Tag Archives: ramen

Hope Udon Have to Wait Long

It seems I’m often going to places I’d heard about for a long time but had never managed to get to. Well, here’s one more, a noodle shop that’s probably been here as long as a lot of us have been walking the planet.

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Shinanoya udon restaurant, near the tracks going into Tajimi station, has been a favorite of locals for a long, long time. You’ll see when you enter, it’s about as close to a Showa-era homestyle cooking timeslip experience as you can get in a restaurant.

As it’s housed in a traditional long, narrow house, you may have to squeeze past other patrons, or even pass through the kitchen tucked along the side, to reach your seat, either at a table or on tatami mats. You may share a table with strangers, as well.

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The menu is simple, with cold homemade buckwheat noodles, hot udon, and ramen your choices. The udon is thicker and chewier, with a little more resistance than normal udon. The soup has a stronger flavor, as well. To borrow a slogan, they do udon right.

In keeping with the down-home family atmosphere, the owner personally comes around multiple times to see how you’re enjoying your meal, and ask if there’s anything you need. Unusual for a Japanese restaurant.

Since it is small, you should have a backup place to eat in mind in case there’s a long line when you go. Also, I just noticed from the photo, Shinanoya seems to be open for lunch Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30.

Not a Player

Fate led me to pachinko last weekend. Nothing else was going to, that’s for sure.

Parlor Games

I was asked to appear Sunday on FM Pipi’s (76.3 mHz) weekly live broadcast from Zent pachinko center, to talk a bit about the business I work for. It’s a segment of the Sunday show that introduces local businesses to listeners.

Driving into the sprawling new complex at the corner of routes 19 and 248, I was struck, though I was already well aware of it, by what I have to say is the questionable use of human potential and money represented by the vast tonnage of cars parked and stacked outside.

On entering the building, the indescribable (like all sounds ever made blasted at once, or maybe something Mephistopheles would have on his mp3 player?) arcade cacophony followed me into the multi-purpose studio, though apparently not across the airwaves.

Regarding another reason I’ve avoided the parlors since trying one at someone’s insistence decades ago, I actually noticed a “smoking area,” which makes me think, goodness forbid, smoking may actually be banned?

After the show, the boss and I (it was a joint appearance) had lunch at the Nagoya-based Sugakiya ramen outlet in the building (smoking allowed there), which also has its own Circle K convenience store and (how convenient) ATMs. Sugakiya also has branches at Valor supermarkets. This bowl was ¥580 and not as burdensomely filling as a lot of ramen. I thought the photo deserved its own memery (my word, “memery,” as far as I know, though I wouldn’t be surpised if someone else long ere planted a flag there).

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Something From Nothing

And another excuse to slap block letters on an otherwise inferior foodie photo and call it macaroni: These “tofu donuts” sold at Sun Mall supermarket in Toki were pretty darn good. The words basically refer to leaving only the center of an image in focus to draw attention there.

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Smells Like Summer

Good smells have been emanating outside around work lately – something that was a ringer for baked beans had me longing for a can of pork and beans heated and served at a summer picnic.  Other times people seem to be grilling burgers outside, though I never seem to see the cooking going on.  Another smell here that’s practically identical to something it couldn’t be, is some kind of ramen that fools your nose into thinking there’s sloppy joe nearby.  Haven’t noticed that one recently, though.

On the subject of picnic food, I learned today Japanese don’t seem to be familiar with deviled eggs.  I’m sure getting hungry for a barbecue or something.

Yappari, Tonkotsu Ramen

Here’s yesterday’s lunch: Tonkotsu pork-bone broth ramen, a local favorite, and chahan stir-fried rice, with salad and melon, for ¥680 at Kouyou authentic Chinese restaurant in Sakauecho, Tajimi.

Seeing the flower shop across the street from Kouyou reminded me Mother’s Day is coming up, May 8th I believe.  Don’t put it off!

It never ceases to amuse me that Japanese are under the explicit impression that Mother’s Day is a Japanese invention.  No, but the carnations certainly are.

Ramen Run

For lunch today a few of us went for ramen to RaiRaiTei in Tajimi, between Valor and Aoki Men’s Shop.  It was my first time to eat at this chain, and my chaashuu ramen was very tasty.  You have many choices as to the hardness of the noodles, the amount of soy sauce in the soup, the volume of scallions (I’ve always thought negi here was halfway in diameter between American leeks and green onions or scallions, so might better be called Japanese green onions based on how they’re used), etc..  I just chose “regular everything.”

Others had the regular ramen, which they said was good, and gyoza.  All reasonably priced.  The energetic staff was happy to let us change our order slightly when we needed to.  The restaurant is non-smoking till 2 o’clock.

Here’s a deal:  They give out seals with each purchase.  When you collect enough, you get a free month’s worth of all-you-can-eat!

Ramen Recommendation

Lunch today was with the boss at Ryuuo Ramen just off route 19 in Tajimi.  Not much to look at from the outside, but looks deceive.  It’s popular with locals for a reason.

