Bring on the cheese!

Day 209:

Oh what a beautiful day for slurping. I met my boss in Shimokitazawa for lunch so we could do our occasional ramen shop research. With 10 shops in and around Tokyo, Mitsuyado Seimen is known for making a really good noodle. But it was more than just a good noodle I was after. Mitsuyado has something on the menu that I’ve been dying to try for quite some time now. No, not their natto tsukemen…

Their 濃厚 Cheese Sauce Tsukemen!!

I love cheese, but how would it fair with tsukemen?

I was told to pour the cheese on top of the noodles first before dipping it into my broth. This alone tasted like mac and cheese. Mmmm!

Surprisingly, dipping my cheese-covered noodles into the yuzu-infuzed tsukemen broth tasted amazing. Yes, the noodles were great, but this new experience left me beside myself. I was just about to give up on tsukemen altogether, but now I have faith that there are still some good ones out there.

My boss ordered the Ja-Ja Men.

This tasted great as well.

I wouldn’t mind going back here again. Here’s to a great month. I have a feeling next month may be even better.

A long happy life…

Day 208:

Located deep within the cozy little town of Sasazuka, Chuuka Soba Fukuju has been rockin’ it since 1954.

Fukuju (福寿) means “long life and happiness” so perhaps after eating this ramen you’ll live a long, happy life. Apparently the owner hasn’t been eating his own ramen or he just doesn’t show it. I walked in to an empty shop and he barely even acknowledged that I was there. No irasshaimase or anything. I thought it was just me but it was the same for the customers who walked in after too. Just tell him what you want and BAM he makes it. Hellz yeah this place was cool!

I’m speechless. THIS is a shoyu ramen!

Now I know why the chef is a man of few words. Because his ramen speaks for itself!


I would gladly eat this everyday if it meant that I would have a long, happy life.

See you in Lake Havasu!

Day 206:

Thank you Chris! Thank you Daryl! Thank you Mikey! Thank you Langdon! Thank you Blackmarket! Thanks for coming back to Bassanova one last time before you left Japan. Your albums will always get play time on our speakers. As promised, I’ll see you in Lake Havasu someday soon. We need to plan OUR next tour! Good luck with the band and I’ll be looking forward to hangin’ with all of you again.

Natto ramen anyone?

Showing a rock band the way…

Day 205:

“Show a rock band the way.” That was the title of the email I received last month from Chris Davies, the manager of Blackmarket. Apparently, the guys in the band are huge fans of ramen and since they’d be in Tokyo for a show, Chris enlisted the help of myself, Brian, and Nate to show them around.

So where did we take them? Tsukishima Rock of course!

We literally took up half the ramen shop. It was awesome.

It may have just been pure coincidence, but I sat down next to Langdon, the drummer, who happens to be a huge basketball fan like me. Within seconds we were recalling all our memories of the nba when we were kids over a fantastic bowl of ramen. He even respected the fact that I was a clippers fan.

The shoyu ramen we had was, like I said, fantastic! The fragrant smell of ginger was enough for me to say wow!

From left to right: Langdon (drums), Daryl (guitar & vocals), Mikey (bass).

After our first bowl of the night, I was able to tag along with the band to another live in Shimokitazawa where a Japanese rock band was performing.

And then it was time to show them Bassanova!

After a few autographs for my boss, which included the signature of the honorary fourth member of Blackmarket.

Bam! It was time to show the guys what ramen dreams are made of.

By this time, we had all clearly drank too much, but Mikey and Langdon were in no mood to call it a night. So I took them out–ramen rock star style. haha.

The night never ends without eating ramen at seven-in-the-morning and Yamaokaya just happened to be in our path.

There’s nothing like bonding over a bowl when you’ve partied until the sun comes up.

It’s all about the circles.

One night + one shared story + 3 bowls of ramen = friends for life.

Rock on!

Sprayed with Blackmarket mist…

Day 204:

No barking from the dogs, no smog, and momma cooked a ramen with plenty of hog. It was a good day. One of the best yet. It started with a visit to Fuuraikyo in Shibuya…

…for some shio ramen. I’m pretty sure Fuuraikyo is related to Santouka because their similarities are endless.

Smooth, sentuous, and scintillating. Yes, I am referring to the ramen.

