In the 1840s, tens of thousands of immigrants descended upon California seeking gold to make their fortune. Might Japanese youths looking to flip burgers be next?

It’s a facetious thought, but Japanese media is nonetheless all agog to learn that, thanks to new legislation, workers in fast-food restaurants in the Golden State may soon earn $22 an hour. At current yen levels, that amounts to nearly ¥3,300 — or close to four times Japan’s average minimum wage.

At 40 hours a week, that salary would be double what new graduates of Japan’s finest universities could expect to receive at the nation’s prestigious megabanks. One commentator said the discrepancy made working in Japan "seem stupid.”