I dropped by Yodobashi Camera (the big electronics retailer with the really annoying jingle) in Shinjuku today to pick up some stuff, and passed through the South Exit of Shinjuku Station on the way home. At the top of the staircase down to the Yamanote Line platform I spotted a big advert for Doughnut Plant NYC, the Japanese branch of the New York City doughnut shop. It seemed oddly out of place and out of scale to me, covering the entire wall alongside the top of the staircase (with the eye-catching slogan "GO NATURAL WITH FRIEND").
It was when I passed the staircase that I figured out why: the sign was actually the back wall of a recently opened shop inside the station: a branch of The Doughnut Plant. Man, that business is expanding rapidly here in Japan -- and selling more than doughnuts. This store was selling cake doughnuts as well as the traditional kind, not to mention bagels, salads, and t-shirts.
Of course, it's really a franchise of the original store in New York, not a branch or extension, so it looks like they're doing things in their own way -- Japanese -- way: on offer at this store was the NEW YEAR "和" CAKE DOUGHNUT BOX - a pack of four different kinds of doughnuts: Triple Valhrona chocolate, green tea, yuzu, and kinako flavors (yuzu is a tart citrus fruit native to Asia and kinako is sweet toasted soybean flour often sprinkled on confections).
The biggest sign of this being a Japanese business were the display cases for the non-doughnut products: one refrigerator was labeled:
PLANT SALAD & PLANT FOOD
After wondering, briefly, how there could be non-plant salads and anyways what was this place doing selling nursery supplies, the light dawned when I looked at the sign over the t-shirt rack, PLANT STORE. Ah, "Doughnut PLANT" --> "PLANT Salads", "PLANT Food", and "PLANT Store". Shows a less-than-certain grasp of idiomatic usage, clearly.
I bought a cinnamon bun and a frozen pizza-bagel, though I was somewhat tempted to buy one of the t-shirts, which has what looks like a Japanese-style slogan on it. I had to wonder if Doughnut Plant employees in New York City actually wear t-shirts reading:
NEVER SAY NO!
ALWAYS SAY YES!
BEST! BEST! BEST!
Honestly, I can easily envision a bunch of Japanese Doughnut Plant employees beginning the day with this chant. New York? Not so much.
UPDATE: And here's some pictures: