coffee

Some words about cafe camping, a bully with a comb-over, and a man in a blue sweater vest

Some words about cafe camping, a bully with a comb-over, and a man in a blue sweater vest

Back when I was still living in the UK, I would have never dreamed of spending an entire afternoon working on my laptop in a cafe. Places like Starbucks or homegrown coffee chain Costa are places to go, pay slightly too much for caffeinated beverages, leaf through a book or newspaper, then be on your way. They’re not for doing your homework or earning a living.

Thanks to the birth of WiFi and ultra-light laptop computers, however, the sight of people commandeering tables for hours on end is no longer such a rarity, and I, it has to be said, am one of them. Which is where I witnessed an unusual little episode involving a grumpy old man with a comb-over, his quiet, sweater vest-wearing friend, and a young woman who may or may not have been a matcha-drinking guardian angel.

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【TBT】Tokyo’s Pico Pico Cafe: Where video games meet coffee

【TBT】Tokyo’s Pico Pico Cafe: Where video games meet coffee

Despite having visited the town of Kichijoji in Tokyo on a near daily basis for over a year, it wasn’t until I sat down with video game developer James Kay and started chatting about our mutual love of pixels and coffee that I learned about Pico Pico Cafe, a cosy corner perched at the top of a eight-storey building just minutes from Kichijoji station.

After dropping the staff a line, RocketNews24 headed over for a coffee and a chat. We hadn’t gone two steps inside, however, before we found ourselves completely enamoured with the unique cafe’s warm, homely interior and – perhaps most of all for this life-long gamer – the subtle dashes of video game culture in every other nook and cranny.

Tons of cool photos after the jump.

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Jojo’s bizarre coffee – Anime characters to grace cans of java in Japan

Jojo’s bizarre coffee – Anime characters to grace cans of java in Japan

With their dramatic posing, frenetic accessorizing, and manic shouting, you could easily arrive at the conclusion that the cast of long-running manga and anime Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures is one seriously over-caffeinated set of super powered bare-knuckle brawlers.

Don’t expect Jojo and company to settle down anytime soon, though, as the characters created by artist Hirohiko Araki are set to grace cans of Coca-Cola Japan’s Georgia coffee this summer.

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“Brazilian” coffee cola released in Japan

“Brazilian” coffee cola released in Japan

From the country that brought you carbonated espresso comes a coffee and cola drink claiming to be Brazilian that’s described as a “delicious Carnival.” Wait, what?

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Falafel, beer, and water wheels: Shibuya and Harajuku’s tucked-away treasures 【Hidden Tokyo】

Falafel, beer, and water wheels: Shibuya and Harajuku’s tucked-away treasures 【Hidden Tokyo】

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the bustling, beautiful megalopolis of Tokyo, then the city really is yours – you just have to know where to look. And if you want to get away from the tourist trail and get down close to the beating heart of the capital, a journey into the back streets of the 23 wards is where you’ll wind up.

Come with us as we take you into different neighbourhoods and spend an afternoon exploring some of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. Today we’ll take you around some of Shibuya’s lesser known backstreets, where you can chow down on falafels, pick up some of the best coffee and soak up a hip, laid-back atmosphere.

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Coffee and cats are the perfect combo to help you face the week【Monday Kickstart】

Coffee and cats are the perfect combo to help you face the week【Monday Kickstart】

I’ll have a grande caramel macchiato and your cutest cat, to go. Whether your Monday is just beginning, or you’re already partway through and starting to flag, here’s a little pick-me-up for you!

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McDonald’s Japan celebrates cherry blossom season with new cherry frappe and mocha drinks

McDonald’s Japan celebrates cherry blossom season with new cherry frappe and mocha drinks

With certain varieties of sakura trees already covered in pink blossoms, Japan has got cherry trees on the brain. Everyone is looking forward to go out and see the flowers that’ll only be here for a short time, but why settle for one Japanese tradition when you can have two by combining it with limited-availability fast food, in the form of cherry mochas and frappes from McDonald’s.

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Limited edition ANA Starbucks bottles are available over Japan, but not in it

Limited edition ANA Starbucks bottles are available over Japan, but not in it

Just like it does in other markets, Starbucks offers special limited edition merchandise for specific locations in Japan. But even if you’ve already got special tumblers from Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, you collection won’t be entirely complete without this special Starbucks bottle that you can only purchase onboard ANA flights inside or connecting to Japan.

