echoes of a bowl long departed...

shoe has found the nearest thing to his dear departed akadaigo ramen shoppe in aoyama. ladies n germs, the nagahama. this little joint just opened two days ago in the ramen epicenter of nakano. some damn kotteri tonkotsu... egg an chashew average, but good marks on the abundance of nori. its such a dense bowl however, that there's not much room for da soup... an shoe went for the loaded version, which unfortunately had a whole lotta onion resting on top. arrghh.. the frikkin' onion! shoulda oughta known betta.

the creamy soup makes up for a lot tho', an it was pretty lush..kept the shoe weighted down all day long.

an its even got the same colour bowl as shoe's own aka... >sigh<

punkin' a punkin

shoe did a little cultural exchange, introduced the concept of carvin' up punkins to his girlfriend. here's what resulted.

an' here's jack in the dark..

artsy close-up..

and the sad bastard just four days later.. man the humidity just ain't kind to punkins ...

engorged phallus nailed to a wall

spotted near ueno. wishful thinkin' eh?

shoe in the shu

another classy joint in the noodle cafe smank dab in the middle o the boo. shoe is back on the tonkotsu tip, and decided to finally knock this one off. the boogers take a blowtorch to the chashew! this is abso-smankly LOADED with oil. shoe risked major coronary distress to polish off most of the broth, but prolly shouldn't have taken things that far..overall, not as sparkling as shoe suspected it would be, just cos of all the oil, an the raw onion shtuff on top. argh...

oniony? pt 2

Radio Collar Project For Foreigners A Big Success
Tokyo, Japan.

The Ministry of Immigration released a report last Monday detailing the progress of the year-long foreign radio collaring initiative, giving it a massive thumbs up.

Alarmed by the frequent antics of foreigners which have claimed over one hundred thousand deflorations so far in more than two-and-half years, the government decided to introduce radio collaring to contain the menace.

Culled from Nova and GEOS field study packages, the ambitious plan not only aimed at preventing foreigners from venturing into inhabited areas but also to rehabilitate errant ones in their natural habitats.

Exuding confidence, a senior immigration official said the implementation of the radio collaring has helped a great deal in saving izakayas and karaoke boxes from destruction. "As a part of our project, a team of experts was pressed into service to tranquilize errant foreigners, and the leader of the herd was then radio collared.

The radio collaring of the leader would help officials to keep a watch on the movement of a particular herd as foreigners generally follow the leader of the herd," he said.

According to officials, there are about 200 groups of wild foreigners in Honshu and some other districts that have wreaked havoc in major cities.

Speaking on how the radio collaring would help preserve the Japanese peace of mind, the official said, "Through the radio collaring it would be easy for Ministry agents to locate the position of a herd of foreigners and thereby force them into a corridor. And in case a herd was sighted near an inhabited area, the officials could rush to drive them back into their habitation."

As things stand today, the state has witnessed an increased frequency of foreigner ‘incidents’ since the first incident of intrusion was reported way back in 1985 in Roppongi. As per official records nearly 120 million Japanese have come into contact with a foreigner, with reactions ranging from mild irritation to calls for euthanization. More than 70 actual crimes have been committed (as per available official figure) across Japan since records were first recorded November 1985.

The hardest hit by such attacks are Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and a particularly knotty group run amok in Nagasaki prefecture, Kyushu. Of late, a straying herd of a dozen foreigners from Honshu area is reported to have entered Hokkaido and has been regularly creating havoc.

However, the Immigration Ministry decided to focus on Tokyo initially with an aim to force them back into Roppongi using the radio collaring as well as providing their favourite food items via McDonald’s, Starbucks and Hard Rock Café outlets.

If successful, the project will be moved onto phase two, which calls for a massive sanctuary to be built by constructing a giant glass dome over the whole of Roppongi district in Tokyo.

ha-ka-ta, nothin' like it

when one speaks of platonic ideals, this is what one is on about. pure hakata ramen, the tonkotsu. noodles thin n hard, nice white broth, optional egg, dash o pepper. five hundred yen a pop for a wee slice o' kyushu's best. if only this was a real yatai!

an here is the sign. notice the pig, beckoning you to feast on the melted bones of his dead comrades. the sweet dulcet tones of the horn, pied piperin' your ass, offering you strong yet delusive enticements to enter the warm glowing center of the ramen world. run! don't walk, foo'

more snackin'

in lieu of an actual bowl, shoe looked to expand his ramen palette. this time it's a kuro-tonkotsu flavour potato-based snack product of some sort (also available in white). think of plastic strips shrunk in an oven toaster and coated with a smeary brown garlick/pepper emulsion. did sortof kindof taste like ramen, but could be just a funciton of the garlick. shoe's gotta get back to the real thing..

beer buddy ramen

a little sumthin to go wit shoe's ebisu tonight... the wee crunchy oyatsu ramen ... chicken stylee. can it get any saltier? shoe's arteries are slowly turning into garden hoses as you read.


