Healing thoughts and prayers needed for Noboru Sakamoto (@Nobrice)
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 Starbucks.com 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 email@example.com. (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.
Such a touching entry Melody, I will be sure to send my well wishes and thoughts his way.
Very sorry to hear that! I really enjoy his posts. Sending healing thoughts his way!
Starbucks e-card is on the way!
@Elly, @StarbucksDave @LatteRose @Fadra – Thank you!
He will be in my thoughts. <3
Done! As a Starbucks DM I’ve only met Howard once and it was a memorable experience, I hope Noboru is able to one day do the same!
I have had many family members battle (or are still battling) cancer. I it is tough on every one and I truly hope he gets better. I wish him and his family lot of luck and love while there going through such a scary thing.
I miss him so much! He’s in my heart… 🙁
Card is on the way!! I wish Nob the best!!
He’s in my prayers…along with too many others, I’m sorry to say. I know the wicked disease way too well.
(my niece…who is 30 and just married a couple weeks ago….has FIVE of her closest friends who have all LOST a parent to some cancer (all in their 50’s) within the past 2 yrs. so sad.) Anyway, at her wedding, instead of any ‘favors’ for the guests, they had a little card about they made a donation to the American Cancer Society instead. From my experience, that’s really one of the very best cancer ogranizations…..and of course there are many good ones.
In any case, Nob will now be added to my prayers.
@Fran and Hayley – Thank you for sending the cards! @Denise – Thank you so much. It seems like cancer is this creature that just leaps onto people regardless of age, race, or anything whatsoever. Noboru is too young! I think he’s late 30s, early 40s … it’s awful awful awful.
Such a nice person. He’ll be in my thoughts and prayers. Get well soon Nob!
As a fellow loyal customer to Starbucks, I should really send it Noburo one of those e-Cards.
I’ll pray that he remains strong in this trying time in his life.
Wow, please don’t make me cry.
My e-mail box has many cards, they are messages of the encouragement with big love.
I should be in Seattle if usual because it is Christmas. But I’m in Japan now. There is my Christmas of this year on the bed of the hospital in Japan. It is sad. But I must fight if it is command of God to overcome a disease.
Thank you for encouragement. Thank you very much!!!
Nob, please get better real soon and send us a tweet when you are able, we ALL miss you very much! Stay well my friend!
Pencil to Paper
Nob, I will be keeping you in my prayers and thoughts!
Nob! wishing you feel better soon!!!! I have a Japanese partner at my current store and she’s teaching me a little Japanese!
Definitely in my thoughts and prayers, nob.
Melody what a most beautiful and touching piece on Nobu and thank you for taking the time to write it. Nobu I hope you are healing and can find your way to the USA soon. My thoughts are with you.
Very nice piece, Melody. Enjoyed reading the older post too. Wishing good things for Noboru and hopefully he will meet Howard Schultz someday.
@Noboru I am sad you will not get to see Seattle this Christmas, but know that I am sending many warm and happy thoughts your way so that you may visit next Christmas!
Melody any new updates re how Nobu is doing? Would love to hear. Thanks.
This is a beautiful post, Melody. I remember reading about your tour around Seattle, hope he gets better and can go visit again soon!
Nobu-san, you will definitely be in my prayers this Christmas!
I believe what Nob himself posted in this thread is the most beautiful of all……
@Denise – Totally agree.
Thank you to everyone in this thread for responding and sending cards – He’s gotta pull through with all our positive energy and prayers coming his way. 🙂
Nob, get better soon! You’re the best.
Great to hear a comment from Nob. Happy holidays to you again and please get better soon.
I cannot believe how I am crying. He told me that if he passed away, I would get an email from a good friend of his who has my email address. The email came today. Oh god. I really adored – in some way I loved – Noboru so much. He was the sweetest soul ever.
To my friends.
Hello, this is Nob. I have bad news today.
My fight against illness that continued from 2010 got an ending.
I lost the fight.
I left this sentence to my friend to notify you when I died.
So, I’m sorry.
But I do not forget you. You are a very good friend.
Please love your families and friends.
Thank you very much.
* Please do not reply to this e-mail. Nobody can answer it.
this news very much saddens me. i am glad though to be able to say i got to spend some (albeit limited) time laughing and being happy with nobrice while he was with us. i will spend some time tonight and over the next few days sending up memories of him. perhaps, in the next world, he will catch those memories and smile.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish I had the chance to meet him; I can tell how wonderful of a person he is just by reading his Japanese-version of his farewell letter. So well-written; polite and thoughtful until the end.
His loss certainly is a big one, for all of his family, friends, and the Starbucks community. My thoughts and prayers are with you, his family, and friends worldwide.
I’m in a little bit in a state of disbelief right now and am very sad hearing of this. I have really missed Nob’s endless sense of humor and his endless banter with @sbirr on twitter. If even half of our partners had as much passion for Starbucks, I wonder where our company would be now. Perhaps one of our greatest partners just happened to be one of our biggest fans. I deeply regret not clearing my schedule enough to meet him when I had the opportunity which makes me all the more sad. I DID make it a point to go visit that store in Tillicum that reminded him of a train car because I remember him talking about how much it fascinated him. This happened much too early….
Barb the French Bean
Oh, Melody…I am so sorry about this news. Reading about him reveals that he was a great man. I don’t know how much words can be of a comfort to you, but know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. *hug*
Oh Melody, I am so sorry.
Melody Nobu sounds like he was such a upright and terrific person and his note that he wrote to be sent to you is so touching. I too wish I had a chance to meet him over a cup of coffee. You were very lucky to have him as a friend.
Melody..I am so sorry for your loss and sadness. and, obviously the loss of such a good person on this earth.
Thank you everyone. I really did cry a lot last night. Today is much better. I noticed that Nobu’s last tweets were thanks for all the many cards he received. I really am so thankful to every single person who used the link above during Dec and sent him a card.
Thank you so much for all the tweets, comments and love. 🙂
Melody do you happen to know what charities Nobu supported or how you would go about making a donation in his memory? Any suggestions? Glad today is better for you. It never goes away but somehow hopefully each day is better.
Melody, I am very sorry to hear this. I really enjoyed reading his posts, and wish I had met him. Take care.
The biggest issue that I have right now is also the fact that I’ve never got the chance to meet him in person. And I always planned to do it someday…but now it is over. I would loved to meet him! So much!
Such sad news. He was such a kind, nice and respectful person. I enjoyed his messages on Twitter and on your blog Melody.
I like @purple1’s idea – do you know of any charities he supported?
I hope you are doing well Melody. Take care.
I am on my Kindle so this might be sloppy. I can definitely say that Noboru was very proud of Starbucks’ relationship with product (Red). I recall him saying that he wanted the Red card and products in Japan.
He seemed liked such a kind hearted, well meaning individual. I don’t know what to say, as I only knew him from here and twitter. But, I know, that he will be missed tremendously!
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of course i will spare a few moments to send positive healing thoughts to noboru! he is a very lovely person (met him once, with melody), always thinking of and giving to others. get well soon!