Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shikoku Journey: Taupe Café

How exquisite is this baby??

I want to dedicate a full post to Taupe café, as it was (and still is) one of my favourite places in the world. This café is like a home to me, a hidden gem in the midst of rice fields and a dated town, and that's where I spent countless hours with Isabel, musing about life in Marugame, and making plans for the future.

I remember a cold January night, I had just moved to Marugame, and my friend Daniel frantically texted me to meet him at the station, as he had an amazing place to show me. He made me promise to keep it a secret, but I had to share it with Isabel, as we were both yearning for treasures.

Tucked in a basement on a little side street, a whole new world opened up to me. The café was so stylish and cozy, and I could not believe such a place existed in Marugame. The owner, Shinya, is one of the most kind and generous people we had ever met. Day to day, we kept returning to the café, sitting there for hours, sipping the spicy ginger tea and having endless discussions about our life in Japan.

Shinya did not speak much English and Isabel and I could only awkwardly blurt out a few Japanese words, but somehow we managed to communicate through gestures, drawings and expressions. There was so much I wanted to tell Shinya, but I could not always and it made me sad. When my friend Mai was around, she could translate and it made us both so happy. Still, he was always so welcoming and made me feel like family. He knew when we felt sad, homesick, or happy. He also knew all the Marugame gossip, because we always found a way to tell him the juiciest stories.

I was most excited to revisit Taupe as soon as I set foot in Marugame on Friday. Mai picked me up at the station, and we immediately went to surprise Shinya. It was such a happy, heartwarming reunion. Despite my improved level of Japanese since my Marugame days, I realized I still couldn't understand the strong dialect spoken in Kagawa, which is called sanuki-ben.

I love Taupe, and if you're ever in Kagawa, you should drop by and have lunch there. The place is filled with small trinkets and treasures, books, blankets, and the food is outstanding. The menus are all unique and drawn by hand, and Shinya is the loveliest person you'll ever meet. I feel so lucky Taupe is part of my world, and to have made friends for life.

Shinya and I

My lovely friend Mai, whom I dearly miss

The plush sofas

Spicy ginger tea, my favourite


Treasures and liquor

I wish I lived at Taupe
The side table and menu

Rice and chicken meal

The menu is a story

Shinya's drawings are the best

And so is the latte art: "Welcome Vivian"

New friends.
Apparently I can be trusted to hold a baby.

Mai and the cutest baby in the world

My Japanese family


Yuri said...

This place looks quite lovely :]
And I am happy you were nice enough to share it with your readers.
It is amazing that you were able to make life long friends since it doesn't happen very often. I am very happy for you :]

3yin said...

OMG the baby is so cuteeeee! I love Japan but haven't had the chance to visit. Its really great reading your blog and seeing the pictures!

thanks for sharing!