First North American Ever To Set Foot In Japan Recounts Experience
Tokyo, Japan

Richard Duthie of Newport, Connecticut became the first North American male to see Japan when JAL flight 418 landed at Kansai International Airport in Osaka. Duthie wasted no time in getting to Kyoto, where he marveled at the “land of floating mists and cherry blossoms”. Upon boarding what he calls a “bullet train,” Duthie began to record his experience in a private travel log.

“Japan is super clean,” he noted “there’s like no garbage in the streets and everyone is super polite.”

It didn’t take long for Duthie to acclimate to the Japanese language either. Within hours of picking up a local guidebook on Kyoto tours, Duthie had mastered phrases for ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘how much’.

“You have to be able to speak the language to really connect with the locals. I gained a so much more deeper appreciation of what people were really thinking. I got pretty lucky though because a lot of people actually spoke some English, and I could even use dollars in some places. I kept a 1000 yen bill, although it isn’t worth all that much.”

Duthie’s records of his two days in Kyoto revealed valuable information for history buffs and cultural anthropologists, who hope to learn more about this mysterious country. A few excerpts revealed that there are over a hundred temples and shrines dotted all over the city, some of them ‘thousands of years old’. “There’s even one that’s all covered in gold. It’s called Kinkakuji. Kin means gold, by the way.”

The next three days were spent in Tokyo, which Duthie described as “a neon jungle, like Blade Runner”. Duthie bought a fan and some wooden clogs “to blend in a little more” along with another notebook.
“I had filled up one already and used two memory sticks filming my subway journey to the center of the city. The subways are really packed, and there are a lot of people in the stations.”

It was in Tokyo that Duthie explored Japanese cuisine. “McDonald’s is almost the same as at home, only the sizes are smaller and they have teriyaki burgers. Teriyaki is a sauce, by the way. I had dinner at a sushi, or raw fish, restaurant, it’s trippy! And get this, there are plates of it that revolve on a conveyor belt right in front of you.”

Perhaps Duthie’s deepest insight into inscrutable Japan was his penetrating views on the Japanese psyche. “Japanese people like to do things in a group. There’s a real group mentality, I think. If I had to use an analogy I’d say ‘the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.’ I’ll tell you what though, the girls are pretty hot.”

Japan is not the first country in which Duthie has been a pioneering traveler. A two week stint in Brazil for an obscure festival called Carnival in 1999 led to it becoming a world wide party after Duthie’s journal described it as “awesome”.

salt lick

now this is some sortof wikkid awesome toothpaste. up to now, shoe has relied on smuggled toothpaste from northern climes to keep his choppers whiter than JC's inner thigh. So when shoe finally ran outta the Crest, he had to resort to less attractive nipponese brands.

After some initial success with an industrial strength german brand, shoe stumbled upon this little gem in the local suupa. dubbed the 'tsubu shio', it brings on the salt like nobody's business. none o that minty fresh shite for shoe anymo'!

one week of coffee

ahh, the canned coffee. so much sugar, so much milk, a million variations yet all taste pretty much the same. shippin' that caffeine! gahh.

don't judge a ramen by its chashew..

a pure snatch n grab jobby on the way home from the 'boo, shoe was lured in by the prospect of sinking his choppers into tha giant chashew advertised outside. 'ave a look for yourself.

however, after purchasing a ticket and walking inside, it was obvious shoe had made a grave tactical error. the walking dead of the salaryman world were within, drearily slurpin away on a nameless faceless ramen, suckin down frothy scummy beers. shoe dutifully gave his ticket to the man at the counter, who laid it by a sink and went back to shuckin' onions. wtf? some dude took a scoop of something (surely not broth!?) outta a big ass pot, and slopped it into shoe's bowl. a timer sounded, some noodles were given a limp wristed shake, a fistful o shaved onion set, and the chashew, the longed for chashew was laid out for shoe to see..

