Starbucks

We’ve all joked about it, but now I’ve actually seen it:  Walking through the crowded downtown streets last nigh to the final dinner last night (so good, excellent sashimi to start an endless flow of dishes and sake to a dozen of us knee by jowl to celebrate the end of our – and it was a team effort, and we all weaved our way home – successful seminar for 50 physios in Fukuoka; justly famous for its food) – anyway, here was a Starbucks directly across from the street from … you guessed it: a Starbucks.  They may be floundering and closing stores in America, but here you can shout ‘grande latte’ just about anywhere and someone will say ‘Hai!’ and serve it with a bow, which is way more than you get from the slacker dude on 6th and 27th.

And here’s a girl riding her bicycle among the people and cars, one hand on a handlebar, one texting.  Across her backside on a fanny pack, the English phrase “Keep Mind”.

I think I commented a year ago on how few English signs and menus there are, but this visit I see Roman characters everywhere – mostly in English, but occasionally (apparently it’s cool) in French.  Pretty sure it’s my perception that changed, though the Anglification of Japan proceeds apace as well.  English-language T-shirts are definitely favored: Do you (heart) me?  Got sushi? Hawaiian surf shops and motorcycle brands.  And of course, Adidas and Abercrombie & Fitch and the like.

“Hey, I’ve got an idea: let’s sell people clothing with our corporate logo on it and they’ll pay us for advertising space on their chest.”  How did that take hold?

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