“Firearms vs. Frappuccinos”

With another mass shooting in the U.S., gun control is topping the news cycle again. I have little hope that this tragedy will make a difference. The right to bear arms is too important to too many American citizens (even if that “arm” is a an assault rifle).

How bad is the problem? CityLab has created an interactive map of the U.S., comparing the number of Starbucks to the number of places you can buy a gun.

It’s pretty depressing:

firearms vs frappuccinos

Some cities, like Seattle (home of Starbucks), Washington DC and Chicago all have more Starbucks than gun dealers:

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 7.22.29 AM

but there are plenty of cities where the pink dots far outnumber the green. And Orlando, Florida (site of the recent shooting) is one of them:


It’s hard for us here in Japan to understand why it’s even an issue. But it is. If you can think of a solution that will make both sides of the debate happy, you’ll be ahead of just about everyone in the U.S., including the current president and the presidential candidates.

Sonic seasoning

Do you like to listen to music when you’re eating or drinking? Does it make your food or drinks taste different?


(photo taken at a coffee shop in Portland)

According to this article from New York Magazine’s Science of Us, your coffee will taste different when you listen to high-pitched vs. low-pitched sound:

“These Music Clips Are Supposed to Change the Way Your Coffee Tastes”

Sonic seasoning

It works for beer, too, for those of you who turned 20 recently 🙂

Another reason to drink coffee

Matchabar in Brooklyn (photo from NYT)

There have been more news stories about the benefits of coffee in the past couple of weeks (see this article from The New York Times or this one from The Japan Times).

Or you could drink matcha, which is apparently quite the thing in NYC these days (see this article from CBS, or this one from the NYT).

Aside from the health benefits and the deliciousness, though, there’s the idea that coffee and tea, when drunk with friends in a casual space, can give rise to innovative ideas.

Steven Johnson talks about that in his TED Talk. You can watch a condensed version here (with a great RSA Animate style drawing accompanying the talk):

Or you can watch the full version on TED or on YouTube.

Coffee naptime

Grinding coffee at Heart

(image: grinding coffee at Heart in Portland)

I just spent a week in the coffee capital of the US (well, Seattle might argue) and drank some really good lattes, Americanos and macchiatos. I’m not sure how that affected my jet lag, but I suppose that the beer I drank (Portland is also the beer capital of the US) evened it out.

What I didn’t know is that there is such a thing as a “coffee nap”. A beer nap, sure. But coffee? According to this article, we should be taking short naps after drinking coffee:

“Scientists agree: Coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone”

Glad to be back in Tokyo, but oh, I do love Portland. And now it’s time for a coffee nap.