An art exhibit featuring…. Starbucks Coffee?

I was a little bemused as I picked up the brochure at my local chain coffee, waiting for my cappuccino. As much as I hate to admit it, I secretly love going to Starbucks, even though Tokyo is filled with quality espresso joints – sometimes, it’s just quicker and well, they seem to be basically on every corner.

Whatever your feelings about the chain, if you’re a coffee/design lover (or just a clandestine visitor like myself), I suggest heading out to the back streets of Harajuku, where a pop-up ‘Starbucks gallery’ has appeared, for a limited time only.

Between September 9th and the 30th, you catch a close glimpse at the green-aproned baristas as they create their coffees or just sample some different products – even get a taste of what the barista’s job is like, with a try out.

Pop-up may be the latest cool trend for shops in Tokyo – halfway between a concept store and a testing ground, often working out quite well but sometimes disappearing quickly back where they came from – and even the major companies are getting involved.

You can sip your drink on location (it’s served in limited-edition paper cups specially designed by Harajuku ‘godfather’ Hiroshi Fujiwara) and purchase a selection of Starbucks-related goods, in case the brand from Seattle hadn’t invaded your life in Tokyo enough yet.

Where: Ba-tsu art gallery, Harajuku (see map)

When: Sept. 9-30

How much: Free

by Vivian Morelli