August 21, 2017
For this week’s video, we’re going to show you a bit about shaved ice in Japan, which we’re totally digging lately. It’s not the best shaved ice, mind you. We’ve had some amazing shaved ice at Ice Monster in Taiwan, and Patbingsu in Korea, and even some really great shaved ice in other parts of Japan, but today we’re showing you the bare bones version of shaved ice, which is actually not quite bad.
In a nutshell, the shaved ice we’re showing you today is just the shavings of an ice block with some fruity syrup squirted on it. That’s all. It doesn’t have condensed milk on it. It doesn’t have fruit and treats on it. No cereals. No red beans. The shavings aren’t made out of milk. Just ice and syrup. And though it sounds basic, really basic, it’s absolutely lovely on really hot and humid days. The shaved ice we’re showing you today is really refreshing, and kinda makes me feel guilt-free, considering how abundantly caloric other kinds of shaved ice are.
Supposedly Shimokitazawa is great for shaved ice. When we were looking into it, there used to be a map of Kakigori shops around Shimokitazawa. We couldn’t find it though, but it’s not really necessary. Within a few minutes of walking we found four different places. This one had outdoor seating, and an old fashioned ice shaver, so we decided to shoot at this shop. Other shops we found had the automated machines, which I just feel don’t have the same charm as the old-timey spinny shavermabob. I’m sure they might taste the same but my strong hipster tendencies urge me to appreciate analog a lot more.
If you walk down from Shimokitazawa station towards Frankie’s Coffee (which is a great coffee shop, by the way. Their cold brew is delicious), and turn left towards the Soup Curry shop, you’ll find a small little kind of park, which is the best way I can describe it. It’s got small Volkswagon Trucks and has the vibe of a food truck gathering. It’s got benches and chairs and tables and is great for sitting around and people watching. One of the trucks there serve this style of shaved ice as well, and it was this place that inspired us to shoot this video. It was closed when we went to shoot, though. There was a kind of festival happening at the time, and this little area was giving free samples of sours, and I’m assuming those sours were alcoholic. It was all pretty cool. Shimokitazawa overall is a really cool area, and if we didn’t live in Kichijoji I think we’d really like living in Shimokitazawa, which feels a little like the Hongdae of old, before it became overrun with franchises that are starting to detract from Hongdae’s original spirit. Hopefully, if you get to visit Tokyo, you can explore Shimokitazawa a bit as well and get a feel of what we’re talking about.
Funny story here: we filmed this video on Saturday, right before a torrential opening of the heavens descended upon us. It had hail! It had flood warnings! It was intense. We talk a bit about it in this week’s podcast. At the same time, though, we had planned on shooting another video on Saturday at around the same time. There’s a vegan restaurant we planned on shooting. Vegans rejoice! I know we said for a while that we were looking for a place, and I think we found one, finally. Others that we tried really, umm, suck at cooking. But this place seems legit. We didn’t get to film it, though, because it was hot and we’re old and we don’t have the sprightly energy that we once had where we could film and edit all day. That turned out to be good luck for us, because if we did push ourselves to film that vegan place, we’d have been caught in the storm. And I don’t know why that’s noteworthy for a blog post, but we’re simpler people now, and avoiding a big rainstorm is a win for us. So there!
If you’d like to check out the place we went to, the place is called UBUTAKO SIMOKITAZAWA（うぶたこ 下北沢), and the address is 〒1550031 東京都世田谷区Kitazawa, 2 Chome−33, 北沢2-33-8第二片柳ビル1Ｆ. If you copy and paste that into Google Maps it should show you how to get there. If you’re looking for some extra scenes, you can find them below!