Day 424:

As I look back on this year over a hot cup of coffee, I’d have to say that it was truly a great year. I mean…I started working the dream job, met hundreds of people from all over the world, ate countless bowls of awesome ramen, and even got to meet my idols. If I could do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat and not change a thing. I am truly blessed to be where I am today, but I still feel like things are just getting started and that the best has yet to come. So follow me (if you will) as I say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011–the year of ramen. Trust me….the boom is coming.

Did you really think I’d pass up on eating the new shio-butter chicken burger from Mos?

Before I set out to go party with the masses, my nieces were back from spending xmas in LA and I needed to go see them.

I love you too!

I originally planned on spending countdown alone with a bowl of ramen before joining my friends, but then I got a phone call with an invitation I couldn’t pass up. I was invited to spend the evening at a local izakaya in Bunkyo-ku enriched in Japanese culture and tradition.

Like drinking Toso and eating some fresh sashimi.

I even got to sample some very rare homemade Osechi that people get to eat only once a year (and even that’s if they’re lucky).

The master even let me try one of his original creations–something I’ve never eaten in my life.

And you can’t move on to the next year without some Toshikoshi Soba.

A very important tradition.

And since there was ramen on the menu…you know I wasn’t gonna leave without trying it.

Being so blessed to be here and around the company that I was, I’d have to say that this last bowl of the year was one of the better bowls of 2010….honestly.

Time to visit the temple…

And ring the giant bell!!

My dreams are now guaranteed to come true.

After partying a bit with some friends, it was time to take advantage of the only night of the year where the trains never stop running.

Happy new year everyone!  I wish you all the best for 2011. As always, thank you for letting me be a part of your life. あけましておめでとうございます!

Cleaning day…

Day 423:

I needed to get my shoulder fixed (we don’t need to get into it now), so I headed to the only clinic that was open. That’s where I met my new friend.

Today is the last day that Bassanova will be open in 2010 so I had to get my fix of green curry before we closed.

And my friends from Shikoku had the same idea. みさちゃん、また来てくれてありがとう。I also had a special visitor from one of my favorite blogs that I’ve been following for years now. It was great to finally meet you Dennis!

After running out of soup just after midnight, we began our night of endless cleaning. Thanks to DNo for helping out! And thanks to all our assistants as well!

Otoshidama! Haha.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Try, try again.

Thanks to all that visited Bassanova this year! We open back up on the 7th. See you then!

Fired up…

Day 422:

2010 is nearing its end. It’s hard to believe that this was already one year ago. A lot did happen, but I feel there are still many, many more things to come. The assistant was in the mood for ramen. And of course, so was I. But with many shops already in shutdown mode, we settled with Goukai in Sasazuka.

I wanted to try something new so I ordered the Chanpon (below). This shio-based-vegetable-topped ramen was just okay. I should have stuck with the shoyu (above) though.

Anyway, Goukai will be in the book as long as assistant approves. I think she did.

At work, it was time to get fired up. I love our new toy.

Big Katsu!

Thanks to the everyone that came in today. It was great meeting you.

Catching up…

Day 421:

I’ve been finding it harder to catch up lately. With my family, with my friends, and even this blog. But I’m trying. And I can’t remember the last time Brian and I grabbed a legit bowl together so today was to be the day we caught up. Where else but to meet in Shinjuku. Shuga also wanted to join us as we were both up early taking care of some basa chores.

I’ve been to Harumichi (俺の麺 春道) before, but it’s always been on my list to go back. The tsukemen is top billing, but what about their ramen?

Thick. Much like their tsukemen, the triple blended tonkotsu-tori-gyoukai soup is rich and filling.

I recommend! But be warned that it may sit in your stomach for hours.

The noodles are the same as the tsukemen. I would like to see them try something a little thinner though.

The egg is totally worth it.

FYI: Harumichi will be moving across the street to this location next week. This should be good cuz their current location is way too compact.

What time is it? Time for a pizza party…

Then back to basa for some ramen sightseeing.

Oh what a beautiful sight…

A relaxing high…

Day 420:

Did you see what day it is? Haha, all I need is ramen to get high…and nothing else. My assistant suggested I check out this Chinese restaurant for a quick ramen fix.

Hakuryu (中華料理 白龍) serves a simple bowl of shoyu ramen that is nothing spectacular.

But their noodles are excellent! Mochi-mochi!

