On a recent trip to Naha, Okinawa, our correspondent spotted a Starbucks t-shirt which, at first glance, looked like a factory reject, but turned out to be a clever tip of the hat to traditional Okinawan culture.

First, lets look at what happened to the logo’s iconic twin-tailed mermaid, the Siren.

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were creatures who lured sailors with their sweet song to shipwreck on the rocky coastal shores where they reside. Starbucks chose the Siren  for their logo as a way to represent  the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s seaport roots. Mythology buffs would argue that the Sirens were usually portrayed as half bird half woman and not mermaids, and they’d be right, but Starbucks didn’t really know that when they found their “Siren” in an ancient nautical tome. But that’s another story.

The t-shirt our correspondent came across in Okinawa swapped out the Siren for a local, more accurate mythical creature, the Shisa.

Shisa are creatures in Okinawan lore that resemble the cross between a dog and a lion. Statues of the beasts can be seen in pairs on the tops of roofs or at the gates of homes and businesses around the islands. One Shisa will have its mouth open to scare off evil spirits and the other will have its mouth closed to keep the good spirits in.

In short, wearing this shirt will allow you to display your Starbucks spirit while protecting you from evil spirits.

▲ Haisai, by the way, means “Hello” in the now-endangered Okinawan language.

▼Only US$13!

▼Said evil spirits

Photos: Rocketnews24
Inset image: Wikipedia
Mr. Sato: Creepy