Exclusive drinkware is stylish and touching, and its companion journal is even more moving.

Starbucks does a lot of adapting to local tastes, so at the chain’s coffeehouses in Japan you can buy drinkware featuring admiring depictions of Mt. Fuji, cherry blossoms, or specific local landmarks for various Japanese cities. However, the newest offering, available at Starbuck’s Nonowa Kunitachi branch in Tokyo, isn’t about the town’s cityscape or scenery, but the people who work and relax there.

The Nonowa Kunitachi Starbucks, which opened last June, is designated a “signing shop.” A number of the employees have hearing impairments, and the staff are all able to communicate in sign language. This, naturally, makes it an especially welcoming cafe for customers with hearing difficulties, as well as an opportunity for those who might not ordinarily come into contact with sign language to see how it enables its users to communicate and live fulfilling lives.

Because of that, the Nonowa Kunitachi-exclusive mug is decorated with not only the Starbucks name in English, but also with illustrations showing how to sign each letter.

This dual-language version of the Starbuck’s logo also appears on the aprons worn by the Nonowa Kunitachi staff, as well as the cover of the writing journal that’s going on sale at the same time as the sign-language mug.

Inside, the logo sits at the bottom-right corner of the writing pages…

…while other pages include diagrams for how to sign things such as drink sizes and numbers.

Those instructional pages example might seem sort of redundant, since it’s not like sign language-dependent people wouldn’t already know such fundamental vocabulary. However, it’s Starbucks’ hope that the mug and journal, aside from looking nice and raising awareness, can also serve as a low-barrier contact point for sign language for people who aren’t themselves dependent on it. Especially with the Nonowa Kunitachi branch happy to take orders in sign language, there’s an opportunity for hearing-able customers to try using sign language themselves, and if walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is a good way to better understand someone, surely ordering a coffee in their language is too.

Both the mug and journal go on sale December 3 at the Nonowa Kunitachi branch (priced at 1,800-yen [US$17.15] and 2,000-yen, respectively), and while we’ve got an unabashed soft spot for Starbucks’ limited-time drinkware, we’re happy to know that these two new items will be available on a permanent basis.

Location information
Starbucks Coffee (Nonowa Kunitachi branch) / スターバックス コーヒー Nonowa国立店
Address: Tokyo-t0, Kunitachi-shi, Kita 1-14-1, Nonowa Kunitachi
東京都国立市北1-14-1 Nonowa国立
Open 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

Source, images: Starbucks via Entabe
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