Japan 2007 Starbucks Mug

Every year on Boxing Day, Starbucks in Japan release a very limited edition mug celebrating the New Year. The supplies of these mugs are always very limited and sometimes sell out in most Starbucks stores before New Years.

Japan 2007 Starbucks Mug

Japan 2007 Starbucks Mug

I had actually bought a New Year Japan mug previously but actually gave it to a friend as a present because I wasn’t collecting them back then! Grah! Talk about frustrating! This mug, the 2007 Japan mug was the first one I kept for myself and I really like it though it appears slightly smaller than the other Starbucks mugs and the material it’s made from seems a lower quality (stains very easily) for some unknown reason.

I love the celebration of traditional Japanese artwork on the mug which portrays the plum blossom (or “ume” in Japanese) which normally blossoms in Winter in Japan.

What do you think about the design?

Kyoto, Japan Starbucks Mug

While staying in Nagoya I did a day trip to Kyoto which only took 30 minutes on the bullet train! Talk about convenient!

I had been there seven years ago but didn’t get the chance to see any of the real famous sites such as the Golden Pavillion. It’s definitely worth a visit and is something that everyone should see at least once. Best to go in off peak seasons though as I went in Golden Week and the place was absolutely packed. Wasn’t too bad though.

Kyoto Japan Starbucks Coffee Mug

Kyoto Japan Starbucks Coffee Mug

Besides the famous tourist attractions, one of the other reasons I wanted to go again was because like many of the other Japanese cities, they had updated their Starbucks City Mugs with an awesome new design (will blog about the original Kyoto mug soon). I had seen this mug for sale at Narita airport since it came out in 2010 but refused to buy one for myself as I like to buy my mugs as a momento of my own travels.

This new design really is beautiful. Check out my video of the Kyoto Starbucks Mug I took at the famous Golden Pavillion to see all sides of the design.

I love the colour usage and how they’ve included the many aspects of Kyoto culture such as the willow trees, the Gaisha, the fans, the Golden Pavillion itself as well as some sakura. I love the classy tan and brown colours contrasted by the colourful colours of the gaisha and fans and the new metalic gold paint is a really nice addition.

I have to say this mug is now one of my favourites that I use on a very regular basis. I wonder if they’ll update the design again now that Starbucks has updated their logo?

Nagoya Japan Starbucks Mug

Last week I spent my Golden Week holiday on a trip dornw to Nagoya and Kyoto. Naturally Something I had to do was buy the Starbucks mugs for each city (check back in a few days for my post about my awesome new Kyoto Starbucks Mug 😉 ) and I’m very happy with them!

The Nagoya one is very cool. As with several other locations in Japan, 2010 saw a revamp of several city mugs with completely new designs and a different look that included some metalic paint usage as well. I love the refreshing orange, blue and brown colour scheme on the new Nagoya mug and really appreciated the use of traditional Japanese patterns in the background.

Nagoya, Japan Starbucks Mug

Nagoya, Japan Starbucks Mug

There is quite a lot of Nagoya specific design elements featured on this mug from the samurai carrying their family flags (will upload a video of a reinactment we witnessed soon) to
Nagoya Castle where I filmed this video of the Nagoya mug and took the above photo.

The main focus of the mug is of course the giant brown/gold “fish” which is in fact an Orca (i.e. “Killer Whale”) and is actually a traditional symbol of protection in Nagoya and replaces the usual guardian lions in many places. The kanji for these creatures is “鯱” and can be read two ways. 1) “shachihoko” which refers exclusively to the magical creatures shown here. 2) “shachi” which means “orca”. This is very confusing, even for my Japanese friends with numerous sources having different interpretations. When reading up more about Nagoya Castle you will most likely hear that these creatures are “Golden Dolphins” which can seem quite random until you remember that Orca’s aren’t whales as they are famously referred to, but a species of dolphin.

If you look closely at the photo and video on this page you will notice there are two golden Orca atop the Nagoya Castle which are said to protect the building from fires and used to be able to be seen from miles away.

Also while in Nagoya I happened across a Starbucks in Sakae that was using the new Starbucks Logo. Hadn’t seen it in use yet in Japan so thought it was worth filming.

Starbucks Coffee Japan Sakura 2011 Mug

This year’s Sakura mug definitely has to be my favourite so far. Thankfully Starbucks abandoned the style they unsuccessfully used for the Sakura 2010 Starbucks Mug and have gone back to the Sakura 2007 shape.

Starbucks Japan Sakura 2011 Coffee Mug

Starbucks Japan Sakura 2011 Coffee Mug

I love the use of the blue and green. These two colours really do reflect a true life Sakura experience with the blue sky and green leaves starting to appear on the branches. Check out my video of the 2011 Sakura Mug against a sakura tree in Tokyo Japan to see how impressive the design really is when compared to a real cherry blossom tree.

Something else I love is the addition of the metalic gold paint used for the branches and also the words “SAKURA 2011”. It’s a classy subtle design idea and it works really well. I also love how the design fades towards the top and bottom of the mug so it doesn’t get a cheap looking white bar that a lot of the older Starbucks mugs end up with. Really nice design.

The higher ups at Starbucks Japan must have really been impressed with the design too as they really went all out this year with Sakura 2011 merchandise. Have a look at this video I made in the Ogikubo Starbucks of the whole Sakura 2011 in-store collection! I really had to try hard not to buy everything on that shelf. How nice are those glasses? 🙂

Can’t wait to see what Sakura designs Starbucks has in store for Sakura 2012!

Starbucks Coffee Japan Sakura 2010 Mug

The 2010 Sakura Mug was definitely one of those mugs I bought purely because I was a collector. While I love the design and really appreciate the use of metalic gold and silver paint (something a lot of the new Japanese Starbucks Mugs began experimenting with in 2010) the actual size of the mug is what turns me off.

click for HD photo

The mug is the same approx height as other Starbucks Mugs but it’s width is literally half the size. It’s a really bizzare design choice as due to it’s rather limited volume I’ve found I rarely have a reason to use it. Check out my video of the 2010 Sakura Mug to see how small it is compared to my hand.

Again, great visual design but the mug itself was a big letdown. It seems I wasn’t the only one put off by the size as this year, 2011 saw the return to the mug size used for previous Sakura Mugs.