some hiyashi chuka shoe dug down on in his sanctum sanctorum. cold ramen for hot hot days. its been smankin' hot in the city, aircon on maxxx. shoe gives the presentation three matisses for bold use of colour.
the daruma ramen
a cool, calm center of smoove jazz smank dab in the middle of the freaks in aki-ba. a choice of hardness for your noodles, a sugar sweet yolk in the egg, some crushed goma and a wee dash of hot pepper sauce makes for a nice ramen experience. what's the base? shoe had a tough time figuring it out, and guessed some sort of miso-tonkotsu variant. koteri to say the least.
the shoe's personal ramen philosophy don't really jibe with the practice of providing a lot of extra spices, pepper, garlic n what not with the ramen. if the ramen is good, it don't need any extra junk. however, this bowl worked well with what was provided. go figure.
pu-pu-pu-pu-puSMA!pu-SMA is just one cog in the giant SMAP machine that runs tvland. the two tits hosting the show are tsuyoshi kusanagi (SHMAPadelic) and yusuke santa-maria, a fading comedian-sorta-singer. the show is mostly just an excuse to plug some talent's new show or a bunch of shops in a certain area, and there's a lot of nothing going on. however, it's one of the few shows that the shoe actually digs down on regularly week after smanking week.
it's a series of 'corners', with each week featuring some absurd competiton in either taste or judgement. we have, among others:
"the giri-giri master"- a series of judging how far one can go before something breaks/is found out/falls onto head etc. a typical episode featured blowing up a giant man-sized balloon filled with flour to the breaking point. last person to pump the balloon befo' the person who actually broke it wins.
"the bikini runway"- teams pull stunning young girls offa the streets and get them to model swimsuits they've chosen. the girls have to choose between two teams' competing bikinis. most chosen bikini girls wins. there's a teasing time where the girl shows off her junk behind a screen or with a super close up cam, losing team can't see the bikini girl when she walks down the runway.
"the showhouse showcase"- teams wander thru amazing showhomes looking for clues to a map that will take them to some super fuck off 'spensive restaurant and a stupendous meal.
"the shitty cooking girls"- teams pull stunning young girls offa the streets and get them to cook a course of meals. they are absolutley revolting, and the hosts gotta eat ALL that is served or give up.
"the image drawing game" - hosts try to draw something, like an anime character or an armadillo, from memory, with the best artist getting either something like a three minute shopping spree in some funky boutique, or a fuck-oof amazing slab of some incredible food. all kinds of weird little rules come into play as well. the shoe's personal favourite.
anhoo, there are all sorts of little intangibles that make the show "work''. like the batsu games. losers have to eat creampuffs filled with wasabi, or some revolting amphibian. they have to stick their hands in a 'mystery box' and feel what's inside, stuff like giant frogs or maggots. they have to pay out of their own pockets for the shopping sprees of the winners, running a hefty bill at times. there are inane comments made at every turn, and pointless conversations that trail off into nothingness. the post production work, like most japanese shows, is what really drives things, with the dippy sound effects, weird graphics, and accompanying kanji-that-sums-the-whole-thing-up goodness. the over the top announcer provides a nice counterbalance to the laconic kusanagi. the anticlamactic moments alone could fill a room.
santa-maria and kusanagi look like they're just being themselves most of the time. kusangai gets drunk at the restaurant, santa-maria leches at all the birds. there's seemingly no lines to recite or rehearsed stuff going on (however this is one thing shoe doesn't really know for sure-is it all a well orchestrated laff-fest?).
why does the shoe love it so?
gen in akihabara
this bowl was notable for the noodles, which were dark, almost like soba. it was also notable for giving the shoe the shits.
izakaya lotterythe shoe lost the izakaya lottery last weekend. any time one goes to a group function at an izakaya, there are a range of factors that determine whether you will win or lose the lottery. you may have the best access to the food when served, which guarantees you a fair share (or more!) of all dishes to be had, and you may get in more units of alcohol than the next booger, which all tips the scale on the 'win' side. however, you may get a short end of the stick with the food, or worse, arrive late and get the table scraps and orange rinds. the usual system is to have everyone pay an equal share of the tab, so sometimes you get more than you paid for, and sometimes less.
