Touch the Pen lets you pay for your coffee without using cash or cards.

The 25th of the month is payday at most companies in Japan, and as soon as our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa received compensation for his globe-trotting ghost-hunting and ramen-eating projects, he knew exactly what he wanted to buy: a pen. Not just any pen, though, but the brand-new Starbucks Touch the Pen.

For sale here on Starbucks’ online shop for 4,000 yen (US$37) it’s not the cheapest writing utensil around, but it boasts a stylish and sophisticated metallic design. It also writes smoothly and cleanly, by nature of being a collaborative effort between Starbucks and Tokyo-based pen maker Zebra.

▼ Not enough people know that Seiji has amazingly nice penmanship, as shown by his signature here.

But the Touch the Pen has more to justify its price than nice ink and the Starbucks logo. The pen also contains a Sony-made RFID FeliCa chip so that you can use it to make purchases at Starbucks locations across Japan!

When you take the pen out of its box, you’ll see a sticker near its tip. Peel it off, and you’ll find the pen’s registration number and access code, which you can use to charge it via Starbucks’ website, essentially turning it into a prepaid Starbucks card that you can write with.

Alternatively, you can charge the pen at the register of any Starbucks branch, stocking it with an amount between 1,000 and 30,000 yen. Once Seiji had done that, he ordered his Frappuccino, tapped his pen on the reader set up on the counter, and just like that, he’d made his payment.

The whole transaction was as easy and smooth as the pen’s writing action, and Seiji looks forward to feeling like a suave high-tech coffee connoisseur on his future Starbucks runs, which, given our line of work, is something he’ll have plenty of opportunities to do.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where his inner linguist is bothered that you pay for coffee with the Touch the Pen not bu touching the pen, but by touching a pad with it.

[ Read in Japanese ]