What's Trending in Japan?! Weekly Digest (12/10 - 12/14, 2018)
Are you sick of getting late news on the newest hot topics in Japan? Here's a quick and easy weekly digest that'll give you the scoop on the top 3 trends making waves on Japan's social media platforms! This week, we're celebrating all things coffee and coffee-adjacent, perfect for the cold weather that is starting to envelop Japan. Keep reading to find out all about Starbucks' newest wintry creation, a luxury convenience store coffee, and more!
Dec 14 2018 (Apr 15 2020)
Things are Getting Nutty this Christmas at Starbucks!
Starbucks Japan constantly releases new limited-time drink flavors all throughout the year, but they really up their game during the holiday season. We've already introduced various trending Starbucks beverages in this series before, such as the Christmas Strawberry Cake Frappuccino, but their newest drink might be the most delicious one yet - the Pistachio Christmas Tree, which is available as a hot beverage or as an icy frappuccino.
Each drink has a nutty and sweet pistachio base and is topped with tangy raspberry sauce, but the frappuccino includes the addition of macadamia nuts at the bottom, adding a satisfying crunchy texture to the experience!
You really can't go wrong with whichever one you choose, but note that as-is, they do not come with coffee, so be sure to ask for a shot (or two) of espresso mixed in if you want some caffeine with your pistachio goodness.
Editor's tip: While drink and food customization isn't as big a part of the culture in Japan as it is in other countries, it's still totally allowed at Starbucks! Try ordering your Pistachio Christmas Tree with extra pistachio syrup for an even bigger nutty punch, or get creative and add some vanilla, chocolate, or other flavoring!
Some Starbucks flavors can only be found in Japan, but did you know that some Starbucks stores' designs can only be seen in Japan, too? Introducing the world's first Starbucks to be housed in a traditional old Kyoto home! Learn more about it below.
500 Yen for Convenience Store Coffee?!
Many people think of convenience store coffee as a necessary evil - a cheap, quick way to get an energy boost in morning on your way to work - and tend to go to other establishments such as cafes to get their fix of high-quality, delicious coffee.
Lawson, one of the top three convenience store brands in Japan, is trying to change that perception with its Single Origin Series, which consists of limited-edition, high-quality, and rare coffees that you can pick up while supplies last at any of their over 2,000 stores across Japan... for as much as 500 yen!
The most recent entry in the Single Origin Series is Typica Special Reserve, which is made from Panama coffee beans that are harvested from coffee trees that are over 100 years old (the typical life expectancy for coffee trees is from 30 - 40 years)! As for the taste, this cup of coffee is so magnificently smooth and full-bodied, you would never believe it came from a convenience store.
Other recent entries in the Single Origin Series include Blue Mountain (500 yen) and Panama Baby Geisha (500 yen). Each entry is only available for a few weeks to a month before supplies run out, so make sure to try some as soon as you get the chance!
They may seem expensive compared to other convenience store coffee, but they are actually a steal when you compare the prices to the equally high-quality coffee available at specialty cafes.
Nervous about entering a Japanese convenience store? Don't be! We've put together a list of handy phrases that will smoothly help you through the experience. Check out the article below for explanations and even a video!
Who Knew Sugar Cubes Could Be So Cute?
Some people drink their coffee black and some people drink it with lots of cream and sugar. If you're going to add sugar to your coffee, why not go for some extra wow factor by adding it in the form of these adorable bird-shaped sugar cubes?
These sugar cubes, called "Kotori Sugar", first went on sale on the Village Vanguard online store this summer, but they were so popular that they sold out almost instantly! But now... they are back! There's no telling how soon they will sell out this time, so you ought to place your order soon if you want to experience the unique joy of lining up a row of bird sugar cubes along the rim of your coffee or tea mug.
They also make a perfect Christmas present for that coffee or tea-loving person in your life.
If you plan on giving a gift to someone who often avoids sugar, maybe consider some of the souvenirs in the article below?
Bonus: Vending Machines Aren't Just for Drinks Anymore
Canned coffee is one of the most popular items commonly found in Japanese vending machines (fun fact: canned coffee was actually invented here in Japan!), but we assure you that coffee will be the last thing on your mind when visiting the unique vending machines featured in the following article!
And that's that! The trends are always quickly changing, so there will always be something new from week to week. Check back in once a week and see if anything catches your eye!
Check out the weekly trends from the past 5 weeks!
Also, if you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you'd really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our Facebook, Twitter, or tell us through this Google Form!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.