Enoshima Revisited, and Shirokuma Cafe

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For Tsuritama fans, you can always go home again.

I decided to pay another visit to Enoshima on my last day of Spring break.  I’ve been fighting a nasty cold but I was able to make the trip thanks to the wonders of Japanese ibuprofen, which contains lots of caffeine and a third ingredient listed online as a “sedative/hypnotic”, and to whose overall efficacy I can enthusiastically attest.

My first visit to Enoshima was, if you recall, blessed with gale-force winds that I quite honestly felt at times might lift me up “Oz” fashion and carry me out to sea.  It was a lovely day today (great Fuji views), with light winds, which makes the incident that occurred near the Iwaya sea caves all the more ironic: I set my sumaho down on a staircase railing to put on my jacket and a huge gust kicked up out of nowhere and blew it off, right onto the rocky cliff.  I was quite gobsmacked, I can tell you.  I dashed down and slipped over the rope fence (always dicey breaking rules in Japan) to search, and found the rubber backing first (uh oh).  There were two small pools of water which I would guess covered perhaps 3% of the surface area below the cliff, the rest of which was dry rock.  Naturally the battery was in one, the innards of the phone in another.  And here, I must give full credit to the fine folks at HTC – I put the thing back together, dried it off, and damned if it doesn’t still work.

I love Enoshima, touristy though it is.  It’s just a wacky, surreal place, with larger-than-life myths to go along with the views.  And as if it didn’t have enough to recommend it, it’s absolutely chock-a-block with friendly cats of all shapes and sizes (I even saw one which looked just like “Boss”).  There was one, in fact, that was famous enough to have his own picture and savvy enough to pose next to it.  The place also boasts more raptors than anywhere else I’ve seen – they’re constantly circling overhead, everywhere, squabbling with crows and ravens and dive-bombing the coves.  This time around I bought the “Enopass” and went inside the Samuel Cocking Garden, and to the top of the Sea Candle (where Yuki once woke up once after Haru zapped him with his squirt gun).  The only thing I was never able to find was the house Yuki and Keito lived in, if it really exists.

Afterwards I stopped at Shirokuma Cafe in Takadanobaba.  No, it doesn’t quite have the same charm – it’s on busy Waseda Dori in grimy Takadanobaba and not in a park, for one, and the staff is entirely human for another (though the women do wear scarves on their heads).  But it’s still quite a treat to see, filled with memorabilia and art from the series.  I ordered – naturally – a caffe mocha, and I’m happy to report that it was excellent.  Made with real hand-pulled espresso (not push-button) and not too sweet.  They also have desserts and a full menu of Shirokuma-themed hot dishes.

I’m also happy to report that the place was quite busy, despite it being about 5 PM on a Thursday.  It was, it must be said, almost all women – very few dudes in there.  There were some children and even a couple of obaa-sans.  But it certainly supports the notion that this series has been quite a hit with the female audience especially, which is hopefully a good sign for future endeavors.

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  1. e

    *petting the neko*
    Glad to hear the Japanese ibuprofen fairy worked her magic :D… and that you managed to recover the scattered parts of your smartphone.
    I'm happily envying your RL SC time. And the nice weather.

  2. w

    You went to Takadanobaba after me mentioning it a few days ago didn't you? XD. Did you end up getting to keep that coffee mug of Shirokuma Cafe from drinking the Cafe Mocha? Cos a number of exclusive limited Shirokuma Cafe goods from the Takadanobaba cafe have popped up on Yahoo Japan Auctions like that mug (which are limited to 300 according to their website). I've only managed to get one that featured Penguin, but there are ones that were made for Grizzly, Panda and I believe for Shirokuma as well. The collector in me wants to get the whole set since I've built up a Shirokuma Cafe mug collection from the official ones released by COSPA lol.

  3. No, they didn't even sell that mug, much less give it away. Which is a shame, because they could sell a lot more than 300 if they wanted to.

    Yeah, it was your comment that reminded me I hadn't been out there yet, domou.

  4. A

    Simply put, you make me jelly much, being able to visit Enoshima and Shirokuma Cafe.

  5. H

    Just so you know, Ibuprofen is it's own active ingredient so it can't technically contain any other active ingredient (unless Japan has a weird naming system). The sedative/hypnotic sounds like an antihistamine, most likely Promethazine. Atleast I hope it is: You shouldn't be able to get Benzodiazepines that easily…

  6. I only say ibuprofen because I assume no one not in Japan would recognize the brand name, and it would be incorrect to say "Advil". There are three active ingredients in the formulation – ibuprofen, caffeine, and the "sedative/hypnotic" which is not an antihistamine. Frankly, the name is exhausting to type (about 20 letters).

  7. K

    That Tsuritama DVD/BR sign was up when I went to Enoshima in December, glad to see they have not taken it down yet. :)

    I can't wait to own Tsuritama on DVD. I am just waiting for Sentai to solicit it so I can give them my money.

    And I am jealous of the shirokuma cafe. I want that cafe mocha….

  8. S

    I miss being able to watch Shirokuma Cafe every Thursday morning already… but it's great there's a real life Polar Bear Cafe in Japan! I wonder if it's just for a limited time though.

  9. Looks pretty permanent to me.

  10. S

    Nice, if I ever visit Japan in the not-even-remotely-near-at-all future, I'll definitely have to check out Polar Bear Cafe, and Enoshima too.

  11. v

    Currently, how is your nihongo? Since you have been staying in Japan for quite some time. Having fun/hard time adapted to eastern culture? Japan's culture could be quite different in some ways comparing to other east asia countries.

  12. Having huge fun, thanks, and the Nihongo is coming along slowly but OK. I actually find remembering Kanji harder than anything else about the language.

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