JAPAN: The World's Most Expensive Cup of Coffee

A notable byproduct of Japan's swift rise to economic superpower status is a mildly bizarre cult of the price tag. Some of the best customers of art galleries on Madison Avenue and the Faubourg St. Honoré these days are dealers from Tokyo or Osaka, their pockets stuffed with yen, who are willing to pay astronomical sums for French impressionist paintings. Japanese buyers are equally conspicuous at the yearling auctions in Saratoga and Deauville, bidding handsomely for the best thoroughbreds. In fact, the Japanese seem to have supplanted the stereotype Texans as the...

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