If you want to know how a country thinks or is titillated, a bookstore is a good place to start. Combine this with a cup of coffee and you could call it a day, or just a lunch break. Bookstores and coffee shops are a natural fit, even if, like me, you mostly resort to looking at pictures in magazines.
The Abeno branch of Standard brings its number in the city to three; there is one in uber-trendy Chayamachi and another in used-to-be-trendy Shinsaibashi. The Abeno branch opened a little before the giant neighboring skyscraper, Abeno Harukas, earlier this year.
The cafe is kitted out in self-consciously cheap-ish, hip-ish DIY decor; seating is divided between counter seats and long tables. You can peruse any reading material you find in the bookshop as you while away the minutes or hours. The coffee comes in big mugs, while juices and ice drinks come in retro-looking jam jars. Lunch options include hot dogs, “N.Y.-style sandwiches,” taco rice and curry. Standard also stocks Minoh Beer, a local craft brew, which I am still not sold on.
Three books that stood out on a recent visit, purely for their titles, were “Flat House Style,” a book about flat pack houses; “All About Alaska” (self-explanatory); and “Fascinating Curry Pan,” a book abut fascinating curry bread. In addition to the books are the sorts of quirky odds and ends that you might find at Tokyu Hands or Loft.