McDonald’s Japan celebrates its 50th birthday by recreating the scene on opening day at its first restaurant in Tokyo.

Tuesday marked 50 years to the day since the opening of the first McDonald’s branch in Japan. Customers at the McDonald’s in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood on July 20, 1971 were the first in the nation to taste the chain’s Bic Macs, fries, and shakes.

To celebrate the anniversary, McDonald’s Japan is taking a loving look back with an awesome commercial that recreates the scene on opening day. Not only does the video replicate the way the restaurants, employee uniforms, and even packaging looked in 1971, but the fashions of the era too, with a huge number of actors and actresses in period-appropriate clothing and hairstyles.

▼ A photo from the Ginza opening in 1971

▼ A still from the video’s recreation

We soon see the star of the commercial, a young girl on a date who’s sitting at a table while her boyfriend waits in the long line to get them some hamburgers. When the actress was interviewed about how it felt to dress up in this ‘70s style, you might expect her to describe it as “retro” or “old-school,” but the word she chose was “nostalgic,” because she’s actually being played by Japanese actress Yoshiko Miyazaki, who’s 62 years old!

▼ Yoshiko Miyazaki

▼ Also Yoshiko Miyazaki

There’s actually a bittersweet story going on as the video starts. When the boy gets back to their table with their burgers, the schoolgirl-age Miyazaki (who, again, is actually the 62-year-old Miyazaki), refuses to take even a single bite of her Big Mac. “You’re not going to eat, after we came all the way here?” asks her date, but young Miyazaki simply nods her head with a tense smile and strained laugh.

The awkward mood lingers as the boy eats his meal, and when he’s finished, they part ways. “Well, goodbye…” says the boy, and young Miyazaki watches his back as he walks away, her own expression silently starting to melt into sadness.

We then cut to the present day, where the visibly 62-year-old Miyazaki is sitting in a modern McDonald’s with a different teen boy, who asks her “But Grannie, why didn’t you eat it?”

“I mean, I was embarrassed!” she tells her grandson. “How could I eat such a huge thing in front of a guy I liked?” she explains. But this just prompts another question, since she’s apparently gotten over her self-consciousness about opening wide for a bite of Big Mac. “Well then, what about in front of Grandpa?” the boy asks, to which older Miyazaki says “I don’t feel embarrassed at all! I wonder why that is?” with a warm chuckle.

That doesn’t mean grandma Miyazaki doesn’t love her husband, though. Suddenly, there’s a knock on the window, and it’s Grandpa, with their granddaughter in tow. Miyazaki smiles and waves at them before they join the pair at their table and make it a party of four.

“Huh…so if the Bic Mac had been a little smaller, I wouldn’t be here,” the grandson muses.

▼ The commercial’s “making of” video

In 1971, Miyazaki herself was still living in Kyushu, on the opposite side of the country from Tokyo, so she didn’t personally eat at the Ginza McDonald’s on its first day. However, McDonald’s Japan says the commercial’s plot is based on a true story from one of its customers. It’s a sweet reminder that sometimes what feels like heartbreak in the moment isn’t really a romantic setback, but part of the winding road on the way to finding someone you can feel truly happy and comfortable with, and we can’t help but wonder if one day we’ll hear about a love that bloomed in part because of the McDonald’s caramel macaron burger we created.

Source: YouTube/マクドナルド公式(McDonald’s) via Fieldcaster, McDonald’s Japan
Top image: YouTube/マクドナルド公式(McDonald’s)
Insert images: McDonald’s Japan, YouTube/マクドナルド公式(McDonald’s)
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