Coffee is ubiquitous here and the quality is astoundingly high. Yes of course there are Starbucks coffeeshops here and there. Mind you I swear that this year I've spotted more than last year. However they are far outnumbered by indigimous coffee chains which in turn are outnumbered by indie shops.
I'll sign off with a brief annecdote from Verde Coffee. The owner wa approached by dozens of clients to sell his cotton coffee filters. Apparently after years of coaxing he broke down and started selling these nifty filters complete with personal instruction on how to use them. When he learned that some customered were not croutinely leaning the filters - he stopped selling the filters abruptly. That is the best illustration of Japanse coffee culture I can offer. That tenacity and attention to detail is why you'll have a hard time getting a bad cup of coffe in Japan.
- A roving communique from my iPhone