Now it’s time to do what the sign says.

Blackmarket was in town and I got a free pass to see their show.

They rocked!!

They even gave away a free ipad (the first in Japan?) at the end of the show. Unfortunately, only paying guests were eligible to win it. After the show, we got to meet the band and talk ramen. Yes, I was invited to their show because all these guys love ramen. Cool, huh?

The show ended a bit early and I had some time to kill before I had to get back to work, so we decided to go check out the most bougiest of ramen shops in the world–MIST in Omotesando Hills.

C x N = MIST? You may see this on the walls. Translation: Chabuya x Natural = MIST. Yes, MIST is a Chef Morizumi creation.

This is one high-class ramen-ya that even has ramen sushi. I felt a bit awkward sitting in the nice red velvet seats, but I’ll do anything for a bowl.

Dude, there’s a frickin drawer in the table!

I ordered the shoyu ramen with an egg. Impressive. But all things being equal, would I want to eat here everyday? Probably not.

But I would eat here again. Especially if I wanted to impress a girl. Haha, jk. Okay I’m not.

My neighbor got the shio ramen. It was not as impressive as the shoyu. I would definitely recommend the shoyu ramen over the shio if you go.

Apparently the bowls for the shoyu and shio are different and they are each designed to bring out the best flavors. I was even told that the rim of each bowl represents the size of the noodles used. Yes, bougie.

Time to listen to my new cd!

I think I like 10 and 2 the best…

Show me the shoyu!

Day 203:

In my improbable quest to eat at all the Tokyo Nostalgic Ramen shops, I was able to knock out two in less than hour today. The first was Marucho in Ogikubo which has been around since 1948.

The sign on the door basically says that they take their time in making their ramen, so if you don’t have the time to wait for it then just stay the eff out. Yeah, something like that. haha.

The shoyu ramen here is very deep. It’s almost like drinking hot soy sauce mixed with oil. But it’s awesome!

The shoyu even permeates the thick noodles, leaving them with an added richness of flavor. Hmm..I may have to consider moving to Ogikubo someday.

The second shop I visited was Juhachiban just on the other side of the train tracks. They’ve been around since 1966.

Their signature bowl is their namesake ramen, but I was running low on cash and decided to just order the regular ramen instead.

And in doing so, I made a mistake. This ramen was good but the namesake looked amazing. Now I have to go back again before I can cross them off my list. There was also an overly polite staff member that was annoyingly amusing.

Time to hit the hub!

The final collabo…

Day 202:

I woke up with a mad hangover craving for mabo ramen. I mean it was mad! But my favorite place for it was closed and I ended up eating this crappy bowl instead. Bleh.

Meanwhile, the collabo-ramen guys, Brian and Daniel, were getting ready to do their final collabo at Bassanova. Well let’s just say final-for-now. Daniel is off to continue his education back in the states (good luck dude!), but I’m sure he’ll be back to visit often. Anyway, thanks for doing the final-for-now video at Bassanova! I can’t wait to see the final cut!!

Btw, this was by far the best day of work so far…

The boss is back…

Day 201:

After another record-breaking Saturday at Bassanova, we were on the verge of running out of our fried negi topping. And since Sunday is not a delivery day for our yaoya (greengrocer), I went to go pick up the vegetables myself. But on the way, I stopped at Chukasoba Banya in Shimo-Takaido for some rich shoyu ramen.

Banya’s shoyu ramen is gritty and grossly good. That’s as best as I can describe it.

You will probably hate it or love it. No in between.

Later this evening, big boss came in from Fukuoka and told us to close shop so we can all go drinking. No arguments here. So please accept my apology if you came to Bassanova after 11pm. We were quenching our thirsts in Shimo.

Like every good boss, he ended the night/morning by buying us all a bowl of ramen at Kashira.

From what I can remember, it was the perfect bowl at the perfect time.

But obviously I couldn’t remember much. 🙂

Mo money…

Day 200:

On my 200th day in Japan, I decided to go back to Menya Enji for their potage tsukemen.

It’s one of my favorite bowls of tsukemen and it never seems to disappoint.

The slow roasted pork is so tender. mmm…

Then I finally got around to making a video for my second 90 days here in Tokyo. Sorry it took so long. Enjoy!

That was how I chill…