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Run for the border

40 Comments

Onlookers in Shibuya's Dogenzaka area dodge a media scrum and early birds lined up to get into Japan's first Taco Bell franchise on Tuesday morning. The lineup, which began a few hours before the the 10 a.m. opening time, stretched around the block to the Shibuya 109 building across from the station.

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Why?

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

The last time this was tried was in 1987 when Kent Gilbert, a former Mormon missionary turned big-time Japanese TV celebrity, paired up with Nissan Motors to open a chain to Taco Time (not Taco Bell) restaurants in Japan. Unfortunately for him, it flopped.

I actually think Taco Bell might succeed this time around — but I've been wrong before.

Anyway, here is a link to an article about the 1987 opening of Taco Time in Japan: http://goo.gl/QW8uXV

1 ( +5 / -4 )

As expected the crowds appear to be mostly foreigners (who have been waiting for this), and curious Japanese who have probably never had tex-mex before but want to try the latest bit of American culture, and just love to stand in line for stuff.

Hoping the one-time curiosity dies down soon so i can go and enjoy a cheap/fast burrito!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

OH GOD!!! I'M SO THERE!!! THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN!!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

loads of tex mex in japan,including some real low priced one... I reckon one year is what they got.... There was even a real nice looking one just near Tokkyu Hands couple years ago but flopped too .

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The same sight was witnessed at the nearest station toilets not long after this photo was taken.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

For Taco Bell? Really? That was always the last option if nothing else was open.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Tried Taco BelL out a few years ago and the food was pretty bad. Haven't been since. Anybody know if they picked up their game lately?

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

ah lining up, the great Japanese past time. must be good if that many people are waiting ... no!?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

May I offer my heartiest congratulations on the opening of the new Taco Bell franchise. Unfortunately what they serve is not authentic Mexican food. I don' know about now but in the beginning they sold imitations of the real thing and many Mexican businesses and people protested because they used prefabricated hard tortilla shells that tasted nothing like the real Mexican tacos. The Taco menu was also a mystery because they made up these unfamiliar names for the fake food. In other words the food served was completely different from real Mexican food and tasted funny and lacked value. Only time will tell whether they succeed.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Mac Donalds is closing lots of branches and a fellow junk food chain thinks its time to step in.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I've only heard of Taco Bell in "Demolition Man"... and after a Google search I doubt I would be bothering with them when I'm next in Japan. Maybe suit the Pringles generation more, but I would prefer a nice portion of fish and chips any day :D

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I'm sure most of us here just make our own when the urge hits us. I go all out and fry my own shells. Much better than that thin crap TB serves. The only thing I'm hoping for is a surge of Mexican restaurants all over the country in the coming years. I love the look on the faces when I pull out a big bowl of guacamole.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

afanofjapan: I don't know if I would call the crowd 'mostly foreigners' in terms of those lined up. There are two people who look non-Asian, but that's all we can see. True, they would likely be the ones more informed about Taco Bell opening up and waiting for it, though.

Taco Bell is among the worst offenders in terms of junk food and how bad it is for you -- but I would love a soft taco with their hot sauce right now! Along with Wendy's not rushing back to Kansai, I doubt this will be here any time soon. I'll have to stick to making my own, I guess, which while healthier and a whole lot better, lacks completely of the 'convenient' part.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I can smash a Family Pack (10x tacos) in one sitting :) Can't wait for this!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Taco Bell is a terrible example of trash food, it is a curiosity in Japan but the glow will soon fade. There is so much better food in Japan it is beyond words.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Yes, they'll be queues while it's the latest trend, and then they'll be off to wait for hours elsewhere when a new rusk or roll cake comes along. Baaaaaa.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Plenty of good TexMex in Japan already. this is just because it is new and hyped.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Good luck!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Sensato: Taco Bell has been in Japan before, back in the late '80s. Even El Pollo Loco was here. <>http://articles.latimes.com/1988-07-22/business/fi-7552_1_taco-bell

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I love me some Pollo Loco!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is it bad for you? ...Yes, but not so bad if you only eat it once in a while.

Is it Mexican food? ...It's as much Mexican as california rolls are Japanese!