losing or winning the lottery can be either compensated (or compounded) by the company one encounters during their time at the establishment. so iff'n you got a bum deal but managed to have brilliant conversation with several beautiful people, the hit may not feel so bad.
shoe lost big time. wedged in a corner, shoe got lips n assholes drenched in butter n oil, and some watered down GT's...a bunch o skanky ho's decided to leave about 10 minutes befo' everyone else, thinking they wouldn't have to pony up. now ordinarily the win/loss margin isn't too big, like 5000 yen max most times, but this happened to be a slightly 'spensive joint, which was not reflected in either the quality of the food or the atmosphere. ouch!
the shoe also had to put up with about a million questions he had heard a million times before, when a gaijin encounters japanese who aren't accustomed to social contact with foreigners. this definitely tipped the scale on the 'lose' side even befo' the bill was tabbed up..
(props to JC for the izakaya lottery concept)
the daibutsu ramen in nara. must be some sort of "marketing gimmick", 'cos there wan't anyone else diggin' down on the daibutsu when the shoe hit the joint. standard fare shoyu ramen, with some nice deep fried shrimp.
awrite, one more...
the last of the ramen hashigo, the hokkaido miso ramen of mutsumiya. shoe hasn't had much time for miso ramen, but this bowl had a good thing going. minus points for the onion slices at the bottom. a bit of a surprise with the diced pork halfway through!
now this was a great little bowl. tonkotsu courtesy of koukoutei, from miyazaki. thin, firm noodles, a good thick broth, and that oh so important egg..
an' down she goes..
the burion shio ramen. much better soup, same overall impression tho'.
the first of shoe's ramen hashigo, the burian shoyu right outta osaka. says it's asari, but really on the koteri side, with little blobs o fat through the broth. not too bad, but shoe aint down with the undrinkable soup.
kansai kofunthe shoe was in kansai for a while, saw a bunch of old old tombs of old old emporers, virtually ignored, half-hidden in fields, around corners on tiny back streets, next to garbage dumps, overgrown with tall tall trees, herons lurking.
shoe lugged his butt all over nara looking at the big buddha and yes, feeding the gaddam deer. wan't as cool as riding a bike down some old dirt trail crawling through an orange grove to see the tomb of a former emporer of Japan, a few hundred meters across, with a trim little rock garden entrance and an old wooden torii...
kyoto was good for shoe to see again, 'specially the arashiyama. hot hot day, lurking in the tenryuji garden, finding refuge in the bamboo forest... woof woof.
an' in osaka the shoe found the ramen. shoe did his first ramen hashigo... back to back to back ramen! crossed the country in three bowls, sad only to say the shoe didnt go to shikoku. ..
enter the dragon
kowloon's dragon ramen. suh-weet. some big ole blocks o' pork, a chunk o' octapus on a stick, and a nama-tomato to top it off. do not move for a few hours after this bowl.
keeyotothe shoe be heading for kansai this weekend. its been a while since the shoe last looked upon all the junk in kyoto. nara looks to be good as well, maybe shoe will even feed the gaddam deer. shoe hopes the ramen in osaka is up to snuff.
the gion matsuri should be in full swing, just in time for the shoe's birthday. yahoo! shoe gonna be kickin' it back in a love hotel come weekend. SMANK TOKYO!
these boobs have ruled the airwaves lately. Usually you see a new manzai duo, trio whatever rise the ranks and get absorbed into the talent collective, but these guys are just ALL OVER THE PLACE at the moment. they ain't all that bad, but starting to verge on overkill.
smankwotta word! the shoe wants this word in general circulation someday. someday... multipurpose, a bit drity, noun, verb, smank has got it all.
try it in the place of a real nasty word to start, and see how smoothly it rolls off the tongue.
"that (insert random popular movie/musician here) is a real pile of SMANK"
"SMANK this, let's get outta here"
when you're feeling comfortable, you can move on to verb replacements.
"I SMANKed the hell outta there"
"c'mon baby, let's SMANK"
give it a smank, you might like it!
ahh.. the santoka shio ramen. a classic that the shoe never tires of. a nice balance between soup an noodle makes it a complete package.
this was the shoe's favourite ramen. the akadaigomen. sadly, it no longer exists. ahh... ramen...