I was told that the gyoza here are the best of this area. But I’ve also been told that they taste better when the old man makes them and not his son. Today, his son was working.

Work was pretty low-key. I was just happy to have my bike back to ride home with after work.

Where is Tom?

Day 419:

Hear this. As I left work to go meet my assistant for dinner, I was walking up a small street from the train station and from the corner of my eye I noticed a bike parked in an awkward location. “Could it be?”, I thought. So when I turned around to take a good look…HOLY HIRAUCHI! IT WAS MY BIKE!! Someone had ditched my bike not very far from where it was taken. Unbelievable!

Anyway, my assistant was craving something spicy. So I suggested Tom’s Seimen (Tom’s 製麺) in Shimokitazawa.

Apparently everyone was looking for Tom. But the only question on my mind was ‘who the eff is Tom?’

Among the many Szechwan-influenced dishes, the Tan Tan Men is apparently their specialty.

Isn’t she beautiful? Hot!

The Mabo Tofu Ramen is also a specialty.

Also hot!

For what it’s worth, I found Tom. He was as cool as owners get. And if you’re ever craving authentic-style Chinese food in Tokyo, this is the place to go. Thanks Tom!

After all that spice, the assistant needed a drink to quench her thirst. So I took her to see Uno-san at the 808 Lounge.

Petit Cheese KitKat? Okay that was random.

I know what you’re thinking. But I’m not telling ya!

A strange xmas…

Day 418:

Merry Christmas! Santa gave me a hangover. So I needed a cure.

But while I ate this delicious bowl of ramen.

My bike was being stolen. Yes, my bike was stolen on Christmas. I never liked that bike, but it still felt like a piece of me was taken. Oh well it’s Christmas. Surely somebody needed my bike more than me.

So when I finally made it to work, Boom had gave us these hats. They are awesome! haha.

And at least I got to make some new friends. Yean Hong and Chen Ni came all the way from Malaysia to try Bassanova. There’s nothing strange about that!

But afterwards, someone at the restaurant upstairs tried to flush a clam down the toilet. Needless to say, it didn’t flush very far and soon our bathroom became a rain forest.

That’s when shugarilla got mad and set everyone straight. Whatever you do, you do not want to get shugarilla mad. Trust me.

The night ended with a special visitor who brought me a special gift which made up for all the things that happened on this strange day. Thank you…

An eve to remember…

Day 417:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Tokyo-to. Not a creature was stirring, not even Yoshikibo.

So off we went to eat at plan b, where they make their own noodles at a place called Syuri.

Okinawa soba is the main attraction, with fine salts in a lightly blended pork stock guaranteeing satisfaction.

“It’s good but it’s not ramen” said she, so I turned to her and said “I completely agree!”

So off we went with our Kodaimae onigiri in hand, waiting for St. Nick to fly over the land.

At the stroke of midnight we got a visit from a strange man, apparently St. Nick is much skinnier in Japan.

Bearing gifts in the form of sugary sweets, it was time to indulge on a spectacular holiday feast.

As the alcohol flowed Santa began to get brave, but not even rudolph could escape Shuga’s slay.

But tonight was a night to party and not a night to fight. Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Merry Christmas Mom!!!

Dimming of lights…

Day 416:

I’m counting down the days. No not until xmas. And no not until new year’s. But the days until my best friend leaves Japan for good. In his honor, I went to go eat at his favorite Thai ramen place.

To try his favorite Tom Yum Ramen.

It’s a little like pho and a nice change of pace. With just enough spice and an explosion of shrimp, I can tell why he likes it so much.

Then it was time to check out some illumination.

Ahh the beauty of electricity waste.


Taco party!!

Thanks DNo!

Microwaveable Sumire ramen!

It’s not the same, but I’ll take it.

10 more days…

Sweet sesame balls…

Day 415:

Starting the day with a green tea donut is a must!

And on this rather warm winter day, I was in the mood for some tsukemen from Gamushara.

It looked and smelled good.

And it even had a hot-rock in the soup from the beginning. Be sure to remove it before slurping though.

The shoyu-based soup has a very strong hint of ginger and lotus root and there are so many flavors trying to grab attention that it’s difficult to really grasp what it’s trying to do. The noodles are fantastic, but I will stick to the ramen from now on.

When you ask for soup-wari you get another hot-rock. Whatever you do, don’t put it in your mouth.

You know it’s a good day when someone drops off some sweet sesame balls for you and your coworkers.

Yeah, it was a good day…