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Japanese netizens praise Starbucks’ move to promote 800 temp workers

Japanese netizens praise Starbucks’ move to promote 800 temp workers

With just over 1,000 stores covering practically every prefecture, Starbucks is a coffee powerhouse in Japan. Since opening its first store in Tokyo in 1996, the company has managed to adapt its business model to suit Japanese tastes with seasonal flavors, expanded (alcoholic) menu options and utilizing Japan’s unique architecture. Last week, Starbucks went one step further in its Japanese expansion plan by announcing that it would promote 800 temp workers to full-time positions, which netizens applauded as a move to create pressure on the Japanese market to provide better benefits to workers.

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Are 100 adhesive warmers enough to take on a Tokyo snow storm?

Are 100 adhesive warmers enough to take on a Tokyo snow storm?

In one of the most vicious cases of deja vu we’ve had in decades, the twin of the massive snowstorm that dumped on Japan last weekend swung through the country with another few inches of snow on Friday. Unfortunately, in Tokyo at least, we also got enough rain to melt half of the snow, turning everything into a freezing, wet mess. Ah, winter!

As you can imagine, quite a few people are taking the opportunity to lock themselves inside and practice their “brrrrrrr” faces. But not the esteemed writers on the Japanese side of RocketNews24! They decided the snow was the best environment to find out if 100 adhesives warmers work as well as a coat. See the awkward results of the test below!

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AKB48 to hold exclusive show for coffee contest winners, Mr. Sato immediately buys over 300 cans

AKB48 to hold exclusive show for coffee contest winners, Mr. Sato immediately buys over 300 cans

Recently the walls of the RocketNews24 office have been echoing with giddy squeals of “Eeeeeee… Takamina!” at a rate of about once per hour. In between, we have been treated to a middle-aged man’s song-stylings of AKB48’s single Koisuru Fortune Cookie.

It all started last year when our reporter Mr. Sato had entered a dance contest to meet graduating AKB48 member Tomomi Itano, but despite his best efforts he lost out. Now, he has his sights on Minami Takahashi (“Takamina”) and the chance to see her and other members in an exclusive show only available to the winners of a contest held by Japan’s Wonda Coffee.

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The “doya-gao” phenomenon and where you’re most likely to see it

The “doya-gao” phenomenon and where you’re most likely to see it

A calm atmosphere, free Wi-Fi, and decent coffee – what’s not to love about Starbucks (unless you’re a staunch New Englander who swears by Dunkin’)? If you walk into any branch, you will see a line of people waiting to grab their favorite caffeinated pick-me-up. You’re also likely see a bunch of people hunched over their laptops typing away furiously, either by themselves or huddled together in groups. The laptop of choice to go with their steaming mug of coffee? From what we’ve seen, it seems to be a MacBook Air.

Have you ever watched people when they’re silently working on a computer, wondered what they’re up to, and then all of a sudden a smug little grin inexplicably breaks across their face? This self-satisfied look is known as a doya-gao in Japanese. One of our Japanese reporters, who is a frequent patron of Starbucks, recently began to notice a correlation between the frequency of people using MacBook Airs in Starbucks and those wearing a doya-gao expression. Intrigued, she started taking notes, and discovered that there are three branches of Starbucks in Tokyo where the doya-gao phenomenon is particularly common…

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Forget coffee, this Tokyo Starbucks now sells booze!

Forget coffee, this Tokyo Starbucks now sells booze!

Normally known for a spot to get a sugar-fueled caffeine fix, Starbucks recently opened a new outlet in Tokyo that is serving alcohol. The new coffee shop is part of a concept line of cafés the company is establishing in Japan to offer customers something a little different from the usual Starbucks experience. In addition to serving upscale coffee drinks and homemade desserts, this shop will be selling wine and beer after noon in the fashionable Shimokitazawa neighborhood.

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Bangkok brothers get banged with a Starbucks lawsuit

Bangkok brothers get banged with a Starbucks lawsuit

Starbucks has a policy of seamlessly blending their coffee outlets into remote tourist locations around the world. So when two brothers in Bangkok set up their street-side coffee cart business under a familiar looking green logo, Starbucks was quick to assert that this was not one of their operations.

Damrong and Damras Maslae are now in hot water as the global coffee franchise is coming down hard and suing them for copyright infringement.

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Wonda Power Blend Coffee packs the “perfect” heart-jolting punch, our energy expert says!

Wonda Power Blend Coffee packs the “perfect” heart-jolting punch, our energy expert says!

