One of my favorite things about Japan is that despite the fact that almost nobody speaks English (I don’t care what you’ve heard – but more on that later), they’re obsessed with clothing that’s got English words and phrases on it. Most of the time, the words are just gibberish, a random string of nouns, verbs, adjectives and particles that give the illusion of syntax. They have no idea what it says, and they couldn’t care less. But sometimes … it’s not gibberish. I give you Exhibit A: a kid I spotted with his father in Starbucks this morning. Cute, huh?

It’s almost too easy to get photos like this. In fact, I may make this a regular feature: English T-shirt O’ the Week.

Speaking of Starbucks, it’s actually only the second time I’ve been to the one here; it’s a long way away from where I live. Like so much of Japan, it looks familiar on the surface, but that’s where the similarities end. Example: they had bagels in the pastry cabinet next to the register – the first I’ve seen in Japan. A bagel sounded great this morning, until I learned they couldn’t toast it and had no cream cheese. “There’s no need for cheese,” the clerk explained to my Japanese-speaking friend, as if I’d asked for a shrunken head. Flavor is already in it.