and when you have nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire

shoe was hungry. the ramen academy was there. he slipped in, missing the rain by minutes. the long escalator ride served to sharpen the hunger. "damn, hurry this shit up," he thought.

kiriya was the appointed shoppe this eve. the vending machine was the solo guardian of the counter. shoe's choices were simple, but impatience made each choice a struggle. shoe ordered shoyuu, with an egg and a beer. a down payment on a heart attack, happily made. curtains parted, the counter was laid bare.

inside, the crew was working with submarine efficiency and economy of space. a young man, wet towel artfully wrapped over his brow, was manning pans that farted flame and steam. the grizzled skipper ran the show from the back, confident his men were in top form. orders were barked, and the chorus of the crew revealed their single, unspoiled thought: "the order must go through."

the mug of beer was the first to arrive. shoe took two long draughts, and couldn't hide the 'aaah' that came with the satifaction of a brew well-met. shoe studied the room carefully. festive posters of hakodate seemed the only adornment here, a clue to the origin of the bowl to come. 'a-ha!' shoe thought, 'a ramen from hakodate!' It meant nothing. hunger was the only motive for thought now.

the bowl arrived. the beer had not dulled the edge of the hunger. one last look before the attack. dark, murky shoyuu obscuring thin yellow noodles. the eggs inviting, three they be. and then the eyes moved to the chashew. great scott! had men devised such a treat in idle hours of amusement? no, this was the work of the destroyer, a thing of which when men perceived, they forsook their loves and went into the abyss.

shoe left that night knowing it was not kiriya itself that had sated him so, it was the knowledge that ramen, that shining beacon in the night, would always be there for him, be it his darkest hour or his moment of glory.

ajirou's noodle.

shoe walked inta ajirou's noodle in the aoyama on a windy afternoon, lookin' to get a good fill.

ajirou is kinda sufferin' from an identity crisis. when yer oot in the street an perusin' the menu, it looks like some fly stylee place. then ya gets in and things change a bit. it's just a wee counter, no frills, yet the master must be on the design tip, cos ya gots yer minimal hip design elements tryin' hard to not be noticed. but the oyagi rockin' the pots ain't fooling anyone, ajirou.

anyhoo, to the bowl. frikkin' awesome noodles. fatty, straight, tastylike. nice mild shoyuu broth, good egg. chashew ain't stellar, but ain't disappointing. it's the noodles, ass.

three farmers for ajirou. can't be frontin' the stylee on this fellas

a walk in tha park

shoe had a wander thru the park, lookin' at all the pretty plum trees in full bloom. there he spied a ramen stand, wit a bunch of oldy's hanging around, looking for trouble.

shoe didn't want any o that, just some tonkotsu. no name, no frills tonkotsu homemade by some grannys in the back.

there she is, fellas.

three plain ole cardboard boxes for the park 'men. plain, functional, works like it should.


shoe was rolling thru old haunts in nakano, an when one is in nakano, one cain't leave until one has had one's fill of ramen. shoe wasn't all that hungry, but rulez is rulez.

enter the sakuranbo. shoe was looking for a quick fix, not too worried about hitting a big bowl, an open to somethin different. sakuranbo specializes in tsuke-men, where ya gots yer noodles here,

an dip 'em in yer soup here.
now the noodles were real thick n cold, an so the overall effect was to chill the broth by the time it got inta yer gob. dependin on how hot ya likes things, the tsukemen might not be for ya. a good dunkin' is in order to get the flavas from the broth.

an the soup, pretty damn strong. too strong to drink outright, just have a wee spoonful now an then. shoe as usual gots the de-lovely egg, an there was even some wee tasty chunks o chashew in the mix.

shoe aint really down with the tsukemen, but if ya gots to have it, the sakuranbo is the way ta go.

the shio ramen here is yer basic santouka shio, seein' as theyre all sista joints. if ya puss oot on the tsukemen, the shio is there to cover yer ass.

three siegfried and roys for the sakuranbo. some things should never be broken up.


another hard core bowl from the ramen academy in the musashi-urawa. this is the marutake's hometown bowl, a miso.

man, this has gots to be one o the best miso's shoe's evar had. shoe aint down wit the miso so much, an one of his maxims is 'it shall not be sweet, nor shall it be hot'. marutake neither be. the broth is a good mix o the best flavas o the miso, yet packs a garlick wallop. nice.

an real good noodles here. yellow, thick, wit a flava that is distinct from the broth. the chashew more than held its own to boot. the only beef shoe 's got wit this bowl is the moyashi. waay too much that got hopelessly mixed up wit the remnants o noodles, denyin' shoe the satisfaction.

three golgo 13's, for a bowl that sniped shoe in the guts.

tuesdays at the academy..

Shoe gets all lumpy inside riding the saikyo-sen oot to the musashi-urawa these tuesdays cos it means another great bowl going DOWN. the ramen academy is rocking solid.

Ok, next on the agenda we gots yet another great ramen from kyushu, this time the yamagoya. shoe decided to knock down the 'mukashi', which looked to be the joint's box-standard. you know the score, its tonkotsu, its hosomen, fuggedaboudit.

bonus points goin out for that egg ya see there. an egg like this really goes a long way to making a bowl just a little *special*, cos every mo'fo gots their own flavor.

an' half points for the shavings o' roasted garlick sprinkles onna top o the works. while it did give the bowl a kick, the mephitic lurk factor was threatenin' to give shoe a nassty case o the stankmouf.

rating came to shoe whilst thinkin' of eggs..

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from ramenbyshoe. Make your own badge here.