ramen museum adventure

Posted on Aug. 3, 2010 by geoffropuff

so recently mickie has been nudging me toward going on some adventures in tokyo before she gets here.  basically, she doesn’t want me to rely on her as my personal tour guide so i should at least do a LITTLE traveling on my own before she gets here.  she even made it easy on me by doing research and planning my day for me.  (so she IS sorta like my tour guide.  muhahaha.)  how can i turn that down?  agenda for the day: travel to yokohama to eat at the ramen museum and go to the yokohama bape store as a treat.

bape ghostbusteres

i really wish i had gotten in during the ghostbusters collabo.

shin-yokohama (station the ramen museum was located at) was pretty huge.  it had this crazy overhead, circular walkway to avoid stopping the massive amounts of traffic on street level.

shin-yokohama crossing

just a massive, circular crosswalk. pretty ingenious, actually.

after meandering around for a bit, i finally found the museum.  i walked across the street to take a picture of the outside where a came across a fairly large waterfall.  that’s right, a waterfall in the middle of yokohama.  and no, i didn’t see a double rainbow (probably cuz i wasn’t stoned out of my mind.)

yokohama waterfall

of course, being in japan, the spelling of ramen was strange.  the katakana for it is ラーメン which equates raamen or ramen (i tried to put a bar over the a to indicate a long sound but that is wouldn’t work.).  of course on the big sign it’s spelled “raumen.”

shinyokohama raumen museum

the first thing you hit when you enter is the gift shop.  they had lots of different types of bowls, chopsticks, and other various paraphernalia related to ramen but i enjoyed two things in particular.  the first was ramen cat.  i have no idea about the significance of ramen cat but he seemed to really enjoy himself.

ramen cat drawing

ramen cat stuff

the second were the happy pigs.  for those of you that are unfamiliar with ramen, the main meat ingredient is chashu (pork).  to see pigs in a ramen bowl is ironic and at least slightly amusing.

ramen pig

after a walk down some stairs, you arrive in a hidden city.  i felt like i walked into the 1950’s with old movie posters, old style shopfronts, and other various things.

ramen museum crowd

those are all lines for various restaurants. after a 2 hour trip to the museum, i had to wait even longer for food?

ramen museum coke machine

i wanted to get one and keep the glass bottle but didn't wanna carry it all the way back to kashiwa.

ramen museum back street

i felt like i was walking through a corridor from a time machine.

ramen museum tobacco booth

from a distance he looked real.

ramen museum pro wrestling

as a former fan of the WWF (before the world wildlife fund jacked their name) i approve of this!

ramen museum movie posters

old school movie posters help add flavor.

there’s also a board that shows which ramen shops happen to be there at the time, and how long the wait is at each of those places.  apparently, there’s about 6 constant shops and 4 that rotate around with different popular shops coming in for a month or so at a time.

ramen museum board

japanese people love waiting in line just because there's a lot of other people, so of course i waited in the longest one.

to get to shinyokohama, it took a 2 hour train ride so of course i waited in line for the best one.  the board said 30 minutes, but the line looked like it was closer to 20 minutes so i did it.  and because it’s me, the line took 45 minutes.  it was worth it, though, as it was the best ramen i had that day.

ramen ticket machine

to streamline the ordering process, every shop had this kind of ticket dispenser.

ganja ramen

ganja: thick pork fat and shoyu broth, thick noodles, tender chashu. geoff's score: 9/10

again, since i spent 2 hours on the train, one bowl of ramen wasn’t enough.  i decided to try another shop with different style noodles and different style soup.  it was also good but with a much different flavor and consistency.

taihou ramen

taihou: medium-thick pork fat broth, very thin noodles, thin chashu. geoff's score: 7/10

taihou noodles

noodle shot.

and ANOTHER bowl of ramen cuz i’m a glutton.  once again, it had different style noodles and a different flavor than the others.

harukiya ramen

harukiya: medium thickness noodles, light shoyu broth, THICK chashu. geoff's score: 7.5.

harukiya noodles

noodle shot.

onto bowl 4….just kidding.  even MY stomach can only take so much.  i really did want to eat more but i just couldn’t justify another bowl to him.  “please, i REALLY want another bowl.” “no” “but i spent 2 hours on the train, and will spend another 2 hours home.” “no” “but PLEEEEEEASE.” “don’t MAKE me 3.5 diarrhea all over your shorts.” “touche.”

i finally left the museum in search of yokohama bape which happened to be at motomachi chukagai station.  i’m a fan of bape because i like “cute” things but also need to maintain some kind of semblance of manhood.  bape is a good compromise.  (i mean, if kanye, pharrell, and kid cudi rock it, so can i, right?)

kanye bape

yeah, i can pull it off.

shuttershades

okay, even HE can't pull these off...

to my surprise, motomachi chukagai was surrounded by shopping.  lacoste, evisu jeans, and other japanese designer brands that i wouldn’t be able to recognize were everywhere.  unfortunately, i wasn’t able to find anything worth buying at any of the shops but i decided to continue my adventure.  there were tons of people walking around so i decided to follow them and i ended up at yamashita koen matsuri.  it was on the harbor.

i made the sudden realization that i motomachi chukagai station was where joyce used to live.  grant and i walked along the water during a super downpour before taking the shinkansen to kyoto last year.  (scroll to near the bottom of the page.)

yokohama lighthouse

compare it to my last trip to yokohama.

yokohama cruise ship

also compare this to my last time.

the matsuri had a lot of international foods and a live rock band which was, to put it nicely, TERRIBLE.  to put it more accurately, eardrum melting drivel that didn’t deserve the a sidewalk to perform on, let alone the main stage at a fairly large matsuri.  apparently, people disagreed with my assessment of the music.

seeing all the happy people in their yukatas/jinbeis made me really miss having the gf around.  people were enjoying themselves on the grass while eating good food and watching the, albeit bad, entertainment.  my dream is to walk around one of these festivals with my gf wearing a yukata.  /mushy moment

yokohama matsuri crappy band

they sang the same 5 english lyrics over and over and the crowd just ate it up. terrible. terrible.

yokohama matsuri heineken booth

it's not a matsuri without a heineken booth, amirite?

yokohama matsuri yukatas 1

i only took pictures from the back cuz i didn't wanna be a creepster. (although, ninja pictures are creepster status anyways...)

yokohama matsuri yukatas 2

i particularly liked this yukata. the colors really popped.

yokohama matsuri taco rice

the epitome of international food: taco rice.

yokohama matsuri mohawk kid

and finally, mohawk kid. he has the jump on all the other toddlers in getting the bitches.

to end the day, i decided to wander around the back streets behind the main shopping area.  there wasn’t much of note in those parts but i did see a lot of dogs.  it kinda made me realize how much i miss having contact with animals.  azuki, as much of a crazy bitch she is, is still my dog that loves to cuddle.  i got to pet a lone shiba that seemed to be keeping a watchful eye on visitors of his store.

shiba-ken guard

i only pet him/her for a couple seconds but it was nice to have physical contact with anything besides myself (if ya know what i'm sayin' *wink wink* *nudge nudge*).

all in all, it was a very successful day but with one caveat.  i probably said less than 30 words all day.  traveling in solitude can be a fun and lonely experience.  now i CAN’T WAIT for my tour gui-errr-mickie to move to japan!  anyway, thanks for forcing me out into the world.  it was fun.

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