I’m still going through my Asia trip photos from May. At least now, I’ve made it to the Japan pictures.
On my first night in Japan, after finding our hotel, which just so happened to be less than a two-minute walk from Shin-okubo station, I was famished. It was late enough that I didn’t want to take the JR anywhere, so I wandered around the busy street looking for something to eat. Luckily, just across the street was a ubiquitous ramen-shop and I finally experienced first hand just how in the future Japan was.
Right by the door is a vending machine, but instead of snacks or drinks in a display case, there were pictures of different types of ramen. Not knowing how to read Japanese, I just went off the picture. Most of the bowls were in the $7-10 price range, which is about what I’d pay in LA for ramen. After putting my coins in and pressing a button, a ticket was released from the machine, which I was instructed to give to the chef behind the counter.
Because it was so late at night, I was only part of the handful of people sitting around the ramen counter. It felt silly to hand my meal ticket over to the cook instead of just telling him what I wanted, but I assume this makes it easier when the restaurant’s really busy.
In no time, a bowl of ramen was set in front of me in all its glory. My first meal in Japan and it was one of my favorite ways of starch delivery: noodle soup.
The broth was rich and porky, the noodles were chewy but not underdone, and the various vegetables and wood-ear mushroom were seasoned perfectly. One spoonful from the bowl made me wonder, maybe what they say about Japan and ramen was true: you can wander into any random ramen-ya and get a great bowl of ramen.
Even though I was starving, the bowl was massive and I was stuffed by the time I made it halfway through the noodles. To my astonishment, another customer, a slender, young Japanese man asked for a second bowl of noodles to dump into his bowl! I bow down to you, ramen noodle eating master.