Aug 7, 2013

Go to kissaten, Japanese coffee shops!

I'm always wondering why my foreign students (I'm a Japanese teacher) loves Starbucks Coffee so much. They hang out there very often, which is not bad at all, but Starbucks is everywhere in the world. As many of them will leave Japan in a couple of years, I'd like to say to them: "You are living abroad. Take advantage of this precious opportunity. Do something new or different!" 

I'm not saying they should learn karate or climb Mt. Fuji, which may be too tough, but they can have coffee at some Japanese kissaten (coffee shops) instead of the Seattle-style cafe once in a while, right?

My recommendation is Komeda's Coffee  (コメダ珈琲店, pronounced Komeda Kohi-ten), a Nagoya-based coffee chain with nearly 500 franchise stores around the country, mainly in the suburbs where they can secure a big parking space. All the stores feature comfortable high-back sofa seats and "interesting" Nagoya-style menu items.

Look at the photo below, for example. This is "misokatsu sand (=sandwich)" that I had the other day at Komeda's. Misokatsu, or a tonkatsu (deap-fried breaded pork) with miso-based sweet sauce, is one of the typical Nagoyan local dishes. The misokatsu, shredded cabbage and fluffy bread surprisingly go well.

But the most popular food at Komeda's is not misokatsu but  "shiro-noir," a warm brioche bread with cold soft serve ice cream on the top. I don't know why it is called Shiro-noir. Shiro means white in Japanese and noir is black in French. It does not mean anything. Strange name, but definitely  worth tasting. The warm bread melts the cream very quickly like the photo below, but this hot-cold combination is interesting and addictive.  

Oh, I have to say this: Komeda's Coffee is one of the best places to have breakfast. If you happen to find one of the chain shops before 11 a.m. and you are hungry, don't hesitate to go in and ask for "Morning sevice." Why? Because, like many other kissaten (Japanese-style coffee shops) in Nagoya, Komeda would offer you a slice of toast and a boiled egg for free if you order a drink. If you want, you can have a mini salad if you pay 200 yen extra.

To check the menu, please click here. It is all written in Japanese, but photos would help you to understand what it is like.

From here I'm writing in Japanese for someone learning Japanese!


生徒: せいと students
悪い: わるい bad
世界中: せかいじゅう all over the world
どこでも: anywhere


新しい: あたらしい new
喫茶店: きっさてん coffee shops


おすすめ: recommendation
珈琲: コーヒー 
名古屋: なごや name of the city
全国: ぜんこく the whole country
約: やく about
背が高い: せがたかい tall
座り心地がいい: すわりごこち be comfortable to sit on
独特: どくとく peculiar
特徴: とくちょう features, characteristics


写真:しゃしん photo
この前: このまえ the other day
甘い: あまい sweet
味噌: みそ soy bean paste
たれ: sauce
千切りの: せんぎりの shredded
柔らかい: やわらかい soft


人気:にんき popular
温かい: あたたかい warm
冷たい:つめたい cold
乗せる: のせる to put
組み合わせ: くみあわせ combination
くせになる: addictive


そうそう: by the way
お得: おとく bargain
注文する: ちゅうもんする  to order
無料: むりょう free of charge
ゆで卵: ゆでたまご a boiled egg
頼む: たのむ to ask


  1. Yukoさん、こんにちは!

    Sorry I haven't replied to you for so long! Things got a little busy but I still really enjoy your blog~ it's just perfect♪ I don't think I've heard of miso-katsu as a Nagoya specialty before, or the Shiro-Noir. ^_^ It makes me want to try them at least once in my life~~ Also, your Japanese lessons are so valuable to me! I'll make sure I study them hard when the holidays come ;) I actually find it enjoyable~~ :D

    The 'Morning Service' you mentioned reminds me of one of the signature dishes of Malaysia/Singapore: Kaya toast with soft eggs. Here is a blog post about one of the cafes we visited during our Singapore vacation:

    It's simply a sweet coconut jam & cold butter spread between two slices of toast, which you dip into the runny egg yolk/whites (much like 温泉卵). It's perfect with a hot cup of strong coffee. ..... mmm I wish I was there now. XD

    (P.S. I hope you don't mind me asking... what is your name in kanji or hiragana? Is it ok to call you ゆこ?I would like to know~)

    1. Hi サマンサさん

      I'm terribly sorry I didn't reply you sooooo long. I've been busy teaching these days and have no time to do something else. Hope you are still interested in my blog...

      Kaya toast with soft eggs!! Sounds so good! When I went to Malaysia for our honeymoon (long time ago), I didn't even know there was such a thing. Next time I'll visit Malaysia, I definitely try Kaya toast :)

      My name Yuko is written 優子 in kanji and ゆうこ in hiragana. Of course you can call me ゆうこ♪

    2. That's totally fine! Your real-life schedule should come first~ ^_^ Yes, I still enjoy your blog♪ How else would I learn so much about Japanese culture? haha.. You're a very nice teacher~~

      本当に?すばらしいです〜 I hope you enjoyed your time there! Yep, Kaya toast is a humble dish but the version in Malaysia is the best. ;)

      And... ありがとう、優子さん〜