Spring is here! Part two

To tell you the truth, I LOVE SPRING! It just makes me feel wonderful. I feel like I am sheding this heavyness off by just having the warm sun on my back. To top it off Starbucks makes spring so much fun by treating us with their spring theme.

The Starbucks I go to normally near my house is not as festive as some other stores, but none the less they were trying their best yesterday when I went in. Starbucks Japan gave all employees 10 Sakura pettles to use as they wish for the start of the Sakura season. My normal store forgot to use them last week, but they started using them yesterday. Here are a few shots of some of my favorite partners showing off their Starbucks pride.

Also this week I made a split minute desion to buy one of the sakura tumblers. While the plastic ones are really cute and the price nice, after talking with the store staff about the pro and con’s of the heavy duty tumbler, I went for the expensive one and boy am I glad I did. After only one time of using it I figured it will do what I need it to do, keep my coffee hot! I got my normal vanilla latte in my tumbler when I purchased it, and by the time I got to school an hour later it was still warm. I can’t even count how many times I have gotten coffee this winter and it is luke warm at best once the train reaches the plateform. All I can say is “I am in love with my new tumbler” It is simple but yet 100% Japan Starbucks!

My final note for this week is the new Sakura Starbucks card. I was cleaning out my wallet this last week and came across all of my different cards. In the bunch was last years card. I really like them both but this years card is a step above them all. I love the embossing and 3-D like effects as well as the put the date on the card this year.

Thank for all your feed back so far. It is wonderful to see others enjoying what I am sharing as well as knowing we have a strong connection with a place that makes us feel at home no matter where we are in the world.

As always, please leave your comments and feedback. See you all soon!

My how time fly’s when your drinking coffee!

I woke up this morning with a little extra pep in my step. I was going to get my family squared away with breakfast and things for them to do for the morning, then I was off to meet a friend for morning coffee. Ever since I went back to work full time in January everyone keeps asking me “Are you use to your new routine?” I always respond with the same answer “I love being busy.” And for the most part I really do love not having to wonder what I am going to do with my day after I drop my son off as pre-school. But the one thing I really, really, REALLY miss is meeting my friends for coffee at Starbucks and sitting there for an hour or so and just talking.

Here in Japan most people that have children reserve the weekends for family outings so meeting friends for coffee on the weekends is next to impossible. Lucky for me I have a few friends that also work so the weekends are always open for meeting since that is their only time also.

Today we talked about our kids, kindergarten,husbands and the up coming spring break. Then next we knew two hours had past and we both needed to get home. But what a wonderful break it was!

Morning at Pike place

I found this video on the Starbucks USA website this evening and thought I would share it with everyone. It shows the Pike place market as it waking up. The original Starbucks store is located with in the Pike place market and has a wonderful atmosphere. You can smell the coffee for blocks. When ever I am in Seattle I always go so I can get a couple of pounds of the special reserve Pike place blend. While I am not a big fan of the Pike place coffee, the special reserve is a wonderful treat for your taste buds. Once I am back home here in Japan the coffee goes into the freezer and is doled out for special occasions. My friends laugh at my stinginess, but they all enjoy the treat of drinking this special blend.

If you’re in Seattle, Pike place market and the Pike Place Starbucks are a must see for any fan of great coffee!

It’s spring in Japan!

Every time I walk by a Starbucks I am easily tricked into thinking that spring is here. On the 15th of February all Starbucks across Japan threw out the Valentines stuff and switched to one of my favorite Starbuck themes of the year.  

For those of you who do not live in Japan, Sakura blossom signify that spring has come and more importantly, winter is over. Even though it is still only February and we are a good month away from the true Sakura blossoms blooming just going into Starbucks during this time of year makes me feel like I have a little spring in my step. A new friend on Twitter even described the mood as “up beat” for the first several days. It is one of those things we all need to shake up our spirits and remember that the cold is almost over, then we can really start living again!

