Another Year, An Older Liz: The Twentieth Edition

So today started out kind of lazily, with both Lizzie and I stumbling up and wandering out the door for food. We didn’t end up finding anything near us, just walked around for a good half hour plus, so we decided to just jump on the rail to Enoshima and eat there. Pulling up on the Enoden was absolutely lovely, it felt like we were in some old-timey (Ghibli) movie, now arriving at a magical island. We bumbled our way over the bridge to get there and feast, which we finally did around 12. There was this tasty-looking place with a lot of sashimi bowls, so we stopped there. I ordered a bowl with shirasu, ikura, some seaweed, unknown sashimi and sazae, the last of which was intriguing to say the least. It was a really good bowl and I loved the shirasu, which this area is famous for. Super tasty and a great solution to our hunger pains. Oh, and this place also had this mysterious machine that ended up being a zodiac fortune thing, so Lizzie and I unknowingly put in for this this. My paper said that my lucky color is blue (true that), numbers are 3 and 7 (at least one is spot on), my body is gonna be good and money situation is chill. I’m either forgetting or couldn’t read the other stuff, but it was cute.

After lunch we headed to the Enoshima Jinja, which was dedicated to the lovely Benzaiten and I really dug it. There was a cool rope(?) circle you could walk through for good luck (I think), the main shrine, and this lovely specific building (rounded one on the bottom left) that was simply dedicated to Benzaiten. It has copious snake candles, a small shrine for her, 2 snake guardians (which you could rub for good luck) and an absolutely gorgeous painting of a watercolor blue/white cloudy, watery-looking dragon on the ceiling. Breath-taking. There was also a pretty little pond where you could wash your money for good luck. Lizzie and I didn’t know how to do it though, so we passed and just admired the scene.Here I also bought a new goshuincho, as mine is all filled up for jinja and the Enoshima one was very pretty. And lastly for this shrine, see the cats in the bottom right pic? Yeah, this cute couple had 2, one perched on the woman’s shoulder as she walked around, wearing Spain hats and chillin’ on-leash. I couldn’t stop freaking out!!

As we descended down the steps we saw this lovely pottery place, which had hella cheap pottery outside and made me basically throw my money at them. There were gorgeous grey maple leaf plates (check), pretty cups with a simple grey leaf elegantly stretching across it (check), and a fish grater dish that I’ve been lusting after since forever online and yet alas, I found it in person for only ~$4. Bless this store.

After I gave over yet more money we stopped in a cafe, where Lizzie got coffee to warm up while I got coffee ice cream. Oh, and the warming up part? Neither of us had jackets, but Lizzie at least had a long-sleeve on. I was the only, I repeat only, asshole walking around with no sleeves and fine with it. A bit chilly, sure, but it was honestly such lovely weather and only a bit crisp to me that it was okay. In the cafe was an old woman was blowing one of those birthday party horns and Lizzie and I couldn’t stop laughing. How did she get this, and why, and using it now in the cafe? The heck? Her friend caught us giggling (it was hard to ignore, I’m sure) and explained that it was ‘mouth exercise’. Prompt more giggling. Absolutely adorable and ridiculous.

After some more canoodling in the cafe we finally got in gear and went to the Sea Candle, a cool pairing of gardens and a lighthouse. But before that even, we were stopped just outside the entrance by a street performer. He was absolutely adorable, shouted a lot, messed up a few times and played his music louder when he got nervous. A very fun show we would’ve entirely missed had we not gotten a little lost trying (and failing) to maneuver our way around the island.


Once we finally got to the gardens it was gorgeous. Sure, a bunch of stuff was dead, but imagining this place in full swing was grand and the path was still snazzy regardless. After wandering around just a bit (it was a tad chilly, remember) we rode the escalator up the tower and were treated to such a view. The sun was just starting to set, you could see Mount Fuji (check the bottom right pic, far right) from the top and got a great view down on the gardens. I stayed on the top, open-air deck until the sun disappeared, and it was absolutely fantastic. The rippling water, birds riding the breeze and swooping down and about the island jutting out toward the mainland, littered with cute tiny houses and waves softly caressing the rocks at the cliff edge; everything felt perfect.

After this amazing experience we had to yelp a place to eat, and settled on something inside of the tower. During our indecisiveness they actually lit up the lighthouse, a lovely sight we could appreciate upon leaving. This was our last romp on the island, and we quickly made our way against the light winds toward the Enoden to return home. From there we went to the restaurant (name to be determined), put in our name for a 40-minute wait and headed out to be cool cats. Which meant me flailing around on some ridiculous playground rocky horse, slide and metal sculpture and feeling like I just turned 2 instead of 20. After that was a conbini, where we embraced our Americanism and literally bought enough snack food/chocolate to be able to dump it on the counter as it threatened to overflow from my arms – thank god the clerk found it amusing.

Dinner was at a classic Japanese restaurant, off the beaten path enough that it wasn’t a tourist spot and had really interesting food. Lizzie treated me to dinner (praise this lovely human being!) so we got adventurous and a little uppity in spending. She tried yuzu sake with soda, which was good, while I had some sweet sake that tasted wonderful with a bit of a warm tingle in my throat. For the main course we had a 2-type sashimi plate, fried sweet potatoes, kuro goma dressed root veggie tempura, braised pork with a soft boiled egg and soba, all of which was fantastic. The pork was probably some of the best, if not the best, I’ve ever had. After sitting on that for a while and enjoying some playful banter, I ordered kuro mame aisu, or black bean ice cream, which was a rather intriguing texture and a delightful dessert. That concluded our meal, so after a bit more time just taking in the place we finally paid the bill and headed home.

Back at the room we situated ourselves on my bed, cracked open the laptop and put on some good ol’ Mary Poppins. I hadn’t seen that movie in ages, but watching it was a treat and a great end to my day. Although it doesn’t feel like it I am officially 20, and unless a whole slew of family and friends could’ve magically made it over I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to have spent my day. Thanks to all those back home for the birthday wishes, to Lizzie for spending a fantastic day with me and to my situation allowing me to have such great friends and opportunity to be in Japan. I couldn’t be happier right now.

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