Often we find American stores or restaurants in Tokyo, but there’s always something just sort of “off” about them – the clothes are sized to the market, or the desserts are a bit less sweet, or something of that nature. It’s really fine, though – companies have to cater to their clientele in the location. We have come to accept that we get authentic Americana in…, well, America. This little oddity at the Cold Stone Creamery, though, really gave me a giggle. The ice cream scoopers at the Cold Stone always sing if you put a dollar in their tip jars in the U.S. but in a culture like Japan, where tipping is not customary, it seemed pretty weird to have a tip jar on the counter. And then I put in Y100. The video shows what I saw! Not quite the same as the bit of hokey-ness at the American counterpart. You decide: better or worse!?
Click the link above for the video!
This weekend, we took the kids to Cold Stone Creamery in Roppongi Hills, about a 10-minute walk from our house in Azabu Juban. Even though it’s been there for quite some time now – about four years at least – we had never taken the kids. There are so many things that are familiar with it, including the logo, the “like-it” and “love-it” sizing, and the blending in of toppings into the ice cream. But there are also unfamiliar things that make it uniquely Japanese: the creations are different and they do not have all of the same ice-cream flavors as in the U.S. Though they have the regular cakes available, the cakes are different too – more in the form of a jelly roll with ice cream in it. I will say, the funniest and best part of any Cold Stone experience is the singing. Of course, in the U.S. the servers sing when someone leaves a
A variety of nicely wrapped cakes for sale as a present.
$1 tip. Here in Japan, partially because there’s no tipping here, they sing while they scoop – no matter what. The two lovely women sang in English, a tune we knew, and the kids, my husband and I made appropriate appreciation noises. But we really loved it. It seemed so genuine. They wanted to please us, and weren’t just doing anything for the money. I love the Japanese orientation toward service. It’s truly lovely.
Regarding the ice-cream product, it’s also different than in the U.S. The Japanese palate would never withstand the overwhelming sweetness that Americans adore in their ice-cream mix-ins. So the ice cream itself is not as sweet and the mix-ins are less plentiful, but no less delicious. Of course their idea of a brownie is again, less sweet than an American idea, but m&m’s are m&m’s for goodness’ sake!
My son, Bailey, loved it - from the first scoop to the song to the eating!
All in all it was a successful and yummy outing. If you’re in the Roppongi area, I’d highly recommend it for a treat.