Thursday, June 11, 2009


"Have you tried ramen?"

Images of PhDcomic strips with grad students hording packets of cheap instant noodles in their cupboards flash before my eyes.

"... no."

Somehow I didn't think that was the authentic deal.

"Well, I don't think you'll like it but ... it's something you should try."

Not the strongest of recommendations, I admit, but hey I'm game. Also, it turned out to be great. We went into a small cafe-sized place and were immediately confronted with a machine covered with buttons.

"The good thing about this," I was assured by my hosts. "Is that you don't need to speak Japanese to order."

True, but it does require you to have a certain nonchalance about what you'll be eating since I had no idea what any of the buttons said. I pushed a handful of coins into the machine, pressed a button and handed the resulting ticket to the waiter. The result was a steaming bowlful of noodles bathed in a broth with beef. It was very good and slurping is considered completely acceptable in Japan so eating it wasn't the usual headache such soups can be in the West. 

On the way back home I was almost mowed down by a pick-up truck which was reversing into the guest house drive. My frozen shock came not from the maneuver but from the vehicle informing me of its intent in a highly feminine voice somewhat at odds with the beefy worker behind the wheel.  

1 comment: