Task 5

There are two ramen shops near ICU’s back door. I have heard lots of good feedbacks from my friends and they say the waiter in one of them looks very handsome. So, this week I urged my friends to accompany me to the two shops. I have heard long before that Japanese people are fond of ramen, but I never know that there are so many different kinds of ramen. The rules of eating the the flavor of the soup varies a lot from place to place and ramen thus becomes both a national and local pride.

The two restaurants near our university opens right beside each other. While I was wondering how badly the competition would be, my friends who is a “ramen professional” told me that these two shops specialize in different kinds of ramen. One is Musashi flavor and the other is Hakata flavor. Musashi is the town where ICU is located and the ramen in this shop has lighter soup. Hakata is a town in Kyushu and the ramen there is famous for its rich soup made by cooking pork bones for a long time.

The Musashi ramen shop is very popular among locals and ICU students, but when I first tried the ramen, I was shocked by how salty it was. Actually, the waiter asked me if I want a bowl of rice in company with the ramen and I refused thinking it was weird to eat to main dishes at once. Later I asked my friend and she told me that this kind of ramen is meant to eat with rice so that I would not felt so salty. The waiter also told me that after finishing the noodles, people often pour ramen soup into rice to add flavor to it. The ramen soup here had miso soup added in.

Besides eating itself, the process of eating ramen is also very interesting. We needed to buy the ticket for the dish choices we want and give the ticket to waiters before we go to our seat. Besides tables for two and four, there were also single seats at the bar. For privacy the bar had curtains that break up each seat. I saw many people wearing business suits came and eat quietly and leave. The whole process was very quick, private and quiet. This made me recall the ramen shops I saw in subway stations. Many shops did not have even one seat and all people ate ramen standing, orderly and quietly. From small things such as eating ramen, I could also feel the uniqueness of Japanese culture. This sense of delicacy in details and mutual respect must be cultivated since young.