Perhaps many of my Japan-resident readers will be aware of the presence of drink bars in many Japanese family restaurants, but they are difficult to enter alone when all you want to do is spend some quality me time. Fortunately there are alternatives that can save you a little money here and there:
1. Mister Donut does free refills. This doughnut chain has branches all over Japan, and they offer unlimited free refills on their hot coffees, and don’t seem to mind people camping out all day. Make sure you pick up their point card and sign up to their email newsletter (mobile phone only) or check their web site for frequent discount coupons. If you get in before 11 am you can get a coffee and doughnut for 300 yen and nurse it all day, and if you’re really lucky you can catch them giving out pass cards for 20% of all doughnuts and 300 yen coffee and doughnuts all day every day for the next six months or so. Pon De Ring Crunch Choco is excellent, but the fancy one in the middle of the photo above was a limited edition Nodame Cantabile Christmas 2009 offering!
2. Starbucks: If you must go there, order the filter coffee and at the bottom of the receipt is a token for a second cup for 100 yen.
3. Many posh hotel lounges will keep refilling your coffee. I’ve never tried this one out myself, but it was on a TV program a couple of weeks back. When they come to tidy up your cup, you can ask for a new one, which is all included in their service charge. In addition, many hotels have wifi in their lobby, and even a power point if you want to be really cheap!
4. If you prefer tea, places with teapot service (or hotel lounges again) will sometimes give you a new pot of hot water if you ask for 差し湯, sashi yu. The one chain I know for sure that does this is Cocorico, but there are quite a few individual places that also do this, such as the rather nice Ai-Ai Park’s Bumble Bee Cafe.
This has been my submission for this month’s Japan Blog Matsuri, organised by Philip Seyfi at NihongoUp, on Japanese how-tos.
Mister Donut photo from telepathicgeorge on flickr.Read more on: how-tos