In Japan, the good cafes thrive. There is a reason for this; it’s no mystery. The people of Japan have a habit of rewarding good cafes, seeking them out, spreading the word about them, making sure that they get a lot of business. In a way, this system may seem like commonsense, the sort of thing that everyone should be doing, but it is a habit that is endemic to Japan. There is a booming specialty coffee culture in Japan, booming because of the value that the people of Japan place on specialty coffee. It’s a cyclical process: prize good coffee, get good coffee, prize good coffee, get good coffee on and on, over and over.
In America, on the other hand, there is no such culture. People in the US do not go out of their way to find great coffee or specialty cafes, at least not on a large scale, so good cafes tend to rise and fall rather quickly. Even in the biggest cities, you are much more likely to come across a chain, say a Starbucks or a Dunkin Donuts, than you are a specialty coffee shop that is turning a healthy profit. The reason? The American people aren’t rewarding good cafes in the same way that the Japanese people are.