We weren't in Taipei for long until we began seeing Rilakkuma everywhere. Japanese for "Relax Bear", Rilakkuma is a phenomenon here in Taipei, akin to Hello Kitty or other similar characters. Unlike Hello Kitty, we can relate to Rilakkuma and his general life predicaments.
Rilakkuma is easy going and calm, often badgered by his friend Korilakkuma who likes to play pranks on him, but Rilakkuma never lets his temper get the best of him. His friend Kiiroitori, a hard-working bird with a love for cleaning, likes to scold Rilakkuma for his laziness, but Rilakkuma don't care. We could all be a little bit more like Rilakkuma. Jenny and I fell in love with this relaxed bear immediately, and set out immediately to find some merch, but then we stumbled upon something even better - the Rilakkuma Cafe!
I was well aware that Japan was chock full of ridiculously cute cafes based on animated characters, but I had no idea they had taken hold in Taiwan as well. Japanese culture has a strong presence in Taipei, certainly stemming from the 50 years Taiwan was under Japanese rule, but also to accommodate the large amount of Japanese tourists that visit the island every year. Manga, anime and video games all have a firm grasp on the interests of the young people here as well. I would have expected Taiwan to adopt more from Chinese culture, but in our experience that really hasn't been the case.
Anyway, we were so ecstatic to finally visit the Rilakkuma cafe after patiently waiting for it to reopen after Chinese New Year. It absolutely lived up to the hype. Everything inside, from the plates to the napkins to the cheesecake, all are Rilakkuma themed. It is almost nauseatingly cute, and normally I hate this sort of stuff, but I can't help but love Rilakkuma and everything he stands for. You wouldn't expect the food or drink to actually be very good at such a heavily themed cafe, but my cappuccino and cheesecake were actually awesome, and very affordable. You owe it to yourself to visit at least one theme cafe while visiting Taipei, I can't recommend this one enough.
No. 3, Lane 248, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road
Da'an District, Taipei City, Taiwan