We show solidarity with the itasha community by hanging out in a Starbucks parking lot with the Mr. Sato Car.
We recently heard through the grapevine that a new trend has surfaced online called “Itasha de Staba” (Pain Cars at Starbucks) wherein cars – typically high-end ones – with otaku-themed artwork painted all over them known as itasha park in front of Starbucks locations throughout Japan.
At first we thought it was a joke seeing as there was no noticeable connection between the coffee megachain and otaku motor-leisure. And yet Twitter was full of photos with this very juxtaposition.
抹茶クリームフラペチーノおいしー！ #痛車でスタバ https://t.co/Oa1hE47z47—
クローム@しのえぼ㌠《騎槍組漆番機》 (@crm_0206) April 04, 2017
#痛車でスタバ 愛車を眺めながら飲むスタバは良いね～♪ https://t.co/qaavwC8pto—
ガトリンク@浦山de痛車ラスト (@gatorink02) April 04, 2017
Looking a little deeper, we found that the whole thing started from a single tweet in which some stuck-up Starbucks visitor complained that an itasha was spoiling the atmosphere of their half-decaf soy milk cappuccino and asked all itasha owners to stop bringing their cars there.
So, of course the indignant itasha drivers did just the opposite and began bringing their cars, motorcycles, and even bicycles to Starbucks en masse.
おまたせ！ブームに乗るしかなかったんだけどいいかな？ #痛車でスタバ https://t.co/Cned9hHIbk—
すわろう (@suwa1793) April 03, 2017
#痛車でスタバ ノルマ達成 https://t.co/6khuFR3x1r—
教祖かずたに@信者コッペパン (@kokopanmaru) April 03, 2017
痛チャリですが… #痛車でスタバ https://t.co/vhuSfYDG0J—
かっきょ@九州痛チャリ㌠響号 (@pika2616) April 04, 2017
As you may know, RocketNews24 is also a member of the itasha community, so we dusted off the old Mr. Sato Car to take part in Itasha de Staba. There was just one small problem: our offices were located in downtown Tokyo where Starbucks with parking lots were in short order.
So, we sent P.K. Sanjun driving for a little under an hour to find the nearest one.
Once he arrived, P.K. Was surprised to find that his was the only itasha around. He was dismayed at first but then saw this as a great opportunity. The Mr. Sato car would be monopolizing all the eyes of passers-by.
He parked it and left it alone, all the while watching from behind some bushes. Hopefully, people would start taking pictures and then posting them to the social network of their choosing. This would naturally catapult the Mr. Sato Car to national fame, with TV appearances and everything.
“What the hell?!” shouted P.K. as he emerged from the bushes, startling a young couple exiting the shop.
Not a single person took a photo. Many stopped briefly, looked at the car, grimaced, and then walked away twice as fast. Parents grabbed their children by the hand and hurried them away from the automobile detailed with the image of Mr. Sato serving sushi on his naked body…
…but not a soul uploaded a picture of it to social media.
The plan was a failure. P.K. thought at least he would add it to his own Instagram account, but that didn’t count. It was like getting compliments from your parents.
Defeated, P.K. went and took the car to the drive-through.
The clerk noticed the Mr. Sato Car and nervously remarked, “C-c-cool, eh. What character is that?”
“It’s…never mind…” said P.K. as he accepted his beverage and drove off.
It was the most bitter latte he ever tasted.
Maybe our timing was off, or maybe it was the creepy middle-aged man hiding in the bushes that hindered the Mr. Sato car from being recognized as a part of Itasha de Staba. But if you happen to be a proud owner of a car decorated in vocaloids or girl-battleship hybrids, now is a chance to show your pride and be a part of the movement.