Sandwiches, Soup and Satomi Kobayashi: パンとスープとネコ日和

Just slightly more eventful than Kana Matsumoto’s earlier work Mother Water and with more of a plot trajectory, brightness and slightly faster pacing than her last feature film Tokyo Oasis, パンとスープとネコ日和 (Bread and Soup and Cat Weather) is an immersive, relaxing, short Japanese drama series that’s quietly beautiful and delightful. With characters drawn from the casts of めがねプールかもめ食堂 (Glasses, Pool, Seagull Diner)、Mother Water and Tokyo Oasis (like Ryo Kase), along with settings and relationships similar to those films, there’s a familiar, airy atmospheric quality to this 4-episode j-drama.

episode 4 title scene

I love how the series brings you into the kinds of cozy places you’ll find in Japan—cafés with simple yet stylistic decor and good, unique food, little side streets of shops and restaurants. It’s also great how there’s time for relationships to be revealed and developed in ways that couldn’t in the movies mentioned above. And the sandwiches and soups look delicious, reminding me of some of the menu items at the Hi-Rise Bread Company in Cambridge, MA and at Soup Stock Tokyo.

If you’re interested in watching the series, the DVD set will be released in just a couple days on January 15th and can be purchased via CD Japan or Amazon Japan.

There are only a few clips from this series on YouTube. Here’s a fun one from the ending of the series (no spoilers) featuring all the characters めがね メルシー体操-style. This part is much quirkier than the rest of the film which is highly quotidian and may border on understated for some viewers—I prefer to think of the film’s ambiance as unhurried, leisurely and thoughtful.

Pachamama Coffee: a cozy cafe in Davis, CA

With warm, simple, snug atmosphere of window-facing wooden counters, friendly staff and delicious responsibly sourced coffee, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative Davis is a great place to relax with a mug of coffee.

Pachamama in the afternoon

If you like the offerings of Stumptown or Terroir, Pachamama‘s pour-over coffees are a real treat of fabulous flavors, with tasting notes nicely described for each of their menu items. And if you’d like to brew some at home, a bag of beans can be easily purchased. The only detractor I’ve found is that if you’re sitting at the counter facing First Street, it can be uncomfortably hot and bright in the afternoons when the sun is shining through the otherwise gorgeous, large front window.

If you’re in Davis, California and love freshly brewed coffee, I hope you get a chance to enjoy this cafe!

If you’re in Okayama City…

inside Korakuen

Drop by Cifa Cafe. This cafe + art gallery + design studio has delicious snacks, interesting artwork and friendly staff. Located close to the Okayama Prefectural Art Museum and just a short walk from the splendid Koraku-en garden (where the picture above was taken) and Okayama Castle, this cafe is a great place to hang out after checking out art exhibitions or strolling through a landscape of meticulously practiced Japanese horticulture.  Continue reading