as advertised? hmmm... said chashew was pretty weak, greasy bowl clogged with green onion. man...800 yen ta boot!
the only consolation shoe has is another shop spotted on the way out the door. next week, revenge!

ramen a go-go baby!


right. so shoe is back from a ramen wonderworld. a world where for a few shining moments, all the strife, suffering and bullshit of the human condition can be forgotten, where all mankind is united in ... AH FUGGIT, man it was batshit packed to the rafters with ramen freak-Os!

ok. so the museum bits first. here is a big-ass spinning ball of noodles. only they weren't spinning.

next we see some hall o' fame bowls, enshrined forever to be gawked at by passers-by and yawned at by the rest of humanity.

the next couple o' pics show the history of the rise of the cornerstone of any student's nutritious diet, tha instant..

pretty authentic shit, eH? yeh shoe was excited to see it too, really. man, it just gets better an better from here..next we see a bunch of plastic molds of some different styles of noodles. sexcellent.

ok, we're coming close to the main event... here is some real food, a little teaser to tide the shoe over for teh ONE HOUR WAIT. a ramen croquette. shoyuu flavor. the outside batter was covered in crunchy ramen noodles, and it did taste perty good.

awrite. enough of the bullshit. here's what you paid the big bux to see, THE RAMEN.

now, shoe was a little disappointed that there were only eight establishments to choose from. all were world class ramens, mind you, but a little more variety wouldve been nice. especially since half of yoko-fvcking-hama was there today.

shoe came just in time to see the peak of the lines, for which the top ramen joint was two hours. TWO HOURS people! you think shoe is into ramen, well, boyeee... yeesh. so shoe gave up on that. but shoe was really hungry, so he popped into a line that was only 40 minutes long. buzzing through the literature, the time flew by, not. shoe gambled that the lines would be loong loong all day an that he'd only get through two, maybe three in the end, so he went for an oomori off tha top.

an' here's the big bad boy, a total chicken based, chicken chashew, chicken katsu ramen from chigusa in iwate.

really nice n light, and went down in a flash. great original soup that shoe hadn't tasted befo', long noodles that just kept ya slurpin an slurpin.

shoe then hit the lines again, burpin' an letting off secret farts. the next wait was for a real old school bowl, the harukiya in ogikubo. now, this was an intimidating bowl, cos it had the weight of history behind it, and nary a bad word shall be made of that now! harukiya has the distinction of being the first 'tokyo' ramen, a distinctive style that screams "THIS IS MADE OF FISH". woof, wotta smell!

in their own words:
the bowl looks simple, but when you sip at the soup, you feel multiple levels of complex flavor and richness combined with fish aroma excite your brain. you would not come to yourself until you finish the whole bowl.
heh heh.. snigger
yeh, that fish was screaming in shoe's mouth the whole way home, and shoe still hasn't come to hisself yet.

awrite, one last tidbit for ya, peep'd at some wank display on famous faces..

yes, even the terminator likes ramen.

shoe is all aquiver..

it's a big day for shoe. he is going to the ramen museum in yokohama!! shoe is starving at teh moment, going to go for a monster ramen hashigo. full coverage to come, peeps!

musou, in the gaien-mae

on a blustery wet night smank dab in the midst of a typhoon, shoe found hisself oh so close to home, but without basic shelter from the elements. getting wetter by the second, shoe espied a refuge, a warm source of relief and comfort in times of trouble. what was inside? ladies an germs, a miso ramen. 'nuff said.

from deep in bavaria...

awrite, shoe is not as mad as the king of bavaria, but he ended up spending a few cumulative days pushing bits of polystyrene together to make this...

this is a big ass 3D puzzle o wikkid awesome neuschwanstein castle... well, shoe mostly watched his girlfriend do the puzzle, but did some key roofwork and supervising. here it is in the round..

now that's what ya call a shoebox!

back to da bones..

within the bowels of the monstrous roppongi hills lies tetsuguma, a ramen from kurume in kyushu. oh yesh, this was one sweet bowl o tonkotsu. here is the loaded version, complete with chunky shweet porky goodness and the budda-soft boiled egg.

an here is the stripped down version. tonkotsu, thy name is greatness!

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