Do I like it? ...Oh God yeah.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Taco Bell, or as Americans call it, Toxic Hell.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I don't like Taco Bell, but I can appreciate that when you're far away from home, for a long time, any taste of home can be a good one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That's right wontond. Taco Bell aint all that. But a few cheap crunchy tacos "hits the spot" after a bar hopping or a happy hr session.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is very interesting news. As a person born and bred in California, Taco Bell is everywhere. And yes, once in awhile, it's something different than the usual burger. Wish them well. It is the 3rd or 4th largest restaurant chain after McDonald's. Having said that, I really truly believe sadly they will have a tough time in Japan. Many Japanese are not as open to Mexican-style food, cilantro, beans might be a little off putting. I have seen so many times when we would go to restaurants or have parties whenever there was Mexican food served, especially if it had beans in it, more than often they would everything but the beans or not as much and I think I'm right, after seeing the Japanese menu none of the Japanese menu items have beans in them and the selection is very small, but from a strategic marketing point of view, it might be better that way to start off small. If it works they just might succeed and to all the fast food haters out there, you don't have to eat there and NO one is saying it's the best food, it's fast food or you have to eat it 3 times a day, 7 days a week. Every now and then, why not? There is nothing wrong with it and competition is great, especially in the food business. Also TB is really good after a full night of heavy partying, a couple of crunchy tacos will always hit the spot!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yes, bass4funk, you are right about the beans. Chili with just a handful of beans in it is what you find if you look at Japanese chili recipes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mexicans try Taco Bell, with mixed results (most aren't impressed)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWSOiZrs3oA

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tried Taco BelL out a few years ago and the food was pretty bad. Haven't been since. Anybody know if they picked up their game lately?

They've tried different things such as the "Cantina" series which were chef-inspired dishes that expanded the menu beyond basic tacos and burritos. They are a "OK once in a blue moon" thing for me. But too healthy. Too much veggies and not enough MEAT! Grrr Chomp Nom Nom!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

in our area in USA, TV ad of Taco Bell offer Taco with your choice of fillings. Picture od how different ingredient Taco fillings.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Of course mexicans dnt like TB.

In CA, where I'm from, TB is the "last resort" especially if its a 24 drive-thru. That, or Del Taco 24 hr drive-thru. There plenty of other "real" mex-food restaurants to gorge @ too. (Pollo Loco- Thanks 4 the shout-out Senei258!)

Most Americans can cook decent mex food themselves. & the ingredients are fresh/abundant @ most supermarkets.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mexicans try Taco Bell, with mixed results (most aren't impressed)

They don't have to be, it's not Mexican food. TB wasn't invented or marketed to please only Mexicans.

Of course mexicans dnt like TB. In CA, where I'm from, TB is the "last resort" especially if its a 24 drive-thru. That, or Del Taco 24 hr drive-thru. There plenty of other "real" mex-food restaurants to gorge @ too. (Pollo Loco- Thanks 4 the shout-out Senei258!) Most Americans can cook decent mex food themselves. & the ingredients are fresh/abundant @ most supermarkets.

Exactly! So, so true. But if Japan really want to make a huge hit, I do think bringing in "El Pollo Loco" would catch on fast. It's light, delicious and simple and its chicken, not heavy on the spices and great on flavor!

Eat American toxic junk, get cancer.

You can get that anywhere, even in Japan. There are places here where I question the food at times as well. Can't be too careful about anything.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You want Mexican, in Japan?

Okinawa.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No wonder. About 33-37% of GI's stationed there are of mex or latin american descent.

So tell me. How good are the Tortas there? If any at all? What about the Pozole?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes. This is Taco Bell.

I used to live in Texas and I think it is suppose to be Taco Villa. Taco Villa is so great. Mex food is so great. I want tons of them in Japan!

Taco Bell. Is it as good as Taco Villa? Taco Bell sounds like New York to me. and I'm a Texan. I want Taco Villa.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Taco Bell was started in California. It still has its headquarters there.

Of course mexicans dnt like TB.

Where I live in Virginia, there is a high number of Hispanic families. In the local Taco Bell, the typical ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic customers at any given time hovers around 9:1. Maybe they're not from Mexico, or haven't gotten the memo that they're not supposed to like it? Regardless, they seem quite happy with the food.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here is their menu. Not a lot, but still better than nothing, if it turns out to be popular, they might expand its menu selection, but I don't expect anything with beans to be there soon. What gets me is TB serving fries, that's a new twist.

http://tacobell.co.jp/#menu

1 ( +1 / -0 )

CrisGerSan: "it is a curiosity in Japan but the glow will soon fade."

There's just as much garbage available at Japanese chains as there are chains introduced by the US, and they'll only fade when the former do -- which means never. Some don't catch on as well as McD's, of course, but junk food is not exactly a passing fad or anything. It'll spread, and it'll prosper to an extent. It won't by any means replace healthier, better food.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I went to this place and liked it-

http://members3.jcom.home.ne.jp/pancho2/e-index.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, Himajin, Pancho Villa's is pretty good.

Taco Bell is what it is : fast food. Yes, it's not hard to make much better tex-mex yourself at home, but Taco Bell is a welcome alternative to McDoo. I look forward to seeing more locations open and hopefully replace some other fast food outlets. I'd also like to see dine-in Pizza Huts. But, for now, I'd love a Burrito Supreme or three.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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