher paying job were as easy as some think it is, then we'd all be CEOs getting multi-million dollar bonuses.  To me, it seems quite reasonable that the folk who provide the service in fast food restaurants where a mob of people dine almost all day and all night should be paid enough to eat the food they dish, at the very least.  I know fast food wages and the minimum wage in general have been hot topics in the US, and now it looks as though at least one of those may be here in Japan.  Of course, I don't know yet how widespread this is, so I'm hedging with weasel words here.

People tend to see Japan as a homogenous whole, including quite a few Japanese people I've talked to during my time here.  But people do get pissed about a lot of the same things that piss off citizens of my home country, and when pissed, they get out and make some noise and disturb the group harmony.  Shake up the general complacency that comes so easily here.  War, nuclear weapons, fair wages, taxes.  Once, I was in Shibuya when a parade against war came by.  They sized me up as the American I so obviously am, but did they give me the stink eye?  No, I got a lot of smiles, greetings and peace signs.  I flashed the peace sign back, too.  My country may bomb the shit out of the world on the slightest provocation, but I'm for peace.  There are also protests against US military bases on occasion.  Japan has its right wingers, too, who protest their pet causes, none of which I'll dignify by even mentioning.

All that aside, I'm pretty sure I've eaten at this specific McDonald's.  If it's the one located where I'm thinking of.  Man, there are so many McDonald's in Tokyo it's hard to tell!

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