KF 2

Tottori: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starbucks (coffee) enterprise. Their continuing mission: to serve strange new Frappuccinos, to open new stores and new locations, to boldly go where no Starbucks has gone before.

For anyone playing Starbucks Japan bingo, you can now cross off Tottori from your sheet. May 23 officially marks the first day that there is a Starbucks Coffee shop in every single prefecture in Japan. Tons of people showed up for the grand opening of the Tottori Starbucks, but was this a great triumph or another situation of the little guy being pushed aside by a huge mega-corp?

As ubiquitous as Starbucks is in the States, you would think that there would be a Starbucks Coffee everywhere in Japan as well. Until May 23, that wasn’t the case, but with the opening of a store at the Shamine Tottori shopping center, the Starbucks Collective has conquered the “Japanese Quadrant”.

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Over 1,000 people lined up for the grand opening. The first person in line was a college student who’d showed up the night before. He was quite nervous saying, “…it’s the first time I’ve ordered at a Starbucks. It’s a classy place, I want to hold my coffee in one hand and do my assignments using my laptop with the other.”

Most likely because of the unique situation, this 1,000-person line greatly exceeded the normal crowd for a Starbucks grand opening in Japan. Fans were happily tweeting about the enormous line snaking out from the store.

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Even a few days after the opening, you can still find long lines at Tottori’s only Starbucks Coffee. If you were hoping to find some limited edition tumblers (1,300 yen/US$10.56) and mugs (1,140 yen) after the hype died down, you are out of luck as they were completely sold out on the first day and there are currently no plans to produce more. Memorabilia hunters will have to look at auctions and second-hand stores, but be prepared to fork over some dough. The tumblers were fetching bids of 15,000 yen while the mugs received bids of 35,000 yen.

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▼ This set is an apparent steal at only 28,000 yen ($227.54) for both!

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Since this was the last prefecture to open a Starbucks, local coffee stores must be feeling the squeeze. However, they’re also trying to turn the situation to their advantage. On May 15, about 40 local coffee shops established the “Tottori Coffee Culture Promotion Club”. As Tottori is Japan’s second-highest consumer of coffee per household after Kyoto, this club gives coffee connoisseurs another reason to get out and buy some coffee.

One of those riding the Starbucks hype is local coffee shop, Sunaba Coffee. The name comes from the popular sand dunes or “sunaba” that Tottori is famous for. Their clever name is also a play on the name used for Starbucks in Japan, “sutaba“. Sunaba Coffee had a special promotion where until May 27, customers who brought in a Starbucks receipt would receive a Sunaba coffee for half price, and if they didn’t like it, they would get their money back.

▼ The line outside Sunaba Coffee on the day Starbucks opened

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Starbucks Coffee can rest on their laurels a bit as they have successfully completed their Japanese expansion. Who knows where they will be expanding to next, but they can do so confidently as the latest corporation to open a store in every prefecture in Japan.

Oh, and your move, 7-Eleven.

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Source: Naver Matome
Top Image: Twitter (@Kosodesoga)