I am a big fan of Starbucks Japan — specifically, its Twitter page (@Starbucks_J). Sometimes I go there just to look at the pictures and sigh over the strategically arranged food and wares. For some reason, this seems to make me feel better equipped to face the rest of my chaotic day.
Now, I know that Starbucks is generally good at selling/promoting its brand, as there is a plethora of Starbucks-related material (images, promos, links, etc.) littering the Web these days, enthusiastically proliferated by customers, bloggers, and coffee fans, but its Japanese arm is really taking things to a higher level. Those guys really know how to highlight their message with a deft mixture of colors, lighting, and props. They certainly know what it takes to achieve more with less fuss and clutter.
Below are a few examples:
So, when I see a nice picture that I particularly like, I can’t help but save a copy of it in my local directory — with some vague plans of writing a post about it later.
Well, I guess this is it. 🙂
And so begins another one of those absurd-yet-improbably-addictive annual exercise that me and some of my friends pursue during the last couple of months of each year — collecting enough stickers to get one of those Starbucks Planners (I swear, it’s like an annual sports event that we can’t get out of and would probably miss if we actually skipped it hahaha.)
Don’t ask me why I keep on doing this. I have stopped looking for a good answer to that question a long time ago, right after the novelty of it wore off (which happened pretty quickly, mind you). The last one I managed to get (the Starbucks 2014 Planner) is still in its box at home. I think I must have marked about 3 pages of it, before putting it back and moved on to something else.
And as for the usual yardstick I use whenever I feel to the urge to buy something — Do I really need this? — the answer would be a resounding NO.
The usual justification I use these days — I’m often at Starbucks anyway (for work and coffee), so I might as well get something out of it — is the one I’m resolutely holding on to. At least until I finish collecting all the stickers I’d need for one of those darn planners (I want the brown one).
After that, who knows? Oh yes, this reminds me of something: Pseudoshrink requested that I do the honors for her (one set of tickers for 1 planner) this year since she won’t be here long enough to collect all the stickers she needs.
Righty-o, TPS. Consider it done.
Note: This will at least give me enough reason to keep coming back to Starbucks (it’s not like I’m planning to avoid the place anyway) — aside from the coffee and when my laptop batteries are sorely in need of a recharge. Ha.
To everyone out there — whoever you are, whatever you’re doing, wherever you may be…
Go ahead and take a BREAK. Make (or order) yourself a cup of coffee. And maybe throw in a couple of scones or a slice of cheesecake to make things more interesting.
Then sit back, take a deep breath, and forget about everything else for the moment. Watch in comfortable silence as life passes by.
Then, take your first sip (gulp, drink, mouthful) and savor the wonderful, happy and frenetic moments that brought you to where you are today. Eventually, the rest of your day will run its course, and your priorities will shift or strengthen according to the latest developments.
But for now, the moment is yours. Enjoy it.
Let’s raise our cup together in silent toast. To life. And everything else.
Lately, I have been doing several errands that required me to go to Makati every few days or so. Last weekend, while I was on my way home, I passed by this newly opened Japanese-themed café at Glorietta 2. I had been meaning to check out this place for a while now, but I have always held back because it was usually full.
As the name would suggest, Mochicream Café specializes in mochi (Japanese rice cakes). Since I had been trying to limit my sugar and carbo intake for the past few days, I avoided looking at the colorful mochi cakes. The mouthwatering tarts and the frozen Brazo de Mercedes looked infinitely tempting, but I managed to hold back and settled on a relatively tame-looking Olive bread topped with cheese instead (*sigh*). Then I took a chance on Matcha latte for a badly needed quick dose of caffeine.
I started having misgivings the moment the server placed a cup of green-colored, frothy Matcha latte (hot) on my table. With some trepidation, I took my first sip. To my surprise, I realized that I liked it. Maybe the fact that it was tea-based and didn’t immediately launch a full frontal assault of my taste buds made a huge difference. It was also a good thing that I brought along some Equal sachets, so I was able to control the sweetness.
Before long, I shifted into a relaxed mood and felt comfortable enough to take stock of my surroundings. Thankfully, Mochicream Café isn’t as crowded as most mall coffeehouses you’ll find these days. There is enough space for you to pass through and turn around without fear of accidentally hitting anyone with your bag(s). For some reason, the interior décor reminded me of 60s-era houses, but in an understated way. The combination of wood paneling and black and cream furniture gives off a nice vibe. Overall, Mochicream Café has a comfortable laidback ambiance — like an oasis of calm in the middle of hustle and bustle of one of Makati’s premier shopping districts.
The seating arrangement is rather eclectic — there is a high bar complete with stools hugging the wall on one side, a couple of utilitarian tables-and-chairs set-up near the cash register, and two groups of cream-colored plush seats crowded around a low-slung coffee table (it’s like being in somebody’s living room) flanking both sides of the main entrance.
As for my verdict — would I be tempted to come in here again? — definitely yes, as long as the place is not too full.