the young apprentice was manning the boiler... the time, set to two minutes ten seconds. the master was workin' the pans, balancing soup broth with vegetable, miso levels calibrated. "thirty seconds" the apprentice calls. whoosh, there goes the moyashi. "fifteen" and the chashew is getting sliced. "five", the egg, soft-boiled to perfection, is run through the wire. the timer runs out, the noodles are whipped out of the boiler, some feverish handwork involving menma and chashew placement, and bang-O! there is shoe's ramen, a hokkaido miso, ready for the eatin.

nakano ramen, gots to love it.

ultimate sauce!

hee hee they gots funny english at ohshima (sic) in the 'boo!

the soup wan't too bad, nuttin' to blog home about tho'..

prolly illegal several ways but what the hell..

okay, so shoe stole an idea an gots a bunch of japanese students to make their own comix. here we see the original, "penny arcade", a respectable web comic mostly for gamers.

shoe made a blank and gave it to the kids to see what they would come up with...

give 'er a click for da bigger version, why don't you..

shoe leaves the verdict of which is funnier to you.

anyhoo, iff'n ya wanta bitch or snitch, let the shoe know an he'll take it all back.

new digs..

awrite, so shoe was bored an wanted to change the look. whaddyatink?

kanban uochingu

a couple o signs the shoe happened to notice after wandering outta a couple o ramen joints in the last little while.


and this one of an outlet shop. shiatty pic, but it appears to be some sort of cro-magnon man holding a designer bag, with the word "yasui!". shoe now gets the fixation on LV and junk.


under the bridge in town

with a rumblin' mess o trains overhead, and harsh flourescent lighting an a smankin' mickey D's interior, kanda yamagataya in akihabara gets a fat-ass zero for ambience. but it do have a good bowl of shoyuu an some very likeable chashew, which makes up for a lot. Posted by Hello

the only choice...

tousoba round the south exit of shibuya station. now this place has the right idea. there are only two things on the menu: regular or oomori. some dude sprinkled a bit o pepper on his bowl, but he got a cock-punch at the register when leaving.

this bowl ran a bit counter to shoe's favourite ramen stylees. yes, it was tonkotsu, but asari, nice n light, and yes, the noodles were hosomen, but soft not hard. and shoe be damned if he didn't like it the way it was...

some dumpy pics of a day in yoyogi

so as the summer winds down, shoe went a wanderin' to yoyogi park, a couple o minutes away from the shoebox. started out at the less fashionable meiji shrine entrance closer to yoyogi station.

after a fairly serene walk through the outer shrine gardens, shoe finally hit the yoyogi to see some old chestnuts..the 50's rock n rollers with electrical tape wrapped round their toes to facilitate twistin'... no pics cos theyre like dogs that growl and wag their tail at the same time, don't know how they would react..

anyhoo, after some lazy wanderin' and a bit o nappin', shoe took a right turn where most take a left, an ended up in the tent town! first time to see the scads of homeless all going about their bid'ness. some nice little setups there, shoe wouldnt mind gettin some ideas for the shoebox some time.

looked like a big ole camping trip it did...

a pass by the boogers in the drum circle at the fountains turned up one of these guys..

an finally upon leaving, shoe saw the ichiban best kawaii thing alive.


the wee festival

so there shoe was having a nice little hangover in the shoebox when a parade broke out in the street.
this looked to be the works of the locals in the area, of which a surprising amount seemed to be chinpira, he of the yakitori cookin' bike drivin' aviator shades wearin' down an dirty smokin' small time hood bein' variety. a tarted up chinpira can be seen here in exhibit A.

exhibit A

there goes the neighbourhood. a couple of sticks o yakitori and a trowel of yakisoba later, shoe was ready to face the day.


a couple o guys in bandanas running a tight little operation in koenji. nice thick shoyu with a decent egg and some de-lovely chashew.
the joint was moderately well-known, with a few signatures from minor talents on the walls. shoe made the mistake o' gulpin down the last swallow of soup, laden with garlick chunks. stank breaf shoe go home!Posted by Hello

focus, FOCUS...