This afternoon my son and I took our weekly trip to Starbucks together and on our way out I picked up on of each of the four deserts that they have for enjoyment this year. Everything has some flavor of “Sakura” I asked several co-workers and neighbors to discribe to me what the flavor Sakura means to them because for me, it is just a mix of sweet, salty and a little bitterness. For them they said it was the smell of the Sakura leaves. They wanted me to make sure I did not confuse the Sakura leaves with the traditional Cherry trees we are use to in the States. I thought to myself as they are tell me to not confuse the two, that’s ok cuz’ I don’t know what a Cherry leaf smells like!

So far I have only eatten the Sakura danish. It is amazing! It is a traditional danish, but in the inside there is Sakura flavored bean paste. One of the partners at Starbucks told me it was a mix of three textures. The bread, the bean paste and in the middle was peices of macaroons. To be honest, I can see the macaroons, but they don’t really change the texture too much.

After my son when to sleep I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down and drank a stick of Columbia VIA with my treats. I started with the two that would fall in the category of bread. Since I knew what the danish tasted like already I just tasted it with black coffee. It definetly makes the smell of the sakura flavored beans more distinctive.  I then tried the Sakura scone. A little disappointing. I really loved the scone last month when it had a chai flavor frosting on top. This time it almost has a strawberry taste. For kids, this would be ok. With coffee, it just tasted like a regular scone. Then I moved onto the cake group. The chiffon cake is first pleasing to eat. It is super cute with the sakura flower on top and the pink frosting. It is super moist and full of flavor. Good for afternoon tea time! Finally, I ate the rare Cheese cake. It is so fluffy but full of flavor. It was the best match for the columbian coffee.

There is so much to talk about at Starbucks this time of year! I hope you leave me comments. I have several ideas lined for the next few weeks before I back to the states for a short visit! I will see you all really soon.

Why Starbucks?

I woke up this morning and as my family was getting ready to start our Sunday morning my husband asked me what was on our adgenda for that day and my standard responce was “First, Starbucks. Then we can talk about the rest later.” This has been my set reply for as long has he has know me. Why? Because for as long as most people have known me, I take great pleasure in going to Starbucks, ordering the same cup of coffee for close to 20 years ( grande, 15 second shot-depending on the machine, no-fat, vanilla latte for your information), then sitting down with some form of media (newspaper, book, cell phone, ipad) and thinking about what lies ahead of me for the rest of the day.

Some say to me that “you could do the same thing anywhere else. McDonalds has a good cup of coffee.  Why Starbucks?” That is the golden question! And what I am going to share with you over the next few weeks, months and hopefully if you want to keep reading, years.

The key to a great start of my day includes a visit to one of my many favorite Starbucks. Not only does the beverage that comes out of my cup matter but several other important factor. The first thing is how friendly the staff is to not only myself but other customers. Part of the Starbucks experience is talking with the register staff. If they have to ask me my order over and over again, I start to wonder if I really matter to them or the company. That puts a major damper on my day. A great point of salesperson makes you believe you are one of the most important persons in the world at that moment. When I move to a new area or town I in effect audition several different stores over the course of two or thress months to figure out which one is going to be my next home away from home. Silly? Maybe. Important for my routine? Indispensible. Why you ask? First thing is 460 yen is a lot of money for just a cup of coffee. So not only is Starbucks selling coffee but they are selling an atmosphere. In effect, where ever I go in the world and I spot that little green sign with our siren gal in the middle, we are in fact able to transport ourselves to where ever home is.

In up coming blog posts I am going to take you deeper into my love for Starbucks and that little taste of home. I am also going to highlight the great things that Starbucks Ltd. Japan does that is unique to Japan. Right now we are full into the Valentine season and Starbucks chocolate. Coming this next week, starting on the 15th of Feburary, Starbucks will debut it’s Sakura (cherry blossom) drink line. If it is anything like last year, they will have wonderful bread and sweets to go along with the limited time drinks. I will write more about the up coming food, drinks and mugs/tumblers. Thank God that Starbucks changes the food and drinks every three months. It will give us lots to chat about!

I look forward to reading your comments, input and suggestions.

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