This was my first time there in a couple of years.  I remembered the juicy butayaki (below) from before, so was sure to order that in addition to my ramen (shio).  I’m still a totally underaccomplished slurper, but managed to down the noodles in what I considered a reasonable amount of time, especially for someone who usually finishes last.

Here’s the ramen.  ¥1600 bought two of these and one shared dish of butayaki.  We got some coupons for a future trip there, too.

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It Came from a Porcelain Pod, or The Gecko That Ate Tajimi

It started out innocently enough.  But then so do certain tropical island moths, small farming nations named after Italian explorers with whose every hiccup the world economy comes to reverberate (tsk – those incorrigible hiccupping Italians and their vesuvial vino), and green blobs from Cleveland.  There have been no recent nuclear tests in this general area that I know of, nor has Toho Films begun filming the latest mutant enemy to be vanquished ineffectually fended off by plastic army people painstakingly created to look like Self Defense Force members by digitally displaced aging hobbyists snapping at the chance to once again display their neglected handiwork. So, perhaps a slight retracing of footsteps in order of occurence may be in order, in order to find a cause for this ceramic calamity.

What’s in an Order?

It was after a lunch of shio ramen and Taiwan chaahan at Fukuryuu (photo above, view Map) in Tajimi, where my Japanese cohorts and I had discussed origins of place names (which made me ask “why is Nihon or Nippon named what it is?  Nothing to do with the Land of the Rising Sun?”  They didn’t know, which gave me a certain sense of satisfaction (revenge?), knowing they might be better able to understand those times when I can’t answer something about my own native language or country.  They couldn’t readily explain Tajimi’s derivation either). They said Taiwan ramen, also on the menu at Fukuryuu, is only called that because it’s spicy hot, not because it’s from Taiwan, where apparently the locals have never heard of such a thing, and it isn’t even well known outside of Aichi and Gifu.  We passed on the taberu raayu condiment, which looked good, but whose garlic we deemed would compromise our sociability for the rest of the day.  Call us quaint, but we interact and network the old-fashioned way.

And it was after we came back to the office and, at Reverie et French restaurant located in our building, chatted over coffee and tea (normally only meals served) with friends of friends of friends visiting from India (the southern state of Kerala, which I learned means coconut, which every yard there has for the yummy taking and surprisingly mild currying).  I was pleased to learned Tajimi is not outdone by Kerala in high temperature, at least where these folks live, a kerala’s throw from the ocean (ok, a kerala-cannon’s firing from the ocean.  Think the Professor defending the island from a band of eternally-at-sea pirates’ descendants anchored just offshore while Gilligan and gang (save Mrs. Howell, ears plugged with white-gloved fingers) pass fibrous ordnance bucket-brigade style and the Skipper inevitably gets conked on the noggin as birds tweet around his head).  Didn’t see that episode?  Didn’t think so.  I just figured since this was my first foray into the socioblogosphere I should get the word “tweet” in somehow.

F(r) = (λ/r↑s) – (μ/r↑t)

It was some time later, on making use of a certain facility in a certain restroom, that I first espied the rascally reptile in question (see photo).  Yes, I speak of none other than the yamori, that formerly obscure star of the commercial screen capable of gravity-defying fleet feats of foot, authentic British accents on demand, and, superstition would have it, bringing good luck to homes it calls home (hence its name, meaning protector of the home). The Japanese gecko.  Maybe Tajimi is having a job fair for out-of-work TV ad actors.  Perhaps the creature came to inspect some specimens of Tajimi’s famous ceramic ware and got confused, I don’t know.  I’m not sure who was more surprised when we each saw something the other didn’t expect.  Neither any of my actions (somewhat to my relief) nor standard flushing, nor, eventually, the considerable passage of time seemed to stall its steadfast determination in holding its clearly slippery ground.  Subsequent intensive research A quick wikicheck revealed that some reach lengths of 60 centimeters, some females are capable of reproduction without males, and the famous stick-to-itiveness (except to Teflon!) may be partially due to the somewhat mysterious van der Waals force (see formula above), which it turns out has many interesting applications in its own right.

Is this the first trickle of a larger, more insidious invasion, or simply an isolated incident?  And was it brought about by some serendipitous synchronicity of Nagoyan Chinese for lunch, South Indian coconuts for tea, and the Maldivian sea cucumbers that sprouted up in a conversation later in the day? (You can get those freshly imported in Tajimi, you know.  That’s why they came up).  In fact I speak now not of the lavatory lizard, but of this very blog, of which this is the first entry, and of the tajimi.mobi website.  Only time will tell, but we hope to stick to it and hope you will too.  Your comments and condiment recipes are always welcome. I offer my apologies and a few (non-mobile-specific) links for what may be obscure references to American pop culture. I thought this (true) gecko story was not in the best of taste, but my boss insisted on going with it, so there it is.

Now it’s time to geckoing.