you do not speak. there are no cell phones. you are guided to a cubicle by lights on a panel. there, ensconced, you settle on your ramen for the night. an array of choices lay before you. will you have your soup thick or thin? will the noodles be hard or soft? how much garlic will you have? onions? chashew? choose! but choose wisely... the peep-show screen comes up just enough to take your order, and within a minute, there it is. the custom built, made-for-one ramen of your design, for your eyes only. the screen drops, and you are left to feast.

this is the ichiran experience, about as close to weird in the world of ramen that you can get. shoe's version was pretty bare bones, no green onion or hot sauce on top, and only a couple o chunks o chashew thrown in the mix. the soup spoke volumes (nice n sweetly garlicky tonkotsu), and the noodles, well, shoe ordered up another serving of them (only the mid-hard, not super hard, thank you very much) with a secret sign written on the package of his chopsticks.

tha H-Bomb

okay now this is just ridiculous

shoe implores anyone with knowledge of the real deal to contact immediately. already, minions are combing the provinces, lurking, searching. by gum we'll get to the bottom of this.


a solid bowl of shoyuu in koenji. shoe's going to take points off for the following violations:
1. the weak-ass chashew, kinda stiff and a little too gray.
2. a small glob of noodles that had been stuck together in the boiling process. had this been an evaluation by a real ramen master, the proprietors could have had their ramen licence revoked. shoe will be kind.
3. getting shoe's 10000 bill stuck in the change machine, thereby delaying ramen gratification.

looks like the master was away, cos the young-uns behind the counter were being oh-so-on-point making sure nothing got fubared. too late, boyeez.

break it down!

Ok, so the shoe was watching some semi-late terebi, and came across this typical nugget of what one can expect at a time like this.

this is a segment called "za suriruman" in which a bunch of boogers undergo minor sadistic tortures for the amusement of others. in this series of photos, the height at which dripped candle wax will not hurt naked flesh is investigated.

for this segement, a bunch of young up n coming comedians are culled to be chosen for the various punishments. here is one young such simp about to undergo the wax.

we can see here that at one meter the wax still hurts, and the boob was doing a sufficient job of writhing and whining. try to imagine it as you view.

now at this point the sadists meting out the cruelty must be mentioned. these are usually some old-school comedian who's been around the block for a while, and has had to undergo such goofy shit as this back in the day. here we see one half of the comedy duo summers in a goofy wig and holding the big red candle of pain.

so as the height went up, so went the amount of wax built up on the tit's body.

here it is at about two meters:

and then again at around two and a half. still much discomfort and yelps of itaiitaiitaiitai and so on.. with a few 'maji's thrown in the works. still some writhing, and a couple of taunts from old school.

now we get up to three meters, the physical limit of the stage rigging for the show. still the pain!

having decided that the dude had been through enough, they gave up for a while, only to really find out what the limit would be. in the end, they determined it was at around 5 meters that the wax dripped from a candle will not hurt when it hits skin.

here is the befuddled bafoon at the end of it all, muttering 'ah honto da' and released from this exquisite torture.

now this folks, is one of the pillars that japanese television is built on. there's a lot of grandstanding, everyone is yelling, and the talents milk every last bit of emotion out of every second there is.

later they got some dude's credit card and threw it in a tank of pirhanas.


full circle?

awrite so the pic is bad, but shoe couldn't be bothered with gettin the perfect snap of a middling bowl like this. the manmaruya in shibuya had a pretty average everything, no real standout to mention. Posted by Hello

ain't that a pretty picture

a ramen that is oh so simple, yet oh so inscrutable. the fine owner of bakuen (yet again in nakano) is dedicated to the craft. very likeable sakana dashi, and a little smidge of ginger on the menma. owner man was obviously proud of his creation, and mustered up the courage to aks the shoe what he thought of the bowl, in english. shoe could only mutter, obtusely, 'sexcellent' Posted by Hello

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