Going to Hondori Starbucks to check this out...

Good morning everyone,

Well, it rained all night and it's still raining a bit now, but it should ease up and stop raining by around lunchtime today. The rest of the day will be mostly cloudy and then we may see some sun tomorrow...

I saw the news this morning that a man had lit himself on fire on a bullet train, killing himself and another passenger. What the hell? I can't stand people that kill themselves in ways that endanger others. If you're so set on killing yourself, jump into a lake or off a mountain-don't 'take as many people with you as you can'.

Anyway, I'll wait till all the details emerge before I go on a huge rant-I don't want to end up eating crow...today's blog is about Starbucks and the 'doya-gao' we often see there...

A calm atmosphere, free Wi-Fi, and decent coffee – what’s not to love about Starbucks? If you walk into any branch, you will see a line of people waiting to grab their favorite caffeinated pick-me-up. You’re also likely see a bunch of people hunched over their laptops typing away furiously, either by themselves or huddled together in groups. The laptop of choice to go with their steaming mug of coffee? From what we’ve seen, it seems to be a MacBook Air.

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Have you ever watched people when they’re silently working on a computer, wondered what they’re up to, and then all of a sudden a smug little grin inexplicably breaks across their face? This self-satisfied look is known as a doya-gao in Japanese. Have you ever noticed a correlation between the frequency of people using MacBook Airs in Starbucks and those wearing a doya-gao expression.

First, let’s take a closer look at the term doya-gao (ドヤ顔) in Japanese. I’m personally rather fond of the word and prefer to use it over any English equivalent.

Doya-gao is a slang term that originated in the Kansai region of Japan but is now used all over the country. According to one source, it’s the Kansai equivalent of “dou da?” [How is it?/How am I doing?], also implying something along the lines of “Isn’t what I did just now awesome?” or “I’m so cool!” Tack on “gao,” the suffix form of “kao” [face], and you have a word that refers to a triumphant, self-satisfied expression.

Here are some visuals to help:

▼If this doesn’t capture the essence of doya-gao perfectly, I don’t know what does.

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▼Another classic anime smirk. Vegeta always looks particularly pleased with himself.

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OK, hopefully you get the point.

Why do so many people with MacBook Airs seem to exhibit doya-gao?

According to one theory, the MacBook Air is such a glamorous grown-up toy that it must trigger some chemical in the brain to make people feel just as attractive themselves. The doya-gao occurs naturally as a result. People working on trendy MacBook Airs in trendy Starbucks are no exception. In fact, the atmosphere probably adds to the effect. Whenever you go buy a coffee in the city and scan everyone’s faces, you are bound to see at least one person with a doya-gao. At which point you’d be wise to see what kind of laptop they’re working on.

Of course, Not all locations are the same. Not all Starbucks have an equal number of people with doya-gao. But in the shops with the most, you can usually also spot a large number of MacBook Airs. Coincidence?

So what makes Starbucks more attractive for people than other coffee shops. Well, they tend to be more expansive (and expensive, but if you've got a MacBook, you don't care about a 500 yen coffee) and comfortable, with lots of power outlets so that you can stay and mess around on Facebook work for a long time. Perhaps it’s not surprising then that many government workers and company employees grab a coffee and work on their MacBook Airs for long stretches of time, inevitably making a doya-gao at some point.

If a Starbucks is located in an incredibly posh area, you might find many creative-looking doya-gao there. If there’s also a famous sports gym in the neighborhood, people swing by with their trendy workout wear and you can find sweaty people coming in and making “post-workout doya-gao,” too.

Can you also spot lots of MacBook Air users with doya-gao in other popular coffee chains in Japan, such as Doutor or Excelsior?

To be honest, I haven't been to a coffee shop for ages. I always have instant coffee at my school and the only time you'll see me making a doya-gao is when I finish the crossword...ha ha! The only other place I've been to recently is Mr. Donuts and there's nobody uses a laptop of any sort in there-the customers are split between students who come in to do their homework and people just meeting up and gossiping...I guess if I watched them more closely, I might see the occasional doya-gao on students' faces if they can answer a tough question...but I don't want to get arrested for gawking at high school girls...ha ha!

Have a great day!


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