Those who have been reading this blog since its beginning surely will remember that @Nobrice used to make a lot of comments on this site.  He’s an extremely passionate fan of Starbucks from Japan.  He’s taken a number of trips to the U.S. and I’ve hung out with him on a number of occasions.  I truly like him.  He has a great heart and he is the sweetest guy ever.  Every single time he comes to Seattle, he brings lots of gifts for partners with whom he’s connected with over the years.

Melissa Allison (a Seattle Times journalist) wrote a short article about him here.  In past years, Noboru and I cupped coffee together at 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, hung out at First and Pike Starbucks (one of his favorite stores), went to 1912 Pike Place, and much more.  I recall that he was here on Memorial Day last year, and we were touring stores, went to Fourth and Diagonal and found it closed.  We still enjoyed the simple fun of pressing our noses up to the windows and peering in.  That store was a very early prototype store for the re-purposed-wood and LEED design of stores, and because it was a prototype, it has some unique design elements.  (The drive through is highly unusual!)  After the trip to Fourth and Diagonal Starbucks, we had fun shopping at the Mariner’s Store near Safeco Field.  And, as I recall, that Memorial Day he had planned to pass along many gifts to store partners; however, a few of the partners with whom he had connected with had been promoted to the SSC since his last trip!  We called up a contact person at the SSC and they were able to guarantee that all the gifts would be delivered – he touched so many people.  The partner (the contact person at the SSC) picked them all up from 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea and got them there.

On another trip, we had a blast driving around to find the “Verona Bridge.”  The image of the bridge on the bag of Verona is based on a real bridge in Seattle.  Here’s our “Verona Bridge” visit:

  • A day with Noboru Sakamoto.  (Please note, there is a factual error in that blog post – the store we visited in downtown Seattle  is quite large, but is by no means the largest in North America.)

Now Noboru is battling cancer and he is now in the hospital.   I know that he always wanted to meet Howard Schultz, and despite multiple trips to the U.S., never had the opportunity.  He really wanted to meet Howard Schultz.   I hope that that can still happen for him someday.  Nobu had had surgery to remove the cancer about one year ago, but at this point he is weaker and he needs all the positive energy and good prayers that we can possibly muster up for him.  Please include him in your prayer time.  I feel emotional writing this, and I apologize for the totally out-of-character blog article.

I was thinking that if you wanted to wish him a speedy recovery, you could send him an e-card from the website.

^ Once that page has loaded, if you look in the lower right corner, there is a link that says “Create an e-card.”  You can use that to create a Starbucks Christmas e-card.  Send it to  (He uses that email for his business as well as personal email.)

I know the holidays are busy, but please take a minute to send some positive energy to him and/or wish him a speedy recovery with an e-card.

Thank you.