For more than a week now, Wendy’s has been gone from Japan, due to licensing issues with the parent company in Japan and the Wendy’s/Arby’s International group who would have to issue permission for the parent company (Zensho Co. LTD) in Japan to continue to license out the Wendy’s name and products. Naturally, I was pretty upset about it. But it just makes it all the more easier to reflect on it, now.
So, let’s start by counting down all the Wendy’s restaurants I had been to and I’ll order them by favorite.
1. Shinjuku Wendy’s (Shinjuku District, Tokyo)
2. Namba Wendy’s (Namba District, Osaka)
3. Rokko Island Wendy’s (Kobe)
4. Hyogo Station (Hyogo Ward, Kobe)
5. Shin-Kobe (Kobe)
6. Sannomiya Wendy’s (Sannomiya District, Kobe)
7. Umeda Wendy’s (Umeda District, Osaka)
As going to Wendy’s wasn’t a huge priority when I was in Tokyo last month, I only re-visited the Shinjuku Wendy’s, and unfortunately didn’t get to visit any others (walked by the Hamamatsucho one, though). Wondering some of the reasoning behind my order? These happen to be the only 7 I’ve been to, by the way. I had hoped to have had gone to at least 8 so I could say I had been to at least 10% of the Wendy’s in Japan (there were 71). But I guess 9% is good enough.
The Shinjuku one definitely had the best atmosphere. That is another reason I had hoped to visit some of the others in Tokyo-hoping for a similar atmosphere. The Namba one was close in atmosphere and also had very quick service. The Rokko Island one was the best one in Kobe, I think. Another great atmosphere, and I appreciated having the bar-style seats available since I went there by myself twice.
The Hyogo Station one and the Shin-Kobe one were about the same. They were relatively average-nothing too special about either; but I still felt they were better than the Sannomiya one, which is the one I ended up frequenting the most, usually out of convenience. The Sannomiya one, however, was small, cramped and perhaps the worst part was the smoking and non-smoking section being horribly separated. The Umeda one was the worst probably because it just didn’t feel spectacular in any way. It was underground, which didn’t help, but it felt the least ‘special’ of any of them. Needless to say, despite me going back to Umeda more than once after, I had never bothered to go back to that Wendy’s.
A natural follow-up question to this post even existing would be “Why”? Well, I’m glad you asked. I love Wendy’s. In America, I always go to Wendy’s whenever I think of fast-food. And I have practically every option in the book less than 5 minutes from my house: KFC, Taco Bell, Chipotle, McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. But Wendy’s will always prevail. I will only go to any of the other ones if somebody else is already going. Never would another option prevail if I have the choice of Wendy’s. In Ohio, I almost always have the choice of Wendy’s, fortunately.
Now, I could talk about Wendy’s a heck of a lot more here. But I can talk about Wendy’s anytime. For me, I had to find a substitute. If I couldn’t have Wendy’s in Japan, what would I have whenever I went out? I found several good options. It just depends on the dish. For ramen, definitely Tenkaippin. So good. For gyoza, Oshoo has great deals and great tasting-gyoza. For gyuudon, the choice became Nakau after I went there once with a friend in Tokyo. Love their tonkatsu don. For okonomiyaki, it’s Big Kid in Sannomiya; apparently a Kobe specialty. There happen to be 3 in the same block, 2 of them underground (unless I saw the same one twice underground, but they seemed to be in different spots). And for general meat products, there’s Big Boy. I have never had Big Boy in America, but it’s quite good here.
So I’m at a loss of Wendy’s, which can never fully be replaced. But I have so many other options, and they’re all mostly Japanesey. And there’s also Mister Donut for a nice snack (had gone on a MisDo hiatus, but have been eating it more recently in an attempt to gain some weight). And if Wendy’s stays gone for a while, maybe I can just become the next president of Wendy’s in Japan, who knows? Could be exciting!