Starbucks in Japan
Starbucks has got to be one of the most clever food franchises in the world, right up there with McDonald's. I've been to Starbucks in four different countries now, and while each Starbucks had similar decor and the same basic drink selection, they all had a beverage or souvenir or something unique to that country. Japan, for instance, offers a green tea frappucino and drink tumblers with designs featuring the most famous cities in Japan: Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo, etc. Starbucks in Japan also has seasonal drinks in some... interesting flavors. The most recent weird drink is the Coffee Jelly Frappucino. It's a regular blended ice coffee drink, but with coffee-flavored jello in the bottom. Japanese use the word "jelly" (they pronounce it zeri-) for "jello" or "gelatin." When I was at Starbucks yesterday, the clerks were handing out samples. It was pretty yummy, kind of like drinking coffee-flavored bubble tea.

It's funny-- I purposefully avoid Starbucks in the U.S. in favor of smaller, more intimate, more unique coffee shops, but when I'm in another country, it's nice to be able to go into a Starbucks and know exactly what is offered and what I will like. In any country, Starbucks is the place to find the foreigners. Every time I walk into a Starbucks here I see at least two or three white people. I'm not saying that this is at all a bad thing; on the contrary, that's one of the reasons I go to Starbucks-- I'm not gawked at there nearly as much as other places. So while some people (I used to be one of them) like to scream about how big franchises are taking away the individuality of quaint Mom and Pop businesses, as an American living abroad, Starbucks (and even McDonald's sometimes) becomes a familiar, inviting place.
written by Ruthie @ 2:58 AM  
2 thoughts:
  • At 4/15/2008 9:44 PM, Blogger クリス先生 said…

    Right on...Starbucks is my "home" away from home. I am not ashamed to say that. It is what is...I still avoid McDonalds though...hmmm.

  • At 4/16/2008 9:31 AM, Blogger CLU said…

    After having experienced being VERY different from EVERYONE recently, I understand the need to go somewhere where you are the same to some extent. Even though I don't like their coffee.

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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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