VeganMoFo 2019: Starbucks, Tokyo

I continue to be a terrible tourist who only eats western food and goes to Starbucks on holiday! But before you think too badly of me, please note the swarm of people in the background here: this is the Starbucks right above the famous Shibuya Crossing, where seemingly millions of people cross in the multiple directions every few minutes. The 1st floor Starbucks seems to be the best place to sit and observe the mayhem, if you’re willing to wait long enough for a window seat to become available – as you can see, we’d made it quite a way through our drinks before we got our chance!

Japan was at times a terribly confusing place, but Starbucks actually made things a bit easier by giving out these little cards to anyone who ordered a drink with soy milk. Then I simply handed this over to the barista when I collected the drinks, and we could clearly see that I’d got the non-dairy version. The cup also came with a little sticker on it to make doubly sure! For a paranoid, confused vegan, this was a great idea!

Even if you’re anti-Starbucks, it’s worth making an exception to enjoy the spectacle of the crossing. I think it’s probably more fun to people watch here now that everyone’s got smart phones and social media: we loved watching the dedicated souls who crossed a million times filming their partner from various angles until they managed to get that elusive perfect shot. The high (low?) point for us was when one woman crossed barefoot, sprinted to the centre of the crossing ahead of the crowds, and turned in slow circles while her partner filmed her. Arty.

On our various Starbucks stops around Japan, I always ordered the soy matcha latte. Truthfully I’m not that keen on matcha, but I felt a duty to try to like it as I was in Japan. It was better than the matcha lattes I’ve had in Europe, so there’s that at least.

Have you ever forced yourself to try to enjoy a national dish even though you really weren’t into it? Or have you ever sprinted barefoot into the middle of a busy crossing to get that perfect shot for social media?! Be honest now…

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8 Responses to VeganMoFo 2019: Starbucks, Tokyo

  1. unsettleddown says:

    Omg I totally tried a lot of national dishes in Malaysia that I really wanted to like but just could not do the texture. At least I tried!

  2. plumesworld says:

    I love all things matcha! I can’t wait! When we went to Shibuya last time there was a soya ice cream stand inside but we had just eaten and even though I really wanted some I didn’t have any room!

  3. I think American chains are usually different abroad in subtle ways that help you learn about the culture, so going to a Starbucks in Japan totally makes sense to me! I really hope I can visit Japan someday.

    • Jenny says:

      That is true – unfortunately one of the big differences here was that there were no vegan food options in Starbucks, though we do have them in the UK!

  4. onesonicbite says:

    haha I know the blogger on Scathingly Brilliant posted about how she went to a McDonalds in Paris because 1) french fries and soda and 2) the view from the upstairs seating was actually very pretty.

    As for me and shoes, living in Philly, I have seen some gross funky things on the sidewalks and streets (umm.. syringe and condoms) so I would NEVER take my shoes off in a city for “the perfect shot”

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