We here at RocketNews24 know that time is money and sometimes you need more than 24 hours in a day. Until we figure out how to manipulate time, we will be relying on our energy drink expert, Energy Man, to find out which beverage gives us the most bang for our sleep-deprived buck. Energy Man downs at least one or two (sometimes four, he admits) of these stimulant-laden drinks a day and wants to share with us his new favorite drink to wake us all up.

Energy Man recently saw a new drink on the market that he had to try. Being a connoisseur of these jolting beverages, Energy Man wondered if the world needed Wonda Power Blend Coffee in the already crowded energy drink market. Click the link to read why our Energy Man found himself saying “bravo!” to the new coffee drink.

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Starbucks: More expensive in China than Japan or America, but why?

Starbucks: More expensive in China than Japan or America, but why?

It’s safe to say that no one you see at Starbucks is there because they want to stretch their java-buying budget. With locations in more than 60 countries (and seemingly every branch in the Tokyo area at maximum capacity every day between 3 and 7 p.m., the Seattle-based chain must be doing something right, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel a bit surprised at the prices they charge.

But the next time you’re sitting in a Starbucks in Japan or America, pretending to sip from an empty mug because you’re not quite ready to disconnect from the free wi-fi but don’t feel like laying out the cash for another cup, consider yourself lucky. You’d be paying a lot more for your latte if you were at a Starbucks in China.

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Japanese coffee brand announces the winner of its Yukiko-tan mascot competition!

Japanese coffee brand announces the winner of its Yukiko-tan mascot competition!

Regular readers and those familiar with Japan’s much-loved Yuki Jirushi brand of coffee will no doubt be aware of a contest to find a new mascot character for the drink that began back in April. After receiving hundreds of entries, the work was then whittled down to six potential designs, which were in turn put to a public vote for best character between July and August. To spice things up a little, some very cute girls in the cosplay/idol group Steam Girls also dressed up as the six finalists’ designs in a promotional event that caused quite a stir.

Looking at the effort involved and level of detail in each of the six designs, we here at RocketNews24 knew that choosing an overall winner would be tricky. We’ve been counting the days for the results to be announced, and today we’re thrilled to give you the full lowdown! Come and meet the Yukiko-tan crew!

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The amazing 3D latte art of Kohei Matsuno: But is it too cute to drink?

The amazing 3D latte art of Kohei Matsuno: But is it too cute to drink?

Kohei Matsuno is no ordinary barista. What started as his way of sprucing up an ordinary cup of complimentary coffee for patrons at his part-time job has blossomed into a form of creative expression that has people around the world smiling. Known as “Mattsun” by his Internet followers, Mr. Matsuno brings life and whimsy to an otherwise ordinary cup of joe. Come with us now for a sneak peek at the work that goes into some of Japan’s most beautiful latte art.

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Colorful latte art! Japanese barista creates coffee with character

Colorful latte art! Japanese barista creates coffee with character

There has been a lot of latte art featured on the Internet lately, but the coffee created by Japanese barista, Yuuichi Ito, are some of the best we’ve seen. Mr. Ito is serving works of art by the cupful at Belcorno, an Italian restaurant located in Ichinomiya City, Aichi Prefecture. Taking on the role as owner, chef, and barista at Belcorno, Mr. Ito is able to recreate popular characters from Disney, anime and manga out of foam, adding colorful accents and shading. Much like chalk drawings, it’s understood that latte art is not permanent, but it still seems a shame to destroy such beautiful masterpieces. At least we have the following pictures to enjoy!

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Hey, Starbucks laptop guy, whatcha doin’ over there?

Hey, Starbucks laptop guy, whatcha doin’ over there?

Starbucks and virtually every other coffee shop worthy of faux hipster attention (the real hipsters having moved on to places that use siphons and play accordion music) have become synonymous with scenes of people using laptop computers in recent years, with rows of patrons sipping from paper cups while idly clicking, scrolling, pinching to zoom and staring lazily at their screens. Some even make temporary offices out of their few square feet of space, paying their rent in cups of joe and watched by hawk-eyed staff whose warm smiles drop a millimetre for every second a small cafe latte is nursed just that little bit too long.

For the rest of us, though, these table-hogging laptop luggers are a source of genuine intrigue. “What on earth could they be doing?” we wonder to ourselves, irked that they’ve taken all the good seats. “Are they actually working over there or are they just scrolling through photos on Facebook and tapping LOL into comment boxes?”

Japan’s My Navi News too was keen to know exactly what the folks who camp out at Starbucks are actually doing while the rest of us are engaging in conversations or staring awkwardly at the floor after making eye-contact one too many times with the cute barista, and put together a survey to find out. Let’s take